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Report from the Process of Innovation, Wednesday afternoon

| On 23, Aug 2007

Ellen Domb

Cheryl Perkins from Kimberly-Clark fascinated the audience with her data on the lack of clear metrics in the innovation “space.”    She gave characteristics of good metrics, particularly the advantages of leading (vs. lagging) metrics.   The continuum of innovation requires tailored metrics, with different characteristics at different stages.   Cheryl had a very sophisticated view of metrics, and got the audience to have several very productive discussions.   Technology field portfolio mapping was a concept that most of the audience had not heard of, but all saw the applicability—in TRIZ terms, plan for function changes in your product or service.


[IMG height=180 alt=”Cheryl Perkins” src=”http://www.triz-journal.com/wp-content/uploads/library/images_upload/Cheryl%20Perkins.JPG” width=240 border=0]


Sam Racine from Unisys suggested a lot of mental exercises for innovative attitudes, combining visualization (“I need to be innovative in my Japanese garden.”   “I need to be innovative in my Infiniti at 110 MPH”) with other kinds of stimulus (music, art, nature, books, museums).   Once the stimulus has had its effect, she uses a system that is reminiscent of the ideal final result, asking the creative team to visualize the ideal customer experience, or the ideal flow of the process, then to solve the problems that prevent them from delivering that experience.  


Dean Johnson from the Detroit Regional Chamber  talked informally about his experiences changing culture in a non-governmental, public benefit organization, introducing  innovation into a low-risk environment.


Sherry MacAlister from Embarq (formerly the landline part of Sprint/Nextel, now independent) was the final speaker, and she did a great job of energizing the audience so that they left with a very positive message and a set of practical guidelines.   Sherry reported on Embarq’s process of incorporating idea management into their knowledge management system, and how the idea management system (suggestions, evaluation, feedback, project planning) has unexpectedly become a major tool for the cultural formation of the new company, as well as the expected vehicle for releasing employee creativity.   


[IMG height=180 alt=”Sherry MacAlister” src=”http://www.triz-journal.com/wp-content/uploads/library/images_upload/Sherry%20MacAlister.JPG” width=240 border=0]


Sherry will be the first workshop speaker Thursday morning, with an expanded session on the knowledge management/idea management topic.   Victor Fey (frequent TRIZ Journal author) will lead the second workshop called “Utilizing Triz To Create Value – Build Your Own Technology Roadmap”


Readers are invited to comment on the live commentaries from the conference—ask questions, make suggestions, let us know you are out there!