In the United States it’s dangerous to unveil a new technology before it’s ready to go to market. Customers are bound to be frustrated by their inability to purchase a usable product after viewing new technology. It is better to hold off demonstrating new technology until there’s a product ready to ship.
In my June column, I related that Praveen Gupta’s new book, Business Innovation in the 21st Century, contends that innovation is a process that can be understood and, hence, taught and refined to improve the results of innovation. This is an important concept, because if true, it means that the United States has a means by which it can maintain its innovative and competitive edge in the global market. However, like most ideas, it is critical to see “learned innovation” in practice to determine whether it can be accomplished.
Dictionary defines innovation as, “a new idea or method or device.” That
definition is rather vague as it implies that anything new is innovative. That
is simply not the case. Painting a blue widget red, or making it round instead
of square may have merit, but it is not necessarily innovative.
Can lasting improvement come about as a result of quick and readily apparent changes, or does it only come about as a result of well thought-out and substantive decisions? Many professionals find themselves in such challenging positions within their companies. Such is the struggle for Ford Motor Co. as it tries to revive sagging North American sales and a correct a perception of poorly made domestic brand vehicles.
By the time you read this column, the North American International Auto Show will be complete. Two stories from the show point to the state of the U.S. auto industry and the role China may play in the global automotive market.
The 2006 elections are over and the new Democrat-lead Congress is getting ready to take power next month. What will this mean for manufacturing and quality? During the past six years, manufacturing has suffered both a tremendous blow (9/11) and a remarkable recovery.