Iterative or Innovative?

Most everyone is declaring the importance of innovation and an innovative culture to future success. And many claim to offer both now.

Not true in most cases. Yes, there have been significant innovations in technology and materials. But can your business honestly claim that its market now receives new and innovative value from doing business with you that it didn’t get last year? Most, emphasizing the word ‘honestly,’ cannot.

Most all can claim iterative changes. Sadly many of our engineers graduate without the basics that were ingrained a few decades ago. Design for Manufacturing is often overlooked, as is design for service. Too much design now relies on software “optimization” programs.

Optimization mathematics and software has been around for a long time; I personally used and wrote some of it in the late 1970s. But we’re skipping important aspects of design and frequently overlooking innovation entirely.

Reduce weight by x, cost by y, number of parts by z. Those parameters are not unimportant, but rarely reflect innovation.

The PC, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPod were all innovative. The thousands of versions of each since, while more powerful and capable, are iterative. Love the camera, and it took some amazing engineering to figure out how to get it so high quality in the phone, but …..

Don’t let yourself off easy. Being truly innovative today will set you apart from the rest. Coming out with Rev 15 won’t.

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