Why I Thrived at P&G despite never selling out my PASSION and how YOU CAN too!



I have always had a passion, no make that a fanatical compulsion, to innovate.  To some this spirit is inspiring. To others it’s their worst nightmare.

After graduating with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Maine I went to work for Procter & Gamble in their Brand Management department in Cincinnati.  My first boss, Barb Thomas said of me, “Were there times I wanted to strangle Doug? Absolutely.  He was what I call a high-maintenance subordinate.  You had to watch him like crazy.  He’d be nodding at what I was saying, but his mind would be somewhere else.  Linear he’s not.  He sees the same thing you see, but from a different perspective.”

My passion to do things differently, smarter, faster, more creatively was the key to my success at P&G. It was how my small team created and shipped 9 innovations in 12 months.  What I didn’t know until recently was that to many leaders of P&G, Passion was the key to making really big ideas happen.   During my tenure I had many mentors.  One of them was John Pepper who had a 39-year career at Procter & Gamble and served as President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman from 1986-2003. John recently posted a story on his blog  that explained in an indirect way – why he and the company were so supportive of non-traditional ways…John wrote…

I have often told the story of how I responded to a young P&G employee’s question of how she could make a difference in such a big company, filled with so many smart people. I told her:

Find an idea which you believe can make a big difference. 

Learn all you can about it, get help from other experts, seek evidence it will work,.

Go to whomever has to approve it and present it WITH ALL OF YOUR MIND AND ALL OF YOUR HEART.

Be prepared even having done that extremely well for the first answer to be, “but we tried that before”, or “we can’t afford this right now”.

This is the “moment of truth”. You need to listen carefully. Maybe the idea isn’t as good as you thought, or maybe you’ve heard something that can make it better, but also MAYBE THIS IS A BIG IDEA YOU JUST NEED TO KEEP COMING BACK  WITH MORE EVIDENCE AND MORE HEART. For I told the young woman, this is the only way I have seen really big ideas  happen. 

Reading John’s story – I suddenly realized how much his support and that of other P&G Mentors had impacted me.  Without realizing it I had built it into  the DNA of the INNOVATION ENGINEERING field of academic study and innovation leadership science..

I was blessed with visionary mentors – who “got it.”  However, sadly, not everyone is so lucky.    With Innovation Engineering we provide education and systems that enable innovation by everyone, everywhere, every day – we make it possible to activate passions! 

NEW NEWS:  In discussions with company leaders we find that no one – and I mean no one – disagrees with the need to find ways to work faster, smarter and more creatively.   However, at least 85% of executives are stressed with short term pressures.  As one senior leader said “Doug, I just can’t afford to disrupt the business at this time.”

In response to these very real short term pressures that they feel the Innovation Engineering community have identified 5 ways to ignite innovation without causing DISRUPTION TO THE ORGANIZATION!  – YES – now it’s possible to do the right thing for both the short term and long term RIGHT NOW! 

This Wednesday I’m doing a webinar at 12:00 NOON EST to explain how you can get your organization started with igniting innovation WITHOUT CAUSING DISRUPTION!

To register click on the link below


Importantly – register even if you can’t attend – as we’ll send you a link following the webinar so you can watch when you have time.

Have fun this week.   Remember – life is too short to be miserable – do cool SH#$ that matters!


A New Leadership Mindset for the Millennial Manager, Worker and Marketplace

The New World Requires a New Leadership Approach
The New World Requires a New Leadership Approach

Good Morning Innovation Explorers & Pioneers,

Innovation Engineering is a curriculum, tool set and mindset that prepares undergraduates, graduate students, managers and executives to be able to thrive as leaders in the new reality of faster innovation, increased competition and rapidly changing technology.

To win in today’s marketplace  “reactive” management must be replaced with leadership and leadership by definition is about proactively leading innovations in strategy, customer offerings and how we work together to accomplish our organizational mission.

Leadership is not about dictating, commanding or controlling.  Rather, it’s about motivating people to take action and enabling them with the education, tools and mindset needed for them to win.  It’s about igniting intrinsic motivation such that people are self motivated to innovate.  Inspired people fail miserably three times yet don’t stop – they are driven by a sense of purpose and meaning that is greater then themselves so they get up and try again and again till they win.

The Leadership Development subsystem enables leaders with “What, Why and How“ to create, communicate and commercialize meaningfully unique ideas.   It is grounded in 48 Innovation Skills taught over four undergraduate or two graduate school courses that are industry validated and academically grounded  that provides you with an entirely different way to approach your personal and professional life.

Importantly, we don’t teach Innovation Engineering using the old world “sage on stage” lectures with exams to identify the smart and stupid.  With Innovation Engineering a patent pending teaching technology called Cycles to Mastery is utilized with two very simple goals: 1) Enable all who are willing to achieve mastery of the 48 Innovation Engineering Skills and 2) Systemically and continuously as we learn to teach better increase the mastery standard.   Said simply, enable innovation by everyone, everywhere, every day.  And, walk the talk institute never ending improvement in the Innovation Engineering curriculum and method of teaching.

A Leadership System That Was Developed In a New Way

We started Innovation Engineering on college campuses so to tap into the rigor, discipline and wisdom of the academic community.   A side benefit that we didn’t realize at first is that because we started on campus with undergraduate and graduate students they also taught us invaluable lessons in how to motivate, ignite and lead the new generation of Millennial managers and employees.

I can report from first hand experience living on campus in a dorm (that was an experience), teaching undergraduates and graduate students that Millennials are different than Baby Boomers.  I can also report that with proper leadership Millennials are the most effective, dedicated and technically skilled workers ever!

As a Baby Boomer who was taught that management was about “command and control” driven by management by objective, inspection and direction the campus experience has been transformational.   So much so, that I gave up my planned retirement to a life of writing, key note speeches and sailing on my beloved Winnijean sailboat for a 25 year commitment to this new way of leading.

When you flip to this new mindset you unleash the potential of all of your employees – you find personal meaning again in work – you find yourself living the career you dreamed you would have, and a joy in work that you’ve not experience for years.

To make this more real to your head and heart – Gallop research finds that most managers (51%) are not engaged and that 70% of workers are non engaged.   This is arguably the greatest waste in our companies, governments and universities.   But you don’t need data to prove it –  just ask on social media, ask at your kids day care center, ask at the local pub who “loves their job and is passionate about what they do for a living.”

The solution to this epidemic of apathy towards work is a new form of leadership.  Gallop data gives us some clues. When they analyzed their data to find what could be done to ignite engagement they found some simple things:

• The mission or purpose of my company makes my feel my job is important.

• This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

Said another way – what is needed is a leadership approach that enables workers to be be “Willing and Able.”   Willing comes from doing what is meaningful.  Able comes from providing education, growth and the tools to make meaningful ideas happen.

OK – probably more than you wanted to read.  I got carried away writing this morning.

If you’d like to learn more about this I’m teaching an Innovation Engineering College – where you are immersed in 4 college courses in five days.   The next one is next week – the one after than is May 4 to 8 in Cincinnati at the Eureka! Ranch.  Call 513 271-9911 to receive a brochure on the experience.

Rock and Roll


Learning how to WIN Again!



A common theme over the past few months at companies is that they and their culture need to “Learn how to WIN again.”

The conversation goes something like this…

When asked if they have ever innovated they can point to when they last innovated in a disruptive LEAP fashion.    They speak of the excitement, the joy, the days of great success when they had something that none of their competitors offered.

When I then  ask “So you agree that LEAP innovations work – why not now?” The body language changes instantly from energy to despair.  They become the “huddled masses.”  The room goes silent.   And that is when someone says a version of “I guess we’ve forgotten how to WIN.  We just don’t believe we can anymore.”

I’ve observed this 5 times this year.   The first time I was amazed that a senior leader would say such a thing. I’ve become used to the conversation but continue to be filled with overwhelming sadness.

I’ve grown to responding with encouragement…. “It’s just not right.  This is a great company with great people.  You can.. you could.. you should…”

I’ve learned to respect the depth of pain that executives feel.   Over the past 15 years – as the  internet has created the digital age – it has unleashed price/value transparency, new competition and cycles of change that cause never ending stress.    The stress is very real.  We’ve tracked the mindset of executives since the early 90’s and since  the year 2000 we’ve seen a steady decline in optimism and courage to take action.  The stress you feel is REAL folks.  Your lack of confidence in your culture’s ability to win is VERY REAL.

The Antidote to Not Believing You Can Win

When I hear this challenge – my recommendation is NOT to change the culture, not to transform the leadership. These types of transformations will simply fall on deaf ears.  Rather, my recommendation is to assemble a small team of “Explorers” to work together to drive a BIG WIN in 6 months!  

By BIG WIN I mean an outrageously bigger idea discovered, developed and taken to market faster than anyone could ever imagine the company doing it.

Importantly, the small team do not operate as a “skunk works” outside of the organization.  Rather, they work in parallel to the existing system and in collaboration with the existing culture.

They “infect” the existing culture with their energy and excitement.  They do this by leveraging the wisdom of the existing culture through High Performance Collaboration Technology like our Collaboration Cafe (strategic focused requests, idea scan benchmarking technology,  fear resolving private & public responses with 4 tiers of security, and stimulus to ignite fresh ideas).

They leverage Rapid Research using internal wisdom and customer feedback using High Performance Research systems (up to 400 tests in 4 days!), High Performance Project Management Technologies (working up to 6x faster) and High Performance Patent ROI technologies to leverage the world’s largest database of Invention Blueprints – and writing patents in about an hour.

Working in parallel honors the culture and the people within it while working in parallel with incredible speed.   In contrast, the “Skunk Works” approach communicates in spoken or unspoken ways that the existing people are stupid and slow – and the Skunk Works team are smart and fast.  WRONG ANSWER.    Everyone can innovate on big ideas if they are ENABLED – with the education, systems, tools and confidence that they too can WIN.

To be successful the Senior Leader who serves as Management Coach for the Explorers needs to have extremely high standards.  They need to set a Blue Card vision that is bold and VERY IMPORTANT.  They need to be brutally honest with the team on what success looks like.  They need to be helpful in problem solving ideas that can be saved and equally helpful in helping kill ideas that just can’t get the team to the BIG WIN it needs.    This role is VERY hard – VERY hard.  However, this “tough love” is critical if we are to breakthrough and achieve the level of Bold success that will cause people to believe they can win again!.

With Mega Success from the Explorer Team — a chain reaction is ignited – that is the ONLY WAY for a Culture to Learn How to WIN Again! 

Walter Werner, who worked for my Dad years ago when Dr. Deming was working at Nashua Corporation described the Diffusion of Innovations – the diffusion of believing we can win in this way…

Explorers were the first to travel west from the 13 Original American Colonies.

The EXPLORERS hate civilization as it is. They will go over the hill to try anything to get away from all the constraints and false promises.

The PIONEERS also hate civilization for the same reasons. They are a tiny bit more conservative and want some assurance that the world really isn’t flat.

SETTLERS are different. They like civilization but they want more. Maybe it’s cheap land or economic opportunity. Settlers bring civilization but they do adapt to change in every generation.

STRAGGLERS will always be nice people they are just too darn slow.

RESISTORS just like New Hampshire granite never change. Resistors anchor society and prevent it from fling away with each new fad. They really do help keep a level head in the decision making process.

YOU CAN DO THIS.   I’ve seen it happen at small, medium and mega sized companies over the past year.    All it takes is a small group of Explorers – leaders, managers, front line staff – coming together to say… we’re not going to take it anymore… lets prove that we can WIN again… lets do cool Sh$#@ that matters!

Rock and Roll!


If you’ve read this far – and are intrigued – but don’t know where to start.  Call in the USA 513 271 9911 and ask for Maggie or doug.

We’ll show you how  –  if you stated today – by October 7, 2105 you will have a disruptive LEAP WIN that makes people Believe Again! 

The April Fool – The April Thinker




The April Fool  believes that by doing the same thing they can get different results. The April Thinker knows that change is the only certainty – they embrace it, ignite it and encourage it.

The April Fool believes that if it’s not broke don’t fix it.  The April Thinker knows that when you find out it’s broke it’s too late – to the proactive go the rewards.

The April Fool believes that CONTROL creates smarter creativity.  The April Thinker knows that creativity comes from ENABLING employees and  that part of enabling is giving strategic direction to What ideas are needed, Why they are needed and being transparent about constraints.

The April Fool over rates the value of expertise.  They believe that qualitative conversation are statistically reliable.  The April Thinker knows that the ONLY way to reduce risk is with data – quantitative data statistically analyzed. Anything else is gambling.

The April Fool believes that the mission of the company is to make money.  The April Thinker knows that making money is a consequence of a mission that is meaningful – meaningful to the customer, company and most important of all to the employees who make the mission happen.

The April Fool believes that employees are motivated by financial bribes.  The April Thinker knows that the only true motivation is when people are doing “Cool Sh#$% that Matters!”

Post your April Fool / April Thinker lines to the DougHall.com Blog or inside InnovationEngineeringLabs.com (You can now post on these inside labs).

Rock and Roll


WHEN YOU ARE READY to realize the full potential of your people – visit www.InnovationEngineering.org to learn about

Innovation Engineering Express – An overview of our 4 College Courses in 4 Hours.   Call to have it brought to your company.

Innovation  College -  The smart way to turbo charge your personal life and professional career.  It’s a Deep Dive into the new field of Innovation Engineering that results in certification as an Innovation Engineering Blue or Black Belt.  It’s a five day immersive experience in the full content of the four Innovation Engineering courses:  CREATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMERCIALIZE, SYSTEMS.   These are the courses that they never taught you at University – however today 20 University’s Teach Them at various levels.

To give you an idea of the impact of this education – students graduating with the Innovation Engineering Minor / Graduate Certificate / Black Belt – are realizing up to 30% higher starting pay – and it’s worth it – as studies of graduate students with Innovation Engineering training make a bigger impact, faster at companies.

The next two dates for Innovation College are the Week of April 13 and the week of May 4 in Cincinnati Ohio at the Eureka! Ranch.   Call the Ranch  513 271 9911 for details on how you and or your team can attend.

How to Realize a 400% increase in your Cost Savings Project Value

Scientific Research Finds the Secret to Unlocking the Power of Employee Driven ideas
Scientific Research Finds the Secret to Unlocking the Power of Employee Driven ideas


Did I get your attention?  It wasn’t a gimmick to get you to click!

Here’s the facts.  Add up the value of all your LEAN, 6 Sigma and Innovation Engineering cost savings projects then multiply times 4 – that is the increase in savings you can realize if you implement a High Performance Idea system with your employees.

A 4X increase as a result of employee driven ideas is what happens when you install a High Performance Employee Idea System.  This finding comes from Dr. Dean Schroeder co-author of Idea Driven Organization Unlocking the Power in Bottom Up Ideas  and from our experience at the Innovation Engineering Institute building 3 generations of collaboration systems.    I’ve known Dean for 15 years.  Here’s a link to a webinar I did with him last week on the subject.

High Performance Idea Systems have a number of design traits that separate them from classic suggestion boxes and social media sharing systems:

  • Leadership Defines What’s VERY Important: When you ask for ideas with no direction you get ideas with no direction.  High Performance systems provide clear strategic direction of what Leadership of the company or department are looking for.  This means absolute clarity on: Mission, Narrative, Strategic Exclusions, Tactical Constraints and Exploration Areas.
  • Time, Resources, Policies:  When the employees are focused on what’s VERY Important then there is a willingness to provide support for the effort.  Successful programs provide employees with a couple hours a week – 30 Minutes in a weekly CREATE session and 90 Minutes working on creating and implementing ideas.  They also provide experts to help the process Innovation Engineering Black Belts or LEAN / 6 Sigma experts.  Lastly, they remove barriers to new ideas – providing small amounts of money for implementation and experimentation, setting rules for sharing ideas and challenges inside and outside the company.
  • Make it EASY to PRIVATELY Share Ideas & Drive out Fear:   Employee fear of getting in trouble, looking stupid, saying the wrong thing is at epidemic proportions.   The best way we know to address this is by providing systems that enable employees to create PRIVATE networks of collaboration and to allow them to make PRIVATE responses to company requests.
  • Educate Teams and Energize with Weekly Create Sessions:  Provide basic training in how to Create, Communicate and Commercialize ideas.   We do this through our Innovation Engineering Workshops.  Then, keep the stimulus coming.  Each week conduct a 30 minute CREATE session in each department or work group focused on igniting fresh ideas.  Educate employees through a Spark Deck and collaboration exercises.
  • Ignite INTRINSIC Motivation:  The research is clear that paying for ideas through contests and the like creates a short term energy that soon dies.  To create a sustained High Performance Idea System ignite intrinsic motivation through – personal Thank You’s – and celebrations of all those who participated in the effort each month.  Provide a stronger sense of belonging to those who participate then those who don’t.

ARE YOU SERIOUS? - You are thinking this seems like a lot of work.  It’s actually not.  We’ve  built these principles into the Innovation Engineering Labs 3.0 – Collaboration Cafe and education programs such that they work right out of the box – you will see an impact in 30 days.

And yes we are serious that when you get full employee engagement the impacts are incredible.  The initial goal for a High Performance Idea System is 12 Ideas Implemented Per Employee Per Year.  The upside potential companies have realized is 100 ideas implemented per employee per year.

It’s Not Just for Cost Savings:  You can use the same system with your field sales team or customer service teams for ideas for growth and service.  Basically, anywhere you have people with a mission you can multiply effectiveness through a High Performance Idea System.

Here is Dr. Deming’s way of articulating the power of enabling employees

”The result will in time be greater innovation, applied science, technology expansion of market, greater service, greater material reward for everyone. There will be joy in work, joy in learning. Anyone that enjoys work is a pleasure to work with. Everyone will win; no loser.”

Webinar today – how to 4X your Continuous Improvement

Today at 1:00 I will be doing a 1 hour webinar with Dean Schroeder co-author of The Idea Driven Organization.

We will be talking about how to create a high performance idea system to tap into every employee’s ability to create ideas for working smarter.

His research shows that the impact of ideas from front line employees is 4X greater than the cost savings, sales increases, etc. from structured projects.

One of the great challenges with High Performance Idea systems is the set up can be complex and difficult.

The new Innovation Engineering Labs 3.0 system makes it EASY to implement a high performance idea system.

This approach is a powerful addition to any LEAN or 6 Sigma effort.

It’s also a way to turn the dream of employee engagement into reality

To register for the webinar click here




Do you want to be controlled or enabled?

The innovation gap between companies is growing.

Today, if you’re not meaningfully unique you better be cheap.

There are two options for increasing innovation:

Option 1: You can install an Innovation CONTROL System.

Option 2: You can install A System that ENABLES Innovation.   

Option 1 – CONTROL:  Control systems are designed to inspect the work and prevent mistakes and waste from bad innovations.  They are usually implemented as a reaction to a failure.   They are usually implemented because management does not trust the workers to do the right thing.

NO THAT’S NOT THE REASON – The real reason that Control Systems are implemented is because management feels they need to so something and until recently there was no other validated option.

The following message from the website of a leading innovation management software system describes the situation well:

Our focus is on portfolio and resource management.  We help management achieve greater levels of control over their ever-changing environments by dynamically managing money and resources. Using a unique portfolio management discipline, we offer unprecedented, real-time visibility into the trade-offs involved in key business decisions.  We help management plan, manage, and analyze their product portfolio from idea to end of life.  Apply resources to the most valuable work and provide executives with the analytics necessary for smart decision making

This software is often combined with the humiliation of in person or on-line Shark Tank gate meetings. (Dragons Den in Canada/UK).   The theory is that if we simply do a better job controlling we will see a transformation in our innovation success.

The question we must ask ourselves is does this make sense.  What is our theory as to how centralized control create more employee engagement, more motivation, more speed to market and bigger, bolder ideas?

Option 2 – ENABLE: The other option is to enable innovation.  This is the focus of the Innovation Engineering movement – on campus, at Fortune 100 companies and small companies around the world.

Innovation Engineering sets off a simple chain reaction:

1) Leadership Enables – – – 2) Employees Engage – – –  3) Everyone Wins.  

Leadership enables by setting a clear Leadership Intent – a strategic vision for what is Very Important – for the organization to focus it’s limited time, energy  and money on.

Leadership enables by providing education to the employees on how to create, communicate and commercialize ideas with increased speed and decreased risk.

Leadership enables by providing system software that makes it easy to for employees to stay focused on what is Very Important for the organization,

Leadership enables employees by making it clear how to go from idea to reality – defining WHAT needs to be done but also WHY and HOW to accomplish the What.

Leadership enables employees to work smarter through a rhythm of learning every week through plan, do, study, act cycles.

Leadership enables by employees to run rapid research (in minutes not months).

Leadership enables employees to collaborate inside and outside the organization without fear of getting in trouble.

Leadership enables employees to use patents as a killer idea source and to painlessly turn their inventions into protectable intellectual property.

Bottom Line: Innovation Engineering is about replacing management with leadership and replacing control with enabling.  When we do this everyone wins.   

To be quantitative on What’s In It For You the Leadership  – speed to market increases up to 6x, risk decreases 30 to 80%, development success improves 250%.

The release this week of our third version of Education, Operating System work systems and software Enables Innovation like never before.  There is nothing else like it in the world.

To experience a free on-line demo of our system for ENABLING Innovation call us.

To fully experience our system for ENABLING Innovation attend the Innovation Engineering Executive Experience next week March 19 and 20 at the Eureka! Ranch in Cincinnati Ohio.

Call 513 271-9911 or visit www.InnovationEngineering.org

Wicked Good Podcast On “Cool #$%@ that Matters”

Hi friends

Here’a link to the InVision team podcast on how to change your personal and professional life with the new mindset called Innovation Engineering.

It’s about engagement, involvement – and making work fun again.

The team is excited – zealots – crazed – over the top.  Their enthusiasm is infectious.

If you’re new to the movement listen to learn.

If you’re a part of the movement listen to get an energy booster shot

Click Here



Quotes that struck me…

I’m deep into book writing … in the process going through a collection of files… a few quotes really struck me this morning.

AG Lafley

Winning is pretty much the same in today’s business world as it has been for decades: Create new customers, new products, and new services that drive revenue growth and profits.  What’s different is ʼhow to do it. The acceleration of change today is unprecedented.  It creates opportunities as well as the threat of obsolescence. 

The best way to win in this world is through innovation.  But innovation has often been left to technical experts or perceived as serendipity or luck. Long geniuses working on their own have, indeed, created new industries or revolutionized existing ones.  But there is a problem.  You can’t wait for the lightbulb to go off in someone’s head.  The fruits of innovation — sustained and ever-improving organic revenue growth and profits – have to become integral to the way you run your business.  That means making innovation central to the goals, strategy, structure, systems, culture, leadership, and motivating purpose and values of your business.

Steve Jobs

I have a great respect for incremental improvement, and I’ve done that sort of thing in my life.


Jeff Bezos interview for the web site Business Insider

One of my jobs is to encourage people to be bold. It’s incredibly hard.  Experiments are, by their very nature, prone to failure. A few big successes compensate for dozens and dozens of things that didn’t work. Bold bets — Amazon Web Services, Kindle, Amazon Prime, our third-party seller business — all of those things are examples of bold bets that did work, and they pay for a lot of experiments.

I’ve made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon.com. Literally billions of dollars of failures. You might remember Pets.com or Kosmo.com. It was like getting a root canal with no anesthesia. None of those things are fun. But they also don’t matter.

What really matters is, companies that don’t continue to experiment, companies that don’t embrace failure, they eventually get in a desperate position where the only thing they can do is a Hail Mary bet at the very end of their corporate existence. Whereas companies that are making bets all along, even big bets, but not bet-the-company bets, prevail. I don’t believe in bet-the-company bets. That’s when you’re desperate. That’s the last thing you can do.


“”Deming was once asked, at one of his seminars, how he would summarize his message in a few words. “I’m not sure,” he replied, “but it would have something to do with variation.” Later he said, “I said earlier that my message, in a few words, had to do with variation. I’ve given it some more thought, and I would say it has to do with pride of work.”


If people aren’t calling you crazy, you aren’t thinking big enough.

Richard Branson


In 2011, Jonathan Mildenhall, vice president of global advertising strategy and content excellence at the Coca-Cola Company, introduced his company’s new approach to investing in creative content. Coke is implementing a model they call the “70|20|10 investment principle,” an adaptation of the established 70|20|10 protocol for apportioning resources or investment.i Mildenhall explained that in its quest to double the size of its business by 2020, Coca-Cola would apportion its communications spend as follows:

• 70% would support low-risk, “bread-and-butter” content.

• 20% would be used to innovate based on what has worked in the past.

• 10% would fund high-risk content involving brand-new ideas.

We think this approach makes a lot of sense. It has worked for Google, where the company implemented it as a way to manage innovation, applying 70% of its workforce effort to core businesses, 20% to adjacent products, and 10% to highly experimental innovation for the long term.


“More than nine out of ten consumable products launched in the last ten years offered absolutely nothing new to the consumer.  More than eight out of ten new products fail.  You don’t need to be a statistician to relics there’s a correlation between the two numbers – Robert Mcmath


“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”

- Mark Twain




Can someone help me understand this contradiction?

The other day I was working with a senior leadership team translating their business strategy to what we call Blue Cards – these are simple translations of the leaderships strategic intent.

We crafted a card about the need for growth – defined a highly motivating  narrative, set strategic exclusions and even tactical constraints.  In particular we made it clear that we were not interested in ideas that generated less than $10 Million (it was a very large company).

I then suggested we do the same for cost savings.  Define a narrative as to why it was important that we cut costs in a way that was motivating to the employees.   And also define the strategic exclusions – what areas did we not want to cut as they could be important in the future – and tactical constraints what was too small of a savings to invest time, energy and or money on chasing.

The leadership team looked at me like I was crazy.  They said “we need every savings we can get.” – “we have no constraints on savings.


I don’t get it.

Why are we very precious about how we invest for growth but not very concerned about how we invest to save.  Isn’t a dollar a dollar?

I pointed out that a client doing IE had done some quick calculations on a wide range of projects and found the average value was in the low, very low 5 digit range – and this for a multi-national.  It was estimated that if 100% of the projects were successful 100% it wouldn’t amount to a value that was noticeable at the corporate level.

The internal, departmental debate on cost savings versus growth needs to end.  It needs to be replaced as Dr. Deming would say with leadership.

Leadership needs to define where the company is going – on both the cost and revenue sides of the balance sheet.   Leadership needs to set the vision.  Every organization has limited Time, Energy and Money.  It’s up to the leadership to set the strategic direction appropriately.


To Change the World by enabling innovation by everyone, everywhere, every day resulting in increased speed to market and decreased risk.