Louise Musial, VP of Business Strategy at PCD Works, is an author of numerous articles for technical magazines and lecturer on the topics of Innovation, Open Innovation, and business trends in R&D. We met at the Product Innovation Management conference, where she participated in the New Product Development Professional (NPDP) certification preparation workshop I conducted.
At the conference she presented “Working with Small Companies to Expand Your Open Innovation Capabilities” which she also wrote about in the book “Open Innovation: New Product Development Essentials from PDMA.”
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers, Developers, and Innovators
Highlights from the discussion include:
- Shocking, but tech startups in Silicon Valley don’t find human-waste-eating microbes sexy
- A natural curiosity about how things work and figuring things out as a child contributed to Louise’s interest in innovation
- An example of a partnership with a University research group that led to commercializing a product that makes clean water from waste water.
- The need for innovation in water – availability of clean water and reclamation of waste water
- Distraction-free innovation with the right people involved creates focus, which is the aim of Louise’s innovation campus on 80 acres in the country
- How the problem is framed impacts the solution
- Putting aside assumptions can create paths that lead to innovations
- Story telling is a useful tool for product innovators – filter what is unnecessary and keep the message simple but compelling
- Carefully observing customers is an important aspect of voice of the customer research
- Asking the same question multiple times in different ways improves understanding and can uncover assumptions
- When discussing requirements, ask “What does that mean to you?”
- Keep ideation teams small (12 or less) and take steps to break down barriers, develop rapport, and establish trust to be effective
- Sketching concepts helps explore concepts as a group
- Knowledge is created through what we learn from failures
- Failures are steps to innovation – the belief that “it is possible” creates breakthroughs
“If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” -Elon Musk
“If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is true, then there would be little hope for advance.” -Orville Wright
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