Exploration and discussion concerning improvement and innovation in today's organizations.
In today’s highly competitive and global economy both 'improvement' and 'innovation' are essential for businesses to remain competitive. Generally, improvement aims for high and sustainable performance in existing business areas through continual and incremental gains, while innovation aims for breakthrough resulting in stepwise gains. In the past they were seen as mutually dependent and approached through the various 'silo' functional areas of organizations. Through benchmarking of best practices in use today there is strong evidence to support integrating improvement and innovation to achieve a coherent and powerful approach to sustainable business practices. Look for upcoming post to explore the dilemmas often faced in pursuing improvement and innovation concurrently and to sharing the benefits of successfully integrating them together.
I am the academic program manager for quality and a professor in the Malcolm Baldrige School of Business at Post University. I am also a PhD candidate in Human & Organizational Systems at Fielding Graduate University, and I have a Master of Science in Engineering Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, both from the University of Tennessee. Currently I am also serving as the President for The Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies.
My work experience includes over 30 years as a quality professional, achieving multiple certifications in the areas of continuous improvement and innovation: Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Design for Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Organizational Climate Practitioner, and TRIZ (Theory of Inventive Problem Solving) Practitioner. I have also served as a judge for the Michigan Quality Award and an Examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award
Academic background includes being an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan, Dearborn campus, where I taught organizational learning and systems thinking; and at Indiana/Purdue’s Fort Wayne campus where I taught undergraduate statistics. I have also taught certification courses for the American Society for Quality Local Chapters for Reliability Engineering and Quality Engineering.
My philosophy of teaching has evolved from these years of experience in the corporate world and affiliations with institutions of higher education. Reflecting on my past experiences, there are three core beliefs that guide my teaching:
1. People have a built in desire to learn
2. People learn their whole lives
3. Responsibility for effective learning belongs equally to both student and teacher
My research and academic interest are focused on continual evolution of the Quality and Innovation disciplines and building core competencies in people and organizations for continual improvement, creativity, and innovation.
On a personal note, I enjoy photography, golf, fly fishing and gardening. I currently live in Plymouth, Michigan with my wife Jo Ellen. We have three daughters with their respective partners and six grandchildren, two boys and four girls. We also are maintaining a home in the Waterbury, CT area, at Post University, as well as our home in Michigan.
Dr. Noel Leon will be providing a keynote for ITCCA Conference 7th through 10th of October, 2015.
Don Coates will be speaking at Purdue University on September 25 on the topic of "Tackling the Problems of Innovation and Problem-solving.
Nine windows creativity technique offers a practical framework to consider a range of future opportunities
One of the challenges we face in creative problem solving is mentally getting out of our own way. We tend to be so trapped in our unique perspective that it limits our ability to see other possibilities. Psychological inertia (Altshuller, 1999), or resistance to change, echoes in phrases like these:
• "It will not work that way"
• "That has been tried before and it dod not work here"...
Working with an innovation team on a project, I find it is better to ask them what their rules of interaction and engagement will be. This works much better than me imposing some arbitrary set of rules. When working in the team environment where certification is a desired outcome, one of the requirements is a statement about the rules of engagement for the project. This approach allows the project team to accommodate all learning styles represented in the group. The decisions they make may not be based on actual knowledge of participant’s learning styles; however, decisions or learning styles will emerge in the ground rules the team establishes. By allowing the team to grope to identify their rules and levels of engagement early in the project launch, they begin to establish a set of rules for working together.
How do I work? I grope
Early in my career I noticed many consultants and trainers would hoard information in workshops and training sessions so as to protect intellectual property, and gain additional work. This created a process of doling out bits and pieces of intellectual property and knowledge content a little at a time, year over year. This was not the way I wanted to engage with colleagues and clients. I was fortunate to come across the concepts of learning styles and natural intelligences as taught by Dr. Donna Markova. Since then, I always engage teams using the six styles Markova presents. (Markova, D. 1996).
Deadline for submitting papers for the Systemic Innovation Conference is approaching. The next Systematic Innovation conference will take place in San Jose, California, USA on July 16~18. We'd like to remind you of the due date of ICSI paper abstract and GCSI project registration will be
March 15, 2014. If you'd like to know more information, please visit the website or see the enclosed: http://www.systematic-innovation.org/icsi/icsi2014/
***Authors of Selected papers of ICSI/GCSI will be invited to submit full paper for review and potential publication in either Computers & Industrial Engineering journal (SCI indexed with high impact factor) or the International Journal of Systematic Innovation.
***GCSI is the world only exhibition/competition in the areas of TRIZ and Systematic innovation which not only value results but also the process to generate the innovation. This will be an excellent opportunity for you to showcase your innovation capabilities to the world. Multiple Platinum/Gold/Silver/Bronze medal awards with award up to USD 3,000 and certificates will be awarded to outstanding projects. Total awards of USD 8000 will be available....
This is the first of a two-part series. Part 1 is identifying topics for APQC's upcoming Product Development/Innovation Best Practices Study and YOUR feedback will be very helpful. Please fill out this 5 minute survey and idenyify which topics are of interest to you and your organization. All participants will receive a summary of the results. The deadline to complete this survey is Tuesday, February 18.
Part 2 will discuss the survey results and provide insight into the upcoming Best Practice Study.
Five Little Known Facts about Integrating Improvement and Innovation
Both improvement and innovation have the same purposes and importance:
· Seeking to integrate organization objectives and functions
· Working to satisfy customers and increase competitive advantage...
Using Creative Tension to Integrate Improvement and Innovation
As an educator and champion for both innovation and improvement, I recognize the tension between improvement and innovation many people express today. Peter Senge’s concept of Creative Tension (Senge, 1994) epitomizes this dilemma.
The Shocking Truth of Innovation and Improvement
In today’s highly competitive and global economy both 'improvement' and 'innovation' are essential for businesses to remain competitive.
Improvement aims for high and sustainable performance in existing business areas through continual and incremental gains.
Innovation aims for breakthrough resulting in stepwise gains....