2007 Conference Jun

16th Annual Conference

The Howe School Alliance for Technology Management is pleased to announce its 16 th Annual Conference, to be held on Tuesday, June 12 on the Stevens Institute campus in Hoboken, NJ:

Commercializing New Ideas:

Crossing the Bridge from Idea to Innovation

Click here for details and registration information. Previous Alliance Conferences have explored such aspects of innovation as The Creativity-Innovation Connection, Innovation as an On-going Strategy, Achieving Radical Innovation, and Processes for Product Conception .  The 2007 Conference examines the critical process of securing organizational alignment and support to develop and commercialize new concepts -- in other words, to cross the bridge from idea to innovation.  This process is fraught with numerous challenges, not least of which is overcoming organizational resistance to change.  The Conference will share knowledge of how organizations have overcome the barriers and challenges associated with advocating, nurturing, and developing new ideas, and have successfully turned new concepts into commercial reality. 
Four distinguished speakers will share their views and experiences in bringing new products to commercial reality: Peter W. Schutz, former CEO of Porsche A.G. and international authority on leadership and business management techniques; Dr. Jack Emert, Chief Scientist for Infineum Ltd.; Professor Christopher Barlow, of DePaul University and the Co-Creativity Institute; and Dr. Richard Tait, former executive with DuPont and a founding member of the DuPont Center for Creativity and Innovation. Abstracts of the presentations are given below. 
The presentations and the panel discussion following will clarify both the theoretical underpinnings and the practical aspects of innovation, and provide many useful ideas for achieving successful innovation in your organization.

The Driving Force: Extraordinary results with ordinary people

Peter W. Schutz

As the rate of change in business management techniques continues to accelerate and labor costs continue to equalize, any competitive edge is frequently fleeting and fickle.  Improved information technology is making the playing field more level.  A competitive edge that is of a longer-lasting nature becomes invaluable under such conditions. The likely pivotal competitive edge of a lasting nature in the future will derive from leadership's ability to get extraordinary and innovative results from an organization of ordinary people.  During my years as CEO of Porsche AG, I was blessed with a number of superstars.  Time after time it turned out that the key to success, however, was a cast of mostly ordinary people supporting these outstanding people -- ordinary people whose passion and enthusiasm resulted in extraordinary performance that outdid the competition.  Superstars cannot do it alone.
Achieving extraordinary results will increasingly depend on:

  1. Formulating plans promptly in a participative manner, drawing on the skills of everyone in the organization, thus setting the stage for passionate implementation.
  2. Implementing the plans in a disciplined manner.
  3. Establishing and sustaining a creative and innovative environment.

Anatomy of a Technical Innovation

Jack Emert

The strategies and processes used to design and implement a successfully commercialized technical innovation will be described. Critical enabling factors included early alignment of technology and marketing on the value proposition and joint ownership of strategies and issues throughout the project. Mechanisms to achieve this critical alignment and its use in risk management and attenuation of the organizational impact of high project complexity and uncertainty will be highlighted. The project used a pre-development stage gate approach that allowed early assessment of concept feasibility with a rapid increase in knowledge to assumption ratio for low investment. This helped prepare the organization with the knowledge base required for design of the innovation. Other critical philosophies, decisions and interactions that facilitated or inhibited the process will also be discussed and best practices for turning new concepts into commercial reality will be shared.

Innovation Leadership: Heroic or Collaborative?

Chris Barlow
The changed actions and processes required for successful innovation often require challenging transformations in knowledge, perspectives, beliefs, and even values by those members of the organization who must change their actions and procedures.  The deliberate process of making those changes is innovation leadership.  The Henry Ford's and Thomas Edison's of American innovation history reflect a heroic paradigm in which one person is seen as struggling to get the needed ideas out of people and working to change the elements needed for success, both inside and outside their companies.  As the opportunities for innovation become larger and more complex, there seem to be major advantages to collaborative efforts which not only bring in greater amounts of relevant knowledge, but which also prepare the minds of those who must make the concrete changes.  This session will suggest advantages to shifting one's approach from heroically overcoming resistance to creating together with those whose understanding of new ideas and their impact suggest problems yet to be solved.  We will explore the huge success of an idea being rejected because the shift in perspective that made the idea possible makes even more useful ideas obvious to the organization.  We will not only look at ways to move an innovation forward, but to begin solving the innovation problem from the beginning of the creative efforts.

Building Innovation Execution Competency

Richard H. Tait

Innovation success depends critically on having a strong "innovation execution competency" - i.e. being able to systematically turn your great ideas into delivered results in the marketplace. Innovation execution excellence results from having three critical elements in place:

  1. the right people with the right skills and thinking styles in the right jobs at the right time
  2. robust innovation execution processes and systems
  3. key leadership capabilities and behaviors - to drive alignment, establish the enabling environment, lead change and build a culture of results

In this talk we will present an integrated model/framework for effectively structuring these elements for a business organization/context and for successfully implementing them. As part of the presentation we will include innovation examples drawn from personal experience as well several innovation case studies.