|Insourcing Innovation -- Foreword
Circumstances in business don’t often come together to create the opportunity for radical change. Yet today, we sit on the precipice of just such an opportunity; we peer over the edge and see that a process for innovation is surely evolving. Of course, one of the key tools that fuels this process is TRIZ.
TRIZ is a methodology like Six Sigma. It has grown and developed in response to a very difficult and critical business requirement: the need for constant reinvention and continual innovation. For a business to be successful, it needs to constantly and consistently improve what it does in a never-ending, world-class manner. But it also needs to innovate in a never-ending, world-class manner.
We all know the story behind business quality in America and in the world. For as much activity and resources that companies poured into ensuring quality, something was missing. The United States got its wake-up call when it lost market share in several key industries. When it investigated the cause, it found a drastically different culture and approach at companies like Toyota.
Today businesses talk a lot about innovation, and about how certain foreign countries are better at innovation than we are. I even hear and read a lot about structured innovation, and about “innovation methodologies.” Yet I don’t hear anything very specific. There is no Toyota Production System for innovation. There is no Lean for innovation. There is no viable approach and roadmap that people are debating.
Although TRIZ is known and used by many, it is not commonly recognized by all. Yet when I look over innovation’s edge, that’s what I see. I see in TRIZ a method much like Six Sigma was before it became institutionalized: an extremely powerful approach to meeting a critical business need that’s cloaked in a little mystery and a modicum of fear. I see in TRIZ a methodology like DMAIC that is greatly worthy of debate.
TRIZ comes across as “technical” to many, because the books that have been published about it to date have been oriented to the mind of the pure inventor. Until Insourcing Innovation, no book about TRIZ has articulated its use and value in terms everyone can understand.
I want every business leader to read this book, because it contains a message they need to hear: What at first seems technical, scientific, and esoteric has the power to transform a corporation. Also, I want every scientist and engineer to read this book, because it will challenge them to make the act of innovation more commonplace and effortless.
The essence of Six Sigma and its key role has been to transform organizations from a preoccupation with the business of quality to a system for improving the quality of business. Although the former is driven from the mindset of narrow vision and firefighting, the latter is a function of an audacious view that a company can be consumed with quality in everything it thinks and does.
If it’s strategically time for your company to reinvent itself from top to bottom, the TRIZ methodology can greatly facilitate this drive. Like what Six Sigma did for quality, TRIZ can enable the transition from the business of innovation to the innovation of business. I am proud to be associated with and to endorse the authors of Insourcing Innovation. I believe their message is one that every business leader should hear.
--Dr. Mikel Harry
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