You have a company that’s experienced some success, but you feel you need more. You want to excel in innovation, but lack the resources to do so or have trouble determining a starting point. We understand these challenges firsthand – and we can assist you in reaching your goals of gain and growth.
Before settling into the ideation process, a company must examine its potential in three categories: growth market, mature market, and declining market. These phases determine what can be done to enhance product leadership, customer relations, and existing products. Innovation in these core areas can maximize profits in both the top and bottom line, which is important for all manufacturers, regardless of size. At a recent MAGNET event, many companies voiced struggles in these areas, expressing challenges in increasing profits, improving client relationships, and modifying existing products.
If you have experienced such challenges, MAGNET is here to provide you with the strategic tools necessary for achieving newfound growth. One of these is ideation, a systematic approach to the creation and use of new concepts and ideas. As part of the lengthy process of innovation engineering, ideation serves as a structure for solving conflicts in the realms of design, mechanics, and market.
There is a substantial amount of time and effort that goes into this process, but we have condensed the ideation methodology into an easy equation:
In order to have an MU (Meaningful Unique idea), three elements are required. The first element, known as stimulus (S), refers to those participating in the ideation session. Do those involved know what’s going on? Do they know what obstacles must be overcome to solve pressing problems? Participants in the process play an integral role: not only do they analyze existing issues, but they work towards ultimate solutions.
Diversity (D), the second element, refers to tapping into a wide variety of perspectives, as a means to widening the field of possible solutions. Incorporating people from all walks of life – male and female, black and white, engineers and teachers – is key to bringing different experiences to the table. This provides knowledge valuable not only in the engineering process, but also to determining or reassessing a product market.
The final part of the equation is No Fear (F). Ideation sessions should be committed to learning, listening, and healthy debate. No one should be afraid of looking stupid or failing in some way – every idea has merit.
The ideation process is a long one and can take anywhere from one hour to several days. Regardless of length, a safe and strong ideation process is built on the following steps:
1. Find your problem
2. Charter to define your problem and objectives
3. Research to find stimulus
4. Utilize ideation methods
5. Objectively screen and score your ideas
In addition to these steps, there are four main methods that your company should use during their session:
1. Idea engineering
2. Concept engineering
3. Value engineering product
4. Value engineering process
These steps create a strong pool of possible ideas. At MAGNET, we generate approximately 60 new concepts and four design categories in an average ideation session.
Once concepts and ideas are determined, they must be rated. The following categories are examples that can be placed on your scorecard. Feel free to contact us for guidance if you are interested in covering more ground.
>> Time to Market
>> Capital Investment
>> IP potential
>> Development Cost (Engine and Prototype)
Since we received excellent feedback about our last two book suggestions, we’ve decided to offer a few more suggestions for further reading on the topic of innovation.
>> Dealing with Darwin by Geoffrey Moore
>> The Discipline of Market Leaders by Michael Treacy
If you are interested in learning more, or have questions about incorporating innovation and ideation into your organization, please give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you, and especially hearing about your growth and profit success! Please call Linda Barita at (216) 391-7766 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
HEADLINE The survey definitively shows that product innovation leads to more growth, while “grow your own workforce” strategies will be needed to fill the major labor shortages hampering small manufacturer growth. Emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, and digital manufacturing are beginning to enhance innovation and productivity, but still have significant room for adoption amongst Ohio’s small manufacturing businesses. ABOUT THE SURVEY Under the direction of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Ohio MEP), MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network conducted a thorough survey of Ohio’s manufacturing base. Contributing approximately 20% of Ohio’s jobs (and driving in some regions up to 50% of Ohio’s economy), and generating a disproportionate amount of export revenues and Gross Regional Product, manufacturing is critical to Ohio. Greater than 95% of Ohio’s manufacturers are small (under 500 employees), and these manufacturers need to remain competitive both nationally and internationally to ensure our economy’s health. Ohio’s Development Services Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which runs the MEP, recognizes the importance of this sector and fuels MAGNET and the Ohio MEP program to directly serve and support innovation, efficiency, and growth in small and medium manufacturers. What manufacturers need
How Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Can Help Keep Our Engineers Safe and Our Manufacturing Strong Recall how difficult it was to put together complex LEGO creations when you were a child or helping a child. Now, picture assembling a fighter plane from a room full of parts. Even highly trained engineers can benefit from technology to help improve consistency and quality. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are making near-perfect assembly a possibility in the manufacturing space. By wearing AR glasses that use cameras, depth sensors and motion sensors to overlay images onto the real working environment, engineers and factory workers can visualize the exact bolts, parts, part numbers and instructions on how to assemble a particular component correctly. Lockheed Martin began using AR goggles and improved F-35 assembly time by 30 percent, in addition to increasing accuracy to 96 percent. In order to remain competitive, businesses should consider the ways VR and AR can improve efficiency and supply chain productivity. According to a recent BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research report, AR platforms can provide companies up to 25 percent in cost savings on installation of equipment. Here are four ways VR/AR is disrupting the mid-market manufacturing space:
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