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Innovative Solutions __________ July 2006
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In this issue
-- Feature Article: Get Creative – Innovate
-- On a Personal Note:
-- On the Lighter Side:
-- Article Policy

Welcome to the July 2006 edition of Innovative Solutions, the monthly newsletter from Innovative Thermal Solutions. If you find this information interesting or useful, please share it with your friends and colleagues.

Word count approx. 650
Reading time approx. 3-4 minutes.


Feature Article: Get Creative – Innovate
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In last month’s newsletter I discussed the importance of innovation in the new flat world we live in. With the ongoing trends of offshoring manual labor jobs and outsourcing knowledge worker jobs the key to business success is innovation. According to an article in Business Week Magazine (http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_31/b3945401.htm)

What was once central to corporations -- price, quality, and much of the left-brain, digitized analytical work associated with knowledge -- is fast being shipped off to lower-paid, highly trained Chinese and Indians, as well as Hungarians, Czechs, and Russians. Increasingly, the new core competence is creativity -- the right-brain stuff that smart companies are now harnessing to generate top-line growth. The game is changing. It isn't just about math and science anymore. It's about creativity, imagination, and, above all, innovation.

The article goes on to say -

For managers, the biggest challenge may be making the leap from their Six Sigma process skills to new ways of thinking. For corporations, transforming themselves will require new sets of values and organizational principles. Have you heard of design strategy? It's probably the Next Big Thing after Six Sigma. How about consumer-centric innovation? It may be the most powerful way to raise a company's innovation success rate. Do you know what innovation metrics your company needs? Have you heard of CENCOR (calibrate, explore, create, organize, and realize)? It's the post-Six Sigma dogma GE is spreading far and wide among its managers. Are B-schools on top of all this change? Not really, but Stanford University is starting a "D-school" -- a design school where managers can learn the dynamics of innovation. Teaching elephants to dance is never easy, but that's the task ahead if you want your company -- and your career -- to prosper. You're thinking "this is all hype," aren't you? Just another "newest and biggest" fad, right? Wrong. Ask the 940 senior executives from around the world who said in a recent Boston Consulting Group Inc. survey that increasing top-line revenues through innovation has become essential to success in their industry. The same BCG survey showed that more than half of the execs were dissatisfied with the financial returns on their investments in innovation. They should be. By one measure, from innovation consultant Doblin Inc., nearly 96% of all innovation attempts fail to beat targets for return on investment. No wonder innovation frustration is the talk of corner offices.

In case you are thinking this is only for huge corporations like Proctor & Gamble or GE who have endorsed this concept wholeheartedly, it’s not. Taking advantage of outsourcing, offshoring and all of the other world flatteners in order to enhance your creativity and innovation is available to small and medium sized companies as well. In fact Thomas Friedman says in his book “The World Is Flat”-

Rule #2: And the small shall act big. One way small companies flourish in the flat world is by learning to act really big. And the key to being small and acting big is being quick to take advantage of all the new tools for collaboration to reach farther, faster, wider, and deeper.

And -

Rule #4: The best companies are the best collaborators. In the flat world, more and more business will be done through collaborations within and between companies, for a very simple reason: The next layers of value creation – whether in technology, marketing, biomedicine, or manufacturing – are becoming so complex that no single firm or department is going to be able to master them alone.

And -

Rule #6: The best companies outsource to win, not to shrink. They outsource to innovate faster and more cheaply in order to grow larger, gain market share, and hire more and different specialists – not to save money by firing more people.

Take a look inside your company or department. If you think you wouldn’t benefit from more outsourcing, collaboration and innovation, then I say - look again. Then call me to discuss how we can help you supercharge your business through collaboration and innovation.


On a Personal Note:
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The vineyard continues to look great. I put in a drip irrigation system this year and as expected, we have had plenty of rain. It’s just like washing your car to make sure it’s going to rain soon, only the irrigation system is more expensive than a car wash.

Linda and I attended the 2006 ASHRAE meeting and technical conference in Quebec City this past month. We drove up to Quebec so we could see some country we haven’t seen before. On the way back we crossed from Canada into Vermont and visited a couple of Vineyard/Wineries there. They routinely see -20F in the winter and therefore grow cold climate varieties similar to those we have planted. That is what I was hoping to find and indeed we were able to try some wines from the same varieties we have planted. In fact we had the best Frontenac I have tasted to date. It makes me anxious to harvest and make some wine. Hopefully we will have a small harvest in the fall of 2007. I wish I would have started this vineyard years ago.


On the Lighter Side:
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AutoCAD Monkey

A tourist walked into a pet shop and was looking at the animals on display. While he was there, another customer walked in and said to the shopkeeper, "I'll have an AutoCAD monkey please." The shopkeeper nodded, went over to a cage at the side of the shop and took out a monkey. He fitted a collar and leash, handed it to the customer, saying, "That'll be $5000." The customer paid and walked out with his monkey.

Startled, the tourist went over to the shopkeeper and said, "That was a very expensive monkey. Most of them are only few hundred dollars. Why did that one cost so much?"

The Shopkeeper answered, "Ah, that monkey can draw in AutoCAD - very fast, clear layouts, no mistakes, well worth the money."

The tourist looked at a monkey in another cage. "That one's even more expensive! $10,000! What does it do?" "Oh, that one's a Design monkey; it can design systems, layout projects, mark-up drawings, write specifications, some even calculate. All the really useful stuff," said the shopkeeper.

The tourist looked around for a little longer and saw a third monkey in its own cage. The price tag around its neck read $50,000. He gasped to the shopkeeper, "That one costs more than all the others put together! What on earth does it do?"

The shopkeeper replied, "Well, I haven't actually seen it do anything, but it says it's an Engineer."


Article Policy
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© 2006 Innovative Thermal Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You are free to use material from the Innovative Solutions newsletter in whole or in part, as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link. Please also notify me where the material will appear.

The attribution should read: "By Bob Utter of Innovative Thermal Solutions. Please visit Bob's web site at www.innovativethermal.com for additional articles and resources on engineering services and new product development." (Make sure the link is live if placed in an eZine or in a web site.)



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