IMTS 2006: Get more competitive, jump start your brain


Engineering innovation isn’t always intuitive or even logical, suggests Doug Hall , founder and CEO of Eureka! Ranch , and keynote speaker Sept. 7 at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago.

In his presentation, “Keynote: Jump Start Your Brain to be More Competitive Globally,” Hall suggested:

  • Real R&D takes time: if you don’t have big ideas today, blame those in power five years earlier.

  • Measure: Quantify what you're doing and cite reasons for prospective customers to believe what you’re offering.

  • Less can be more: Emphasizing fewer benefits attracts more customers. Too many choices can drive people away.

  • Be overt: Let a customer say no because what you offer doesn’t apply to them, but never let a customer say no because they don’t understand what you offer. Confusion is not a strategy for success, Hall advises; ensure your customers understand your uncomplicated message.

  • Quality, not necessarily quantity: If price is your main driver, then you're selling a commodity. Your stuff needs to be drastically different.

  • Think ahead: Toyota launched the hybrid Prius in 1997 when there was no business case for doing so other than the thought that gas prices might increase. Detroit was fat, dumb, and happy then, Hall says; 'Now, I have no sympathy for them [U.S. automakers.]' Dr. W. Edwards Deming noted that customers can’t say what new product or service would be desirable three years from today. Wayne Gretzky , the hockey great, said, 'I always skate to where the puck is going to be.'

  • Recapture our old spirit: 'My books are selling like weeds in Southeast Asia. We need to figure this out quickly with the the same revolutionary spirit we had 200 years ago.'

For six tips on the process of getting from ideas to engineering, watch for the October 2006 “Think Again” column titled, “From raw ideas to success.”

More on Hall
Doug Hall is founder and CEO of Eureka! Ranch, an organization of professional inventors and innovation system engineers, established in 1986. Hall calls his methods the “world’s best scientific system for measurably improving innovation and marketing effectiveness.” He worked at P&G, wrote 'Jump Start Your Business Brain,' and is a judge on ABC's 'American Inventor' series. He says Eureka! Ranch ideas are more than 250% more likely to generate winning customer interest compared to the average business growth initiative, and he has three patents pending relating to the process of innovation.

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Mark T. Hoske , Control Engineering editor in chief

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