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Innovation Effectiveness and W. E. Deming

“It’s not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” – W.E. Deming

The importance of innovation to business success continues to grow rapidly. In a survey of U.S. executives, 84% said their strategy is “very dependent” or “extremely dependent” on innovation for long term success; up from 67% just 3 years prior. And it’s not just about product innovation. But as this CEO survey indicates, it’s also innovation in technology, customer experience, systems and processes, and business models.


“If you can’t describe what you’re doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.” – Deming

All kinds of innovation are needed. But companies continue to struggle with the process of innovation. The 2015 ThinkPoints® Transformation Survey found effective and efficient processes to be the number one innovation issue.


“If you do not know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing.” – Deming

Defining innovation as a process has always sent shivers up and down the spines of creatives, inventors and many marketers who believe what they do is an art. Maybe that’s true for the innovation “spark”. Debatable. But most of innovation is process. When it comes to improvement though, the problem is that there are literally hundreds of process steps in getting an idea to market. So, where do you start?


“A goal without a method is nonsense” – Deming

The best place to begin is with Level 1.

There are five important aspects associated with Level 1.

  1. Level 1 tackles the linchpin issue for effective and efficient innovation: cross-functional team collaboration.
  2. Team requirements are specified for each key milestone.
  3. Each key milestone requires cross-functional leadership approval.
  4. The organizational focus is on the team successfully achieving each key milestone.
  5. Data is collected and aggregated for learning and visibility into the idea to market process.


“We are here to make another world.” – Deming

The journey to effective and efficient innovation doesn’t happen overnight. There are two more levels of i2m® (idea to market). But the benefits of improved i2m® processes are bigger, better, fewer, faster, and smarter innovations. Well worth the journey.

© 2015 ThinkWay® Strategies. All Rights Reserved.