INNOVATION July-August 2015

f ea t u r e s


Alex Saegert, P.Eng.

Definition of Innovation: The successful conversion of new concepts and knowledge into products and processes that deliver new customer value to the marketplace.

Thomas Edison claimed that genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration, yet while much that’s written about innovation focuses on the first part, little is said of the rest. Somehow people cling to the belief that, once properly inspired, everything else will fall into place—the engineers and geoscientists will see to that! Engineers and geoscientists know this is seldom the case: many companies invest heavily in innovation, but

not all these investments pay off. However, by dividing innovation’s ‘failure modes’ into categories, it’s easier to see that, by applying quality management processes to improve the odds, investments in innovation will result in products and services that deliver new or increased value. These categories can be defined as failures in the areas of: technology, commercialization, marketing, manufacturing and distribution, and procurement. Though


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