INNOVATION July-August 2015
the challenges in each category are different for every innovative project, the categories are interdependent such that the requirements for each category must be met if the project is to succeed. Organizations that implement robust quality management systems may already employ processes (tools) that can assess and manage risks in each aspect of innovation and improve their return on Technology is often called the cornerstone of innova- tion, particularly for new products and services, though adapting an existing technology to a new purpose is also innovative. Whether new or existing, technology is the engine of value creation—it enables things that couldn’t be done before. Stick-and-bow technology allowed humans to make fire on demand; internal combus- tion technology replaced animal and human labour. Commercializing a new technology requires an under- standing of the principles that support its functions, and identifying and controlling the variables that affect its performance of those functions. A technology that is not investment in innovation. Technology Challenges
well characterized will impair commercialization, and can incur losses in marketing and manufacturing. Assessment frameworks like NASA’s Technology Readiness Level (TRL) support objective assessments of maturity for new technologies. Quality tools like Design of Experiments (DoE) can identify which variables have the greatest impact on the performance of a potential new product or service, while Taguchi’s Quality Loss Function can measure how variability in critical components cause variability in functional performance. Technology assessment is complete when the technol- ogy’s inputs, outputs, operating principles, failure modes and failure causes, and functional limits have been identi- fied and recorded. Commercialization Challenges Commercialization of a product or service involves determinations of how a new technology will be packaged, priced and delivered to the consumer. A successful product requires inputs from marketing, manufacturing and procurement. Quality Management processes that support product development include
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J U LY/AU G U S T 2 015
i n n o v a t i o n
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