As manufacturers hunker down to face the grim realities of today’s harsh economic climate, it seems a bit incongruous to discuss technology investments to foster innovation. Yet at Invention Machine’s first annual user group conference held this week at Boston’s Museum of Science, that was exactly the theme of discussion between Invention Machine execs and a roster of blue chip clients, including Johnson & Johnson, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Northrop Grumman and Delphi, among others.
Invention Machine CEO Mark Atkins described a new global landscape where change is happening so fast that innovation has become a mandatory requirement for companies looking to compete. Despite the challenges of the financial and economic crisis, Atkins said energy and environmental concerns, product obsolescence (70% of today’s revenue-generating products will be obsolete within five years, he says) and the mass exodus of knowledge workers to retirement (60% in two to five years) are increasing the pressure on companies to unearth new revenue streams and market opportunities.
At the same time, Atkins cited a bunch of statistics that underscore the problems companies face when it comes to innovation. For every 13 product ideas, only one is successfully delivered, he said. He also referenced Kuczmarski & Associates’ findings that for every successful product launched, there are 12 failures, a statistic that costs Fortune 1,000 companies nearly $60 billion annually in wasted development efforts.
How can companies break this unproductive cycle? According to Atkins, by embracing a sustainable innovation strategy, which establishes a framework and processes that bring uniformity, repeatability and knowledge-enablement to help companies better compete on this new scale. Obviously, that’s where Invention Machine’s Goldfire innovation platform fits in. As Jim Belfiore, Invention Machine’s certified innovation master put it: “You’ve got to find ways to survive and prosper in these uncharted waters. 2009 is going to be a pivotal year and innovation is one of the most valuable assets that will ensure a company’s success in the future.”