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The perfect time to take a chance

The perfect time to take a chance

Don't just stand there, do something. Most people, on hearing those words, would say, "Yeah, that's right, take a chance, go for it." And few groups talk more and louder in support of action than top management in corporate America. Support for risk-taking that leads to innovation is emblazoned across corporate mission statements everywhere, including, no doubt, your company.

Does anybody really mean it? This is the time to find out.

With corporate profits sinking, companies everywhere are cutting expenses like crazy. Instead, they should be promoting risk taking. It's the risk taking that can lead to new product ideas that will pull us all out of this economic mess, not the penny pinching.

This is really the perfect time for companies to be encouraging risk taking. There's nothing left to lose.

Preston Smith, author and president of consulting firm New Products Dynamics, has some suggestions for how to encourage risk taking. Instead of punishing failure, he says, companies should exploit it. "Recognize that product innovation is a sequence of steps for learning how to satisfy the customer," he writes. Smith goes so far as to suggest that engineers set up some tests that are biased toward failure. "You can learn more, faster from a well-executed failure," he says. Top management: take heed.

Attend this show from your desk

Here's one move you can make that involves no risk at all. On October 17 and 18, 2001, go to and you'll learn about the latest products in a variety of technologies, hear the thoughts of engineering leaders like Boeing's Alan Mulally, NASA's Brian Muirhead, and Handspring's Jeff Hawkins, get tips on how to shorten design time, and learn about the latest trends in automotive design.

All without leaving your desk!

It's a virtual trade show where you'll find exhibits, product demos, webcasts, and more. You may even find a solution to your next design problem.

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DESIGN NEWS is a winner of the 2000 FOLIO MAGAZINE EDITORIAL EXCELLENCE AWARD in design and engineering.

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