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Successful Innovation is About Process, Not Personality

A trendy belief among business leaders today is that innovation is a dark art mainly dependent upon certain sparkly personality characteristics possessed only by very special, scarf-clad people: creativity, inventiveness, imagination, vision, ingenuity, focus, agility, optimism, telepathy, etc.

When viewed in this light, innovation success becomes a risky, mysterious and elusive goal. If your company's success in any pursuit relies upon relatively rare, highly subjective, and largely unteachable traits, the innovation game can feel like betting your company on a roll of the roulette wheel.

Imagine running your Accounting department like this:

  1. Hire a team of people who seem to be really smart, good with numbers and detail-oriented. No particular degree, education or certifications required. Bonus points for wearing one of those green tinted visors.

  2. Put them in a separate department from the rest of the company, free of any rules, process, procedures, KPIs, accountability, checks and balances, etc., but with plenty of snacks, whiteboards and sticky notes.

  3. Tell them to "think outside the box," "work as a team," and "keep the company's finances in order."

  4. When they somehow make galactic mistakes and lose the company millions of dollars, shrug it off and say, "Oh well - that's how it goes. Better luck next time. Here's some more money."

That, or something similar, is how many "innovative" companies approach innovation management today. YIKES.

And perhaps the worst part is, sometimes they succeed. Like me playing golf, they make an Eagle every once in a while, which only encourages them: "Man, we are GOOD at this!" So they go back to losing their shirts on 90% of their innovation investments.

No wonder so many executives in the construction industry have a love-hate relationship with this thing called "innovation." - They feel compelled to do it, but don't feel confident they can succeed at it at all, let alone consistently.

And in construction, an innovation miss could mean bankruptcy.

What if the real key to innovation success is in the innovation process?

What if you had a structured process that made innovation so consistent, predictable and reliable that you no longer needed to find, hire and manage just the right mix of rare traits in order to be successful?

You could manage innovation like a project, using the very project and process management abilities and detail orientation that make you good at construction.

Yes, "Vegas-style innovation" is an adrenaline rush. Doubling down, chasing that jackpot, never knowing when you're going to lose it all, can definitely get the blood pumping.


You can innovate like an engineer, using scientific methods and data analytics to eliminate variability and turn your innovation into predictable, repeatable success.

Engineerovation™ combines Jobs-To-Be-Done theory and Lean Six Sigma process control principles to give you a structured method for consistent innovation success. No scarves required.

Boring, I know. But be honest: Would you rather have "BORING SUCCESS" or "EXCITING FAILURE"?

Contact me to learn how to innovate in construction without betting the company.

Daniel Small

Founder & CEO


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