Innovation is about creating new products and processes. I believe most people are at their best when they’re creating as part of a team with big goals. A great example of this is the historic Apollo program that put Americans on the moon.

Recently, the 50th anniversary of the NASA launch crawlers brought the Apollo mission to mind. If there was ever an innovation project, this was it. In 1961, the Soviet Union put the first man in space, and the U.S. decided on a big goal.

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills; because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win …” said President Kennedy. The boldness of this statement cannot be overstated. At that time, U.S. astronauts had not even orbited the Earth. Only 20 days earlier, Gemini put the first American in space for a mere 13 minutes.

This big goal energized a generation to achieve an impossible feat and propelled the mission to success utilizing 400,000 people, 20,000 companies and thousands of innovations. The project is, to this day (45 years later), the only program to put humans beyond the orbit of our planet.

I say all that to point out that while innovation projects for our industry are not of this scale, the same basics should be used. If you are innovating a new product to increase your share, don’t set goals to just incrementally improve the features and benefits. Decide to be bold and create a product that will win awards, customers and reputation.

If you are to succeed in your innovation project at your company, use these basics:

  • Choose a big goal;
  • Provide great leadership;
  • Get everyone on board;
  • Try out many ideas; and
  • Celebrate success

1 Comment

  1. Well said and very appropriate at this time. The fenestration market is always changing and will continue too. The winner over the last several years have been the innovators, either thoughtful or just plain bold.

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