Have you ever noticed how many people drive the same car you do? I never notice until I buy a new car, then it seems like hundreds of people copied my idea, and some even bought the same color and model. We see hundreds, if not thousands, of cars every day, but do not really see them until we are focused on that type. With modern life supplying us with millions of points of data every day, we cannot focus on any one thing until it is essential. What we can do is learn to see.

One of the pillars of lean enterprise is embracing the power of seeing. There are multiple books and references to help see your processes differently. In this context, people may say, “sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees,” and you need to view all the waste in the process with different eyes. A good source for more info on this method is a book called Learning to See by Mike Rother and John Shook. This book will teach your team how to map processes and see things differently. These same principles can be used for product innovation.

Next-level innovation also requires a new look at products and processes that you already have. You see these every day, but do you really see them? To be a successful innovator requires a deep knowledge of your products and systems. Learning to innovate starts with learning to see. Our normal expectations are to see these things as they are, not to see them as delivering an experience to your customers. The customers buy your fenestration products and services for many reasons. Some of those include:

  • Daylighting—they want to bring in natural light for their homes and businesses.
  • Beauty—fenestration products can bring a feeling of home to any room. They blend the inside and outside environment like no other product.
  • Safety—people want to feel safe by having multiple ways to exit a room in trouble.
  • Ventilation—the experience of feeling and breathing fresh air ventilated through an open window connects us with nature.
  • View—you can experience nature by a view, all while staying comfortable indoors.
  • Pride of ownership—consumers want to be recognized for having good taste
  • Environmental responsibility—saving money and using less energy gives us the experience of helping the planet.

By seeing these needs with new eyes, how could you redesign your products to fill them? Could your daylighting be enhanced with reflective light shelf accessories? Could your environmental footprint be lowered with new processes or materials? Could you make your products safer?

In the next few weeks, have your innovation team read Learning to See. After a few meetings to refine the experiences, start a brainstorming session to create new products. Pick the best ones and GO!

Learning to see with new eyes will give you and your team the advantage you need.

Please let me know how your innovation is going by emailing me at raygarries@gmail.com and see over 30 great ideas for your innovation project at Fenestration Innovation Network on LinkedIn.


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