While speaking as the DesignMED keynote speaker last week, Jon Knight, vice president of R&D at Boston Scientific, discussed some barriers to innovation (see "The Intersection between Design Engineering and Innovation (Pt. 1)") as well as some ways to overcome them.
First, Knight said that change would require a top-down culture change. In this environment, there are no sacred cows—everything is subject to challenge and scrutiny. He cited some ideas to boost innovation that have frequently been tossed around:
He also noted that traditional measures such as ROI, IRR, etc. may not provide the best insight on the worth of new ideas. In addition, he cautioned against thinking about these new ideas as risky, necessarily. "Don't confuse 'new' with 'risky,'" he told the audience. That is often something that happens with management—whose buy-in is needed "early and often" in a good innovation model, Knight says. —Lawrence Lloyd