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The Six E's of Innovation

31 August 2020, 11:42 am


Last summer, I had the pleasure of attending a Knowledge Transfer Network event at Manchester Metropolitan University. Whilst the main speaker from Innovate UK was talking the delegates through the Design Foundations contest he mentioned the initial product viability process undertaken by many organisations. Depending on what one’s favourite letter was, one could come up with synonyms for each of the basic steps in the process. Taking cue from this I decided to give it a go. Given that we are Equitus Engineering Limited, E is our favourite letter of the alphabet.

Epiphany: This is the phase where the idea gets planted in one’s mind, for a new requirement. The seeds of the idea are sown. The details are a bit hazy but the idea has been generated.

Evaluate: This is the next stage. The epiphany has struck, the idea has been planted. Now what? This is where the journey begins. You start looking at the idea not in isolation, but into context. What does it mean? Has it been done before? Who is doing it? How successful are they? How much does it cost? Who will want to buy my product? Do we have the resources to make this idea work? What is the supporting infrastructure like? Once you look at the idea from three perspectives, i.e. market, your own organisation, and the surrounding ecosystem, the worthiness of the idea comes to light.

Engineer: This probably the trickiest but also the most important bit. This is where your idea takes shape, literally and figuratively. This where you start looking at the technicalities in detail such as material selection and compatibility, systems integration, fatigue life, product life-cycle, maintenance scheduling, operation manuals, warranties etc.

Helping you find these solutions is what we do best at Equitus, and this is where we add value to your innovation journey. By effectively going through this phase of the journey, you will be able to firm up potential pricing, warranty, supply chain, lead times, build times etc. By the end of this stage, you will have a robust design ready for prototyping and field testing.

Execute: Now that your design is ready, you get to the execution phase. You make a few actual working models, display them at trade shows, and maybe even put them out to trial with the intent of asking these questions:

  • Is the product effective? This means, is the product doing what it said it would?
  • Is the product consistent? Is the product effective, every single time?
  • Is the product efficient? Is the product effective and consistent, whilst using minimal resources?

By the end of this stage, you will have a well-designed and manufactured prototype firmly in place, which is ready for mass manufacture/assembly.

Enable and Empower Now that your product has successfully launched, you have enabled and empowered people and their lives for the better. You deserve a pat on the back, some celebration, before we go back to the drawing board, in search of your next Epiphany.

Remember, there’s no best way to do something, there’s always a better way; hence Equitus’ quest for A Better Engineered World!

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