Innovate Mississippi

Point Innovation Magazine Winter 2013

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MANUFACTURERS' CORNER Dr. Jay Tice T he theme for this issue of Pointe Innovation magazine is the innovation economy … but what does the innovation economy mean to us at InnovateMEP Mississippi? Well, I recently ran across some interesting points made last February by Faisal Hoque on the Fast Company blog. He mentioned that one of the earliest discussions about the innovation economy was detailed in the 1942 book, "Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy." The book's author, economist Joseph Schumpeter, introduced the concept of an innovation economy and proposed that "evolving institutions, entrepreneurs and technological changes were at the heart of economic growth." According to Hoque, only in recent years has the innovation economy concept, as grounded in Schumpeter's ideas, become mainstream. Hoque added that since 2009, the Aspen Institute's Economic Innovation roundtables' results have validated that for innovation to be effective, a real leadership impact is required that "stems from collaboration, vision and, above all, the will to direct progress for long-term growth." I believe that both Hoque and Schumpeter are saying that a key attribute of a successful organization in the innovation economy is one that fully engages its full potential through leadership requirements and actions for a sustainable future. Building on these thoughts, Hoque also previewed that his upcoming book, "The 3 Pillars of the Innovation Economy," advances three key leadership concepts for creating a sustainable innovation economy: a leader's emotional intelligence; cultivating a cross-collaborative culture; and establishing repeatable processes. So, how do these characteristics of a successful organization in the innovation economy apply to us? Well, how about relative to our InnovateMEP Mississippi emerging Innovation Engineering (IE) process that I briefly detailed in the last "Manufacturers' Corner"? I believe that our IE process relates to Hoque's three pillars of the innovation economy as follows: Leadership – Our IE process prescribes three principle coaches as part of our system: management, process and project. Cultivating a cross-collaborative culture – Our IE teams are drawn from a cross-sectional and diverse membership of the organizational ecosystem. Establishing a repeatable process – Through the three innovation stages of our "create, communicate and commercialize" process, our methodology employs a seven day "fail fast/fail cheap" idea evaluation cycle to identify, evaluate and eliminate (if possible) death threats to the cycle using the proven Deming problem-solving process of "plan, do, study, act." If the death threat to commercialization is insurmountable, then we move on to the next idea. The endgame for our IE process is the development and implementation of a new market, customer, process, product or service for our manufacturing client, thereby adding to their top-line profit growth. In closing, I'd like to bring to your attention the following two articles highlighting InnovateMEP Mississippi clients: T&L Specialty Company in Tupelo and Long Branch Company in West Point. Several of our InnovateMEP Centers have worked extensively with T&L Specialty, which is an innovative, fatherand-son, family-owned chemical manufacturer. They were our first manufacturer nearly five years ago to complete our Eureka! Winning Ways innovation process, which was the predecessor process to our current IE system. Long Branch Company, a relatively new InnovateMEP client and long-term company founded by Ed Todd under a new partnership arrangement with Linda Pilley, hosted one of our early IE Jump Starts with very positive results. ● •••••••••••• Jay Tice, Ph.D., is vice president of Innovate Mississippi and director of InnovateMEP Mississippi. He can be contacted at for more information. Visit for more information. InnovateMEP Mississippi is a line of business of Innovate Mississippi, where the organization is also headquartered. 65

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