Systematic Innovation


Given the fact that 98% of all innovation attempts end in failure, the Systematic Innovation team devotes a lot of time and effort to decoding why. For the last decade, we’ve divided the primary failure mechanisms according to the TRIZ Law of System Completeness. The thinking goes something like this: if innovation is an outcome of a system, then that system must contain a certain minimum number of elements. In the Classical TRIZ world, that number is 4. In our evolved – Stafford Beer, Viable System Model informed – model there are 6:




Knowing that a failed attempt is because of a poor (‘less ideal’) solution is relatively easy. Ditto four of the other five elements of the model. But establishing that a failure has occurred due to a failure of the measurement systems has been somewhat more problematic. Not least of the reasons being that most of our failure analyses are inherently conducted without inside knowledge of the particular innovation team tasked with delivering their project. Consequently, we’ve tended to publish failure breakdowns in the ‘easy’ five categories.


That hasn’t stopped us from continuing our pursuit of being able to causally link the sixth ‘sensor’ element into the failure story. A couple of years ago we finally worked out a means of measuring the measurement failure mode. And we now have a statistically valid set of results.


Results we’ve been wary of publishing because of the profound implications they carry.


The results tell us this. Close to two-thirds of all innovation attempt failures are failures of measurement.



Nearly all of the ‘Market Demand’ failures to understand the real needs of a customer can be causally linked back to a failure of measurement. Well over half of ‘Coordination’ failures can be causally linked back to a failure to measure what’s really happening as a project winds its precarious way through the surrounding ‘operational excellence’ parts of the enterprise.


Needless to say when we realized the extent of the problem, we had to do something about it. What we did is created PanSensic, the ‘Science of Reading Between The Lines’. Working with some of the smartest complex-measurement-systems brains on the planet, we think we’ve now created the only measurement system on the planet enabling scientists, engineers, designers, marketers, leaders and strategists to act with confidence on their innovation projects.


We think you need to take a look.





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Designed by Trevor Smith