Friday, 8 June 2007

Is Right First Time Innovation a False Economy?

Think about it?

You put all that effort rooting through a design with a fine toothed and conscientious comb (weeks, even months on end), then you make the physical prototype and find a dozen errors: five tolerance clashes, the embeded code makes the LCD flicker, a PCB lug doesn’t align, a catastrophe component failure, and so on.

And don’t any of you seasoned engineers (manager and non-manger) tell me this hasn’t happened to you.

But this is a mere surface issue, underneath belies much deeper consequences.

Right first time enforces an anti-risk culture. If the edict is right first time and you get something wrong, you are going get beaten up not only by the boss, but by your peers as well (it reflects on them, you are now the risk).

So what happens?

You make sure you get it right first time.

And how do you do that?

You don’t take any risks, don’t try anything new, don’t push the envelop.

And what does that mean?

It means nothing new, zero innovation, zero learning, and zero competitive advantage.

And what does that mean?

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