Thursday, July 19, 2007

How long has this been going on?

Many of you may be familiar with the DLP - the "digital light processor" that is the core of many of the latest projectors and big screen televisions. Texas Instruments is attempting to place its brand on projectors, televisions and other equipment in the same manner that Intel places its Intel Inside branding on PCs.

The DLP is a technological wonder - a silicon chip with millions of tiny mirrors, controlled by a microchip. This configuration creates a very large, bright, clear picture. DLP enabled devices have been on the market for a few years now and seem to be selling well.

Why do I tell you about the DLP? To give some indication about the time it takes for a new innovation to reach the market. While equipment with the DLP inside have been on the market for about six or seven years, the Digital Light Processor has been under research or development for over 20 years. I worked at TI briefly in the mid-90s when it was believed that the DLP was going to be the next big thing.

Senior Managers often roll their eyes in disbelief when we talk about a two or three year window from the time we set up an innovation process to the time when they'll realize significant benefits. Yet careful examination of any new process or product and its origins will indicate that our predictions may be optimistic. Why does it take "so long"?

First, if an organization does not have a process, the process must be agreed upon, defined and implemented. Since any process will step on someone's toes, everyone must be brought in and convinced or coerced into agreement. Then, once the process is in place, ideas must flow through the process and through the normal product development cycle and approval cycle. There's nothing really new or earth-shattering about these conditions and facts. Why then is it so hard for senior managers to accept?

Because they need the new products and services NOW. They don't care about development times, approvals and so forth, and frankly often don't understand the development cycle anyway. They are focused on quarterly results and reacting to new products and services that enter the market from competitors. Two or three years may as well be a lifetime in some industries. However, dragging your feet on developing and implementing an innovation process just prolongs the time it will take to generate new products and services.

The only way to combat the eye rolling is to deconstruct a product or service and demonstrate the phases and steps an idea moved through to become a new product or service. Using historical data about the existing products and services can create a baseline. Using that baseline, then the team can begin to explore ways to shorten the timeframes.
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posted by Jeffrey Phillips at 7:11 AM


Blogger msheeley said...

I can’t agree more. I work for a company that has been working with the US military for over 20 years on research. For the most part, we are just now getting to the point where this work is becoming real products. Research takes time before it becomes a new technology that becomes a new product that is then placed into systems of products. It isn’t until this point that the military can really benefit from decades of work. Maybe it because the US government is not interested in profits that it is easier for us to except these long processes.

-Michael Sheeley

9:08 AM  
Anonymous stop pre ejaculation said...

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8:23 PM  

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