Acceleration, the rate of change in speed. Not just speed itself, but speeding up (or, in some cases, down).  The benefits of speed are numerous:

  • Earlier time to market
  • Earlier revenue realization
  • Competitive advantage
  • Market intelligence
  • Etc.

Yet, the risks of going faster are also many:

  • Shortcuts on quality
  • Creating bad products fast 
  • Rework
  • Wasted resources
  • Bad press
  • Recalls
  • Etc.

When I was growing up in the 80s with MTV and “Hair Bands”, Ford Motor Company’s slogan was simple…”Quality is Job One.”  I didn’t think about it then, but I believe it to my core today and think it was one of the best slogans and corporate missions in advertising history.  You can’t sacrifice quality for speed.  Let’s face it, you’d rather have the right pizza 10 minutes late than get the wrong pizza on time. 

How can you improve the speed of your company’s innovation, reduce the risks, and ensure quality isn’t lost in the process?  These are billion dollar questions. 

To make it harder, there are many aspects of the development process you can target for acceleration…front end, back end, IP acquisition, planning and financing to name a few.  All of these options provide both opportunity and risk and each requires a different analysis and approach to speed.  In the end, speed comes more from focused effort (high allocation to the work) than anything else, but simply focusing without a good approach can ensure a lot of wasted energy.  Focused allocation is a tremendous psychological drain, especially in today’s world and brings with it the opportunity cost of other things not being worked.  Can any company afford to focus its best resources for extended periods of time, risk burnout and get nothing special in return?

At this year’s Innovate Carolina conference, we haven’t shied away from any of these questions.  We’ve assembled a cast of speakers who will immerse us in the breadth and depth of these issues.  Andy Cohen (watch him HERE), talks about speed to fresh thinking.  Our friend and board member Ty Hagler, talks about the risk/reward proposition of speeding up the front end, while Justin Nifong talks about IP protection and securing protection more quickly.  We have Enventys, Duke Energy, Eastman Chemical, The Service Design Group, Wells Fargo Sopheon, Gear Stream, Lowes and RTI talking about making good choices quickly, funding, commercialization, open innovation, culture, realization of objectives, speed from thought diversity and almost everything in between. 

The conference will go by fast, but we won’t hurry.  It’ll be focused, insightful, energetic and thought provoking.  These aren’t just great speakers or great companies.  They are, for the most part, people from our own community of innovators, here in the Carolinas.  They work at companies in our region, interact with people every day and strive to ensure that the things we all consume aren’t just cheap or available quickly, but improve our lives as well.  Those in attendance will be friends, colleagues and competitors, but you’re not likely to find anyone who isn’t willing to share, discuss and discover alongside you.  That’s what communities are…dedicated and invested in each other. 

You don’t have to speed to get there, just plan to come.  You don’t have to have “Innovation” in your title to join us.  If you do, we’re confident that your experience will be both personally enriching and professionally engaging.  We hope you’ll continue to be a part of PDMA Carolinas throughout the year.  If you haven’t already, Register HERE.  We look forward to hosting you this Friday!

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