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Mar 7, 2015

This week's podcast features Doug Hall, CEO and Founder of Innovation Engineering and Eureka! Ranch as he shares his approach for taking the systems thinking of Dr. Deming and applying it to the world of strategy, innovation, and growth.

Doug shares the story of how his father introduced him to Dr. Deming and systems thinking in the late 70's. Doug's father worked at Nashua Corporation, which was one of the early corporate adopters of Dr. Deming's philosophies. Later Doug took that systems mindset to the Proctor and Gamble brand management department taking nine innovations to market in 12 months, which is still a record today.

After 10 years he retired from corporate life and established Eureka! Ranch. He soon found that corporate executives were not interested in a systemic approach to innovation. Doug pivoted and repackaged himself as a innovation Guru who in truth was powered by systems thinking. He was soon named one of America's top idea gurus by A&E To 10, Inc. Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. Doug went on to do dozens of projects for such top innovators as Nike, Walt Disney, and AT&T. His fame lead to network radio and television roles, writing of books and to the role of "Truth Teller" judge on the first season of ABC TV's American Inventor. 

As he was getting ready to retire from consulting he returned to his roots and founded the new field of academic study known as Innovation Engineering at the University of Maine. Their mission is to change the world by enabling innovation by everyone, everywhere, everyday resulting in increased speed to market and decreased risk. Their method for accomplishing this is to apply the systems thinking of Dr. Deming.  The rise of the internet and the 2008 recession created the opportunity to transfer the system approach to innovation from universities to the commercial world. It worked-companies found that when they enabled their employees they could increase speed to market by up to 6x and decrease innovation risk by 30 to 80%. 

Listen as Doug explains why he feels today's younger generation are the greatest generation for workers. And why starting with the "what, why and how" is such an important first step in innovation.