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Fast and Flexible Product Development

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Thursday - 8:15am-9:30am

shrage50.jpg (2759 bytes)Innovative Prototyping — Strategic Modeling as a Medium for Cost- Effective Innovation

Michael Schrage, author of Serious Play: How the World’s Best Companies Simulate to Innovate, will discuss how to cost effectively use models, prototypes and simulations to drive innovation initiatives.

Schrage will discuss  prototyping, modeling and simulations as the essential media to manage innovative behavior and turning uncertainties into manageable risks.  He will review key elements for successful prototyping including how to:

  • recognize and exploit the unanticipated value of prototypes
  • determine the economics of prototyping and its effect on organizational culture
  • understand the trade-offs between modeling with too much detail versus oversimplification
  • measure prototyping paybacks: mean-time-to-payback
  • avoid mismanagement of prototyping - know when the costs outweigh the benefits

About Michael Schrage
Michael Schrage is one of the world's leading advisors to organizations committed to cost effectively using models, prototypes and simulations to drive their innovation initiatives. His work on implementing strategic and just-in-time experimentation is at the core of several corporate transformation efforts. His insights on "hyperinnovation" and "iterative capital" are redefining how many companies are investing in both their supply chains and their customers.

Schrage is a co-director at the MIT Media Lab's eMarkets Initiative where he writes, consults and collaborates in the design and deployment of digital innovations in networked marketplaces. In 2000, Schrage authored, Serious Play: How the World's Best Companies Simulate to Innovate, where he explores the economics and ethology of prototyping and design. He previously authored Shared Minds: The New Technologies of Collaboration - the first book to explore both the tools and the dynamics of successful collaboration in business, science and the arts. His 1993 Design Management Journal contribution " The Culture(s) of Prototyping" was awarded the magazine's Doblin Prize for best article. He is columnist for Fortune Magazine and his writings have appeared in the Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, fast company, Wired, red Herring, Forbes ASAP, Esquire, and many other publications.

Schrage is a Merrill Lynch Forum Innovation Fellow and serves as the executive director of its Innovation Grants Competition. He is co-creator of the Rockefeller Foundation's Science for Development Prize and co-inventor of PF Magic's (now Mattel's) best-selling line of Catz and Dogz virtual pets.

His clients have included DeutscheBank, Fujitsu, General Motors, Microsoft, Accenture, Mars, IDEO, TASC, Merrill Lynch, McKinsey & Co., Mastercard, Procter & Gamble and eRoom Technologies.

Frisday - 8:30am-9:45am

Don ReinertsenMaking Money with Speed and Flexibility

Don Reinertsen, co-author of Developing Products in Half the Time and noted product development expert will explore the economic trade-offs motivating customers to adopt more flexible development processes and how to combine the benefits of structure and flexibility.

Many companies have recognized that changes late in a product development project are expensive. They try to avoid such changes by emphasizing rigorous up front decision-making and highly structured processes. Unfortunately, these methods can add rigidity to a development process and have unexpected side effects such as:

  • Forcing important decisions to occur before good information is available.
  • Discouraging the use of valuable but still evolving technologies.
  • Delaying work unnecessarily to wait for consensus.
  • Substantially increasing effort invested for the sole benefit of "the process".

This has caused many companies to consider approaches that focus on carefully balancing the benefits of late changes against their costs. Companies are increasingly examining approaches that:

  • Defer selected decisions until higher quality information is available.
  • Accelerate the creation of the information needed to make these decisions.
  • Modify process methodologies and product architectures to make adjustments less painful.

Don Reinertsen will discuss the economic tradeoffs motivating companies to adopt more flexible development processes. Extreme process orientation can cause companies to lose their focus on results. Absence of process can cause companies to keep repeating the same painful mistakes. Don will examine the middle path that seeks to combine the benefits of structure and flexibility.

Don Reinertsen is President of Reinertsen & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in the management of the product development process. Before starting his own firm, he had extensive consulting experience at McKinsey & Co. an international management consulting firm, and operating experience as Senior Vice President of Operations at Zimmerman Holdings, a private diversified manufacturing company.

His contributions in the field of product development have been recognized internationally. In 1983, while a consultant at McKinsey & Co., he wrote a landmark article in Electronic Business magazine which first quantified the value of development speed. This article has been cited as the McKinsey study that indicated "six months delay can be worth 33 percent of life cycle profits".

In the past fifteen years, he has gone considerably beyond this early work. He has worked with companies ranging from Fortune 500 Baldrige Award winners to small venture capital backed start-ups. He has developed a number of innovative analytical techniques for assessing the product development process, and changing it.

Don holds a B.S. from Cornell University in Electrical Engineering, and an M.B.A. with distinction from Harvard Business School. He is a member of the IEEE, SME, and ASQC. Don is coauthor of the best-selling book "Developing Products in Half the Time", and author of the book, "Managing the Design Factory: A Product Developer's Toolkit". He writes and speaks frequently on techniques for shortening development cycles, and teaches a popular course at California Institute of Technology on Streamlining the Product Development Process.

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