By: Willis Whiteside, M.S., IDSA

Issue 110601 3rd/4th Quarter 2010

The ReInvention of Design & the Power of Organization

The world of invention, patents and product development is about mastering organization and success. The definition of success is the key. Is it accumulating millions of dollars. Is it power? Is it organization? Is it knowledge? Daily Happiness? The truth is it is of all of them. There also are no short-cuts in product development and the meaning of success is in the mind of the inventor. To play the game of product development you must always have a “Can Do” attitude and be willing to always try to find a different or better way. The real challenge is facing the many psychological challenges “No’s” and hurdles “monies” that the entrepreneur and or product development manager must overcome. The best plan is to recognize up front that you are going to be facing many No’s and Can’t Do’s which can detour your drive to succeed. If you overcome the mental challenges then you face the physical challenges of time and energy and production needs. The first step is to gain the knowledge of the power of making things happen and aligning people with a greater purpose. One primary key to success is aligning the goals with the physical needs of a target audience. Then gathering a small group of people committed to the same goals with an organized, efficient and consistent efforts.
All manufacturers understand the value of organized, coordinated efforts. Henry Ford was the master of foreseeing the power of mass production, which brought affordable automobiles to the masses. His insight was he was able to see if you broke the automobile – car assembly and parts manufacturing process down to the basic, hand tool or manual manipulation level and organized the assembly in a logical, timed and managed method, no longer was skilled and motivated labour an issue. Ford borrowed the concept of a moving assembly line and the concept of division of labour from the meat packers in Chicago where each worker cut one specific cut of meat. Add the concepts of standardized, machined parts, interchangeably and the principles of ”business management” and you have and the skills needed to assemble the Model T was reduced to a single task out of the 84 steps. The major change was that no longer did it take a life long apprenticeship and years of on the job training to manufacture something. The production assembly line with mass machined interchangeable parts now made skilled craftsmen unnecessary for most industrial production.
At the time all the parts were in place but Ford still had a problem, reliable labour. Ford’s brilliance was not just the development of the assembly line, it was the $5.oo a day wage which, at the time was an extravagant wage. These two major industrial growth changes, the assembly line and the increased daily wage changed the way Americans lived, worked and travelled, sparing the growth of the highway systems; longer distance travel, vacations and even faster transportation methods including airplanes and jets. Henry Ford had the basic knowledge but also knew the power of surrounding himself with people of intelligence and influence, who bring their own trusted opinions and specialties to the tables. Once these individuals all aligned under the small goals, they organized and generated the manufacturing technology although still quite primitive and product of mobility that changed the world’s outlook and future.  The key was the power to recognize the potential of the manufacturing assembly, assembling a diverse but aligned team, with the knowledge and organization that produced a product of great social value, answering a need which went far beyond the individual product.
The other major hurdle for most entrepreneurs is the mental toughness needed to bring a product to the market. Usually the most challenging part of the process is securing the funds needed. And usually a person needs the collateral to secure the sometimes hundreds of thousands it take to launch a product. This is where most inventors get bogged down. The process of securing an angel investor or small business loan is often a very long and time consuming endeavour. The person must be very careful to select the right investor who is willing to lead and or let you lead. An overbearing investor can be a nightmare. Remember it is usually a one sided partnership where whomever controls the money, expects results. The key is to put this most important task at the top of the list and secure the team, goals and confidence that an investor will jump on rather than pass over. If you are successful in securing investment funding, you are well on your way to making your mark. Along the way will be many small successes and failures. The key to success is the mental initiative to look past the failures and continue to build upon the small successes, keeping a positive mind state of consciousness and team building attitude. When the big success arrives, then celebrate, but you must be positive and outreaching on a daily basis.
The definition of success is the key. Learn to acquire the knowledge, treat all people with respect and appreciate even the small accomplishments you achieve, so you can continue to build even bigger ones. Align your purpose, assemble your team, organize your efforts with accountability and you are well on your way to success as an entrepreneur. You must recognize your power of conscious and unconscious thought and maintain a daily state of mind of happiness, appreciation and thankfulness while facing the time, money and resource challenges of new product development. If it was easy everyone would do it. If you have the basic knowledge, power, organization and conviction to succeed, you probably will.

The empowerment slogan for the year: “I’ve learned it’s always better to have a small percentage of a big success, than a hundred percent of nothing.”  Art Linkletter

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