Innovators - Racers At Critical Paths Or Master Builders?

Innovation projects are complex - people are working on many activities that are dependent on others.

Innovation projects have a Critical Path?

The project network - you have the work break down into tasks...a duration for each activity, dependencies and milestones? The longest sequence of tasks in the project network that are dependent and cannot be compressed is the Critical Path.

But do the organizations always know what that means?

The problem is, innovators are usually excellent and shall be asked…but people on the critical path must not be interrupted…because delays on the critical path are delays at the very end of the project?

A little analysis tells us who is on the critical path. And they should wear "I am on the critical path" T-shirts or caps…and team members without should ask them: "can I do anything for you?"


Innovation projects must not be linear

As we know from The Innovation Mesh they span "objects" in a multi-dimensional parameter space.

In particular, innovations that require computation have various objects of desire, a clock, flows, events, transformations, massive information requirements…most of the problems suggest a functional decomposition and the bottom up composition of functions and tasks.

Innovators think like master builders?

Walking an innovation through The Innovation Mesh needs lab work on the micro level. If this is done, the macro view emerges…but you may need to go back...

Doing this it comes to mind that key developers of quant innovations should think like master builders (of, say, a hotel complex or even parts of a city)

Apply a general procedure:

Questions - What are the desires, requirements, needs? What are the conventions, rules, state of the art? What are the controlling ideas, models, methods and critical implementations? What are the constructors, building blocks?...finding questions guides us towards ideas.

Frog and  Bird Views - iteratively zoom in and analyze the concrete details and zoom out and see results in the context of behavior and profiles.

Elimination - don't forget to eliminate features and capabilities that will knowingly lead you to unclear outcome. If you have eliminated too much you will find a better way...

Make - the concrete implementation is a a way to do practical analysis and verification. If you have great building blocks the final solution will be result of an evolutionary approach.

A critical path gets another meaning when applying evolutionary prototyping...