Northwire, Inc. (NWI) and valued partner The LEMO Group are pleased to announce the manufacturing companies’ own Mathieu Menet will be speaking at the Lean Innovation Forum (LiF) this November in Switzerland. The three-day event is presented by the Lean Analytics Association and will inform attendees about the latest trends in innovation, startups, agile development, leadership, and more. Mathieu, LEMO’s Innovation Task Force Manager, will discuss the concept of “intrapreneurship” in a session titled “On The Way to Open Innovation: How to Turn Any Employee into Innovator with Lean Startup.”
Intrapreneurship is an idea Mathieu has been cultivating at LEMO for over a year. “You act or behave like an entrepreneur while you are working within a larger organization,” Mathieu explained. “The main concept is if you have an idea, don’t wait to ask for permission. Go for it and test it to see if your idea is viable.”
With rapid, near-constant changes in cables and connectors, design and production technology, and general industry capabilities, continual innovation is critical to maintain a competitive advantage. By harnessing the creativity and collected knowledge of TEAM members and partners, intrapreneurship keeps a fresh stream of new ideas flowing to management and product development.
“The key resources for a company to be ahead of competitors is the quick change of ideas and turning ideas into concrete, viable solutions. The more solutions, the more generation of value for customers,” said Mathieu.
“The main task for me is to be able to detect these entrepreneurs in the group and to counsel management in giving them the rights to pursue it in terms of resources and time so they can push their idea and see if it’s viable.”
Employees are encouraged to think outside their current projects and even their department to explore a new process, product idea, or optimization method. Mathieu supports these ventures by providing resources and guidance as needed.
Mathieu’s intrapreneurship model falls in line with the larger concept of Lean Innovation. At its core, Lean Innovation, or Lean Thinking, seeks to minimize waste while maximizing value. A core part of a Lean Innovation model is continual improvement through frequent feedback. By involving shareholders and customers in design, prototyping, production, and deployment – rather than simply taking a customer’s requirements and revealing the completed product at the end of the process – expectations are met and opportunities can be leveraged. The customer has the ability to correct misunderstandings early on, and product developers and engineers can quickly gauge the viability and feasibility of going a different direction to better meet customer needs. This prevents the need to re-do a process or re-make a product after resources have already been invested, and often gives customers a product that exceeds expectations.
Mathieu tested Lean Innovation at LEMO through a six-month program that supplied participants with the budget, time, and tools needed to discover their idea’s viability. Finalists were provided with additional resources and received mentorship and coaching. Similar programs are being planned for the future with longer time frames as the LEMO TEAM adapts to Lean Thinking.
Already, the results from intrapreneurship have allowed LEMO to pass strict corrosion testing standards for military connectors, gain inexpensive and accurate insight into customer assumptions, and empower employees to pursue promising ideas.
“There is a huge potential for awesome solutions in our colleagues’ minds,” Mathieu noted. “They can express their ideas and LEMO can tap in to change the future.”
LEMO and NWI have applied Lean Innovation to connector and cable manufacturing and cable assembly through rapid prototyping and prototype designs, 3D printing, cable testing services, and more to quickly determine viability and gain customer feedback.
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