3M's Seven Pillars of Innovation


Business Week has published an insightful article on 3M's innovation framework.  It was noted in a number of sites on innovation, but it deserves amplification. 3M's Seven Pillars of Innovation lists the following points:

1.  �From the chief executive on down, the company must be committed to innovation.��  

2. �The corporate culture must be actively maintained��.The philosophy of William L. McKnight, its inspirational leader from 1929 to 1966, is passed along by old-timers like Larry Wendling to every new scientist or engineer. In a nutshell: ��Hire good people and let them do their job in their own ways. And tolerate mistakes.����

3. �Innovation is impossible without a broad base of technology.��
4. �Talk, talk, talk. Management at 3M has long encouraged networking -- formal and informal -- among its researchers. Wendling calls this 3M's secret weapon.��
5. �Reward employees for outstanding work.��

6. �Quantify efforts. 3M tallies how much of its revenue comes from products introduced in the past four years to judge whether its R&D money is being spent wisely.��
7. �Research must be tied to the customer.
Employees spend a lot of time with customers to understand what their needs are so they can go back to the labs to come up with valuable products.��

Good advice if applied, 3M has had lots of practice.

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