Executive Views: Dr. Greg Shaw By Director Technology Development, Swagelok March/April 2011
Driving Innovation: The Art of Technology and Product Development
“If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” —Henry Ford
In technology development circles, this quote from automotive pioneer Henry Ford is bound to stir debate about how companies should approach the innovation process. Should they respond directly to customer requests and address specific challenges? Should they take calculated risks in anticipation of market needs, as Ford did with automobiles?
There is no obvious answer. Often, companies realize innovations through a combination of market research, internal idea generation, customer requests, and a variety of other factors. They also frequently discover innovative solutions by chance.