Michael Wynblatt, Ingersoll Rand’s vice president, Innovation and Emerging Technologies, recently participated in the first Innovation Leader Live interview for Innovation Leader, a groundbreaking digital information service and online community that showcases the latest in trends and talent in corporate innovation.
In the interview, Scott Cohen, Innovation Leader’s co-founder, discussed a variety of topics with Wynblatt, including: Ingersoll Rand’s approach to innovation, the Innovation Hypothesis, developing talent in the innovation space and the importance of practice to build innovative skills.
Wynblatt’s passion for innovation is a key part of Ingersoll Rand’s Growth Excellence strategy. A core concept of his operating system for innovation is the idea of the commercial hypothesis. He encourages everyone to start each project by building a hypothesis. The hypothesis does not have to be right on the first day, as it will be tested and improved throughout the process, but it does have to be complete, self-consistent and unambiguous. “By starting with a complete hypothesis, it empowers us to be able to test and improve and to do so fast and efficiently,” said Wynblatt.
Wynblatt compared innovation to a “cross functional sport,” where teams must be able to work across all functions to excel. According to Wynblatt, innovation requires practice, as in sports or the arts. He shared Ingersoll Rand’s approach to simulation-based training used in our Innovation Masters training program. Based on two platforms of project simulation and portfolio simulation, this method seeks to allow for the practice that is so integral to the craft of innovation. Together the two approaches incorporate many of our innovation tools to give people practice using them: market segmentation, value proposition development, hypothesis templates, financial tools, phases and gates.
Cohen concluded the interview by asking Wynblatt for his biggest takeaway from the innovation world. Said Wynblatt: “No matter how much experience you have, the initial idea is probably not right. What you need to set out to do is improve ideas, not prove them.”
Innovation Leader is a research and information service on corporate innovation. Led by award-winning journalist and author Scott Kirsner, Innovation Leader provides action-oriented tactics and strategies for corporate executives.