Asset Managers manage the life-cycle of an asset in order to meet or exceed the projected revenue or savings. Acquisition, utilization, maintenance and disposal are all phases within that life-cycle. This two-blog series takes a look at the life-cycle of an asset before it becomes as asset as we know it. Specifically, it covers when an asset starts as an idea and works its way to something innovative.
There are duh moments. There are aha moments. And there are Eureka moments. I experienced one of those duh moments during this interview. Of course an idea has a life-cycle. Of course the life-cycle of an idea can be managed. Most often, ideas have a short life or get stuck in I’ll get around to it mode. Some ideas continue into perpetuity in the form of a thing. Think of the value that the wheel brought and still brings to the world. Grinding, transportation, lifting… this thing may have started out as an idea from ancient times. Yet, is has become an intricate, sometimes latent, part of our lives that still turns out value for us.
Bringing ideas to fruition often takes tremendous effort. This is where PCD Works become necessary for companies. Louise Rainone-Musial is the Director of Strategy and Development for PCD Works. She stated, “PCD Works is a full-service technology development company specializing in breakthrough product innovation”. Consider Louise an idea spotter in the part of the life-cycle called new product development. She is “responsible for seeking out, engaging, and bringing new clients or partners”. She “spearheads the resulting innovation into the market place.”
Ideation is a key part of the PCD Works methodology. Ideation deals with the raw products of gray matter and passion to bring value to an idea. Building value from a customer’s idea through PCD Works’ mantra of Create, Test, Build, Refine, and Deliver is their core business.
Louise further stated that, “In this methodology, we identify and reduce the risks associated with driving innovative products to market. In that, communication is very important.”
This is where Louise’s background gets very interesting as it relates to bringing innovations to market. I asked about her fine arts background. She replied that if anything, film is about bringing the idea out of an author’s head to life. That involves both the processes of arts and very technical aspects. At the end of those processes, the audience can be brought into ground breaking experiences. While each member of the audience may have a different personal experience, the plot, the setting, the pace, the dialogue, and the cast keep the audience sharing a common experience.
I asked Louise, more about how she came to this. We started with the state of Montana.
“Living in Montana was live and let live. It takes you out of the status quo. When I was young, I was taught you can do anything you want. So, I spent a lot of time in the woodshop....
“My mother was an architect. My father taught at university. He was an architect and a clinical psychologist. We didn’t use the woodshop just for making furniture. We used it for science as well. One of my strongest memories is a science project my father did with me. The project involved treating saw blades with liquid nitrogen cryogenically. We used them. Then, we compared the wear of the blades. The objective was to see if treating the blades extended the life of each blade.”
“Do you still make furniture?” I asked.
Her response was immediate. Her tone lightened. “Yes, my husband and I still make furniture.”
“So, that duality developed within you, the technical and creative. You finished college and entered your first job. How did that go? Did your bosses appreciate that duality or did it cause problems?”
“In my first real job in which I really could create my own path… I think they did appreciate that. But, there were risks there. You don’t have a résumé that early in your career to show your accomplishments. It is a harder sell.” She went on to say that persistent is the key. Sometimes a person may not be telling the story right. People have to know that you are not just saying something off the cuff. “You have to build a case based on trends, data analysis, the successes of similar organizations, and other information.” Sometimes people do not see the connectivity of the world. “You have to help connect the dots… which are not always linear. It can involve synthesis as well. You have to take them on the journey with you.”
I asked, “So, success for someone with this type of dual capability is about messaging and moving from being creative to innovative. Can you talk to me about the difference between creativity and innovation?”
“Creativity is a part of innovation. Innovation has value and execution. Creativity is a huge umbrella that covers ideas in general. An idea may be acted upon. But, it may not hold value for others. The work we do at PCD Works is very exciting because, while we are good in the idea phase, we are good at understanding the value of that innovation. This means we have to execute to bring those ideas into innovation. PCD Works is very good at execution.”