Sunday, October 4, 2009

Inside Honda

I happened upon four short documentaries created by Honda, which I found insightful and creative. I am not a car fanatic, so it was weird when I found myself wanting to watch more of these videos. I realized I was interested because they were giving examples of what we have talked about in class. The first video that caught my eye was Failure: The Secret to Success. This video discussed many of the failed innovations Honda had experienced and how these failures helped them create successful products. One story specifically reminded me of the Iridium case. A new employee suggested creating an orange car, but when the dealerships found out they called for the production to be stopped immediately. If the new employee had done any research or simply asked one of the dealerships the idea would have stopped there. There was absolutely no diversity here, they took one person's idea and ran with it.

The other video that I found interesting was Kick out the Ladder. Kick out the Ladder is a metaphor Honda uses to describe setting challenges that put pressure on the employees. One example was in developing the Insight, a hybrid vehicle, Honda's President and CEO told the media their target cost, which put enormous pressure on the development team to reach the target. This immediately reminded me of target innovation from one of our first readings; where you set the target and figure out how to get there. Many of the Honda employees described the challenges asked of them as impossible. For this method to work you have to employ creative individuals who are persistent and like to solve complex problems. Do you think this is an effective way to promote innovation?

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea very much... I imagine that many employees would innerly appreciate to be challenged than to follow a routine. There is no option for "this can not be done". And I believe that because the challenge is assumed like a goal, they have to find ways to find out how to achieve the results. Furthermore, the example of the Honda's top leaders had a strong effect on employees' commitment to fulfill the demand.
    Do you think we can do that with public services?