Beginning in 2005, Norbert Majerus has implemented a principles-based lean product development process at the three global innovation centers of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. For nearly a decade he has been Goodyear’s lean champion in research and development.
Although lean has been found as a widespread application in the manufacturing and services sector, only a few sustained implementations were found in the R&D organizations. Lean-startup thinking has boosted high-tech industries. However, the applications to the innovation creation processes are barely found in the traditional manufacturing industries, besides that not much have been published about this subject. In fact, many executives believe that applying lean to the innovation creation process can spoil the creativity.
The resistance to lean and innovation is unfortunate: the benefits of applying lean principles in R&D, even at the fuzzy front-end of the innovation cycle, can be much higher comparing to what can be accomplished in the traditional applications, such as manufacturing and services.
As confirmed by the recent AME Excellence Award, Goodyear has developed a highly successful lean R&D and innovation creation process. Findings from it are publicly accessible and are shared with the industry. This presentation explains what Goodyear learned on its lean R&D journey, as well as how Goodyear implemented lean principles and achieved synergy between lean and creativity.
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