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LiF 2016: Kane Alward Shares Key Pillars of Fisher & Paykel’s Learning-First Product Development


LiF 2016: Kane Alward Shares Key Pillars of Fisher & Paykel’s Learning-First Product Development


Kane Alward is General Manager of Product Development at Fisher & Paykel Appliances; a company that designs, develops and produces premium home appliances for kitchen and laundry. Being responsible for over 350 product development professionals, Kane has years of hands-on experience from product and technology strategy to lean leadership and implementation for a global business with revenue over $1 Billion.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances completely changed from stage-gate to a lean “Learning-First” Product Development philosophy and system in 2006.  Since then, the company’s 350 designers, engineers, and scientists have driven significant improvements in Product Development productivity and quality from a lean focus on the knowledge required to deliver value to the customer.

Fisher & Paykel is one of the world leaders in appliance innovations with products like the DishDrawer™ Dishwasher, CoolDrawer™ multi-temperature Refrigerator drawer, and SmartDrive™ laundry products.


Fisher & Paykel not only designs and manufactures award-winning appliances, but it innovates heavily at all levels of Product Development processes. However, the company was not always as successful in delivering its innovation to the market and so in 2006, the company decided to replace its stage-gate product development process and embark on a lean product development transformation journey.

When we asked Kane how the complete change to Learning-First Product Development (as they call it in Fisher & Paykel), he summarized the period in three stages:

  • Stage 1 (0-6 months): Hype and excitement
  • Stage 2 (6-18 months): Challenges and resistance
  • Stage 3: (18 months+): Adoption “It works; we can see the benefit”

Join Kane at the Lean Innovation Forum 2016 in Lausanne, Switzerland between November 8 and 10, and use this opportunity to find out more about how Fisher & Paykel implemented Learning-First Product Development and how company’s product development employees apply its practices in their daily work. Through his presentation Kane will touch the four sets of mutually supporting capabilities all focused on delivering value to the customer:

  • Responsibility Based Planning & Control and how it is carried out in Fisher & Paykel
  • Expert Engineering Workforce together with its system for creating, capturing, sharing and reusing engineering knowledge
  • Entrepreneurial Chief Engineer, its key characteristics and the role it plays within the company
  • Set-Based Concurrent Engineering; the approach to the concurrent development of multiple alternative design solutions with delayed convergence to the optimum targeted solution

PowerPoint Presentation

To register for the Lean Innovation Forum, click on the “Register Now” button below:





Lean Analytics Association

Lean Analytics Association (LAA) is a non-profit organization that helps companies to transform by enabling lean thinking in their innovation processes. LAA was founded in Switzerland in 2012 as a spin- off from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). Our mission is to facilitate the transformation of companies by applying lean thinking and innovation best practices in the product development process. To accomplish our mission, we focus on enabling professionals to learn, innovate, and share to enable them to remove waste and accelerate the innovation outcomes providing training, organizing networking events and continuously research the latest trends.

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