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James McNerney Jr.

Chairman & CEO


The Boeing Company
100 North Riverside
Chicago, Illinois 60606

RE: INNOVATION STRATEGY REPORT


Dear James,
Firstly, thank you for your interest in bringing innovation further into the spotlight at Boeing and
allowing me the opportunity to redefine a formal strategy for future implementation.
It does not take a fool to see that our world is changing rapidly and will continue to do so faster than
any generation in history (Hoque 2012)! It is no longer enough to call innovation an improvement in
performance of better, faster and cheaper (TEDx Talks 2011). Many companies have lost their
competitive edge in the marketplace by doing this, even thought they were continually improving
performance and had satisfied customers (Hoque 2012).
The realising of unique and commercially viable solutions to customers desires is the cause of this
uncertain future and no business plan or sustained improvement in performance alone can remove
this instability (Christensen 1997, p. 10).
At Boeing we are great at incremental or what I call Performance Innovation (Christensen 1997, p.
11). What we need is a radical jump; not in performance but in how we define innovation and the
permission it gives Boeing to discover new directions (Christensen 1997, p. 13).
What I endeavour to create is a culture of Visionary Innovation at Boeing, with imagination toward
what the future could be like. To gain sufficient traction, this culture will require every employee in
our entire organisation to be on board.
I hope this report will be of personal interest to you and an imperative to Boeings future innovation
strategy.

Regards,

MW Stuckings
Matthew Stuckings

Matthew Stuckings
Training & Communications Manager

The Boeing Company


100 North Riverside
Chicago, Illinois 60606

Innovation Strategy Report


Redefining Innovation at Boeing.

Understanding Innovation
Innovation at Boeing
Here at Boeing we do Performance Innovation very well; better, faster, cheaper and more efficient is
pioneered each day (Innovation Video Series 2013). These incremental innovations such as: lighter
and stronger composite materials for aircraft fuselages, new wing designs that give more lift and
cheaper biofuels are constantly being reengineered (Innovation Video Series 2013). These
improvements have put Boeing at the leading-edge of aviation, aerospace and surveillance for the
past 100 years (Milestones in Innovation 2013).
The question is, will Performance Innovation be enough to keep Boeing competitive in the future?

The Imperative of Continual and Visionary Innovation


Kodak, Microsoft and Sony; they were all once great companies at the top of their game and were
once highly innovative in their chosen industry (Newman). In the present day all three have lost their
grip on remaining ahead of the competition (Newman). While not all are bankrupt, their stories,
illustrate the way missed opportunities and tunnel vision can senda mighty enterprise off-course
(Newman).
For Sony it was Apple who gained the upper hand with iTunes and the iPod, where Sony had
previously revolutionised the music industry with the Walkman (Newman). For Kodak it was failing
to change with the digital photography industry that sent it bankrupt. For Microsoft it is playing
catch-up with Apple and Google in the shifting tablet and smartphone industry (Newman).
Closer home, innovations in aerospace and aviation can have fatal consequences. The Hindenburg, a
lighter-than-air floating ship failed to become accepted long-term after the disaster of 1937
(Wilmoth 2000, p. 53). Space Shuttles using a modified Boeing 747 body (like the Columbia) are an
example of innovation gone wrong. The space program suspended for two and a half years after
more than one fatal disaster. This was after Rockwell was bought by Boeing in 1996, making it the
parent company responsible (Rockwell InternationalBuilding the Space Shuttle 2014).
It is an over simplification if we believe in only one root-cause to why companies or innovations lose
competitiveness. The question is, how do we create a strategy that nurtures innovation in Boeings
culture?

Innovation Strategy
Factors in Success
Based on research, below are factors in the success and failure of innovations. Followed by their
planned integration into Boeings organisational culture.
1. Organisational barriers such as poor structure or process inhibiting change can hold a
company back from being innovative (Sisaye & Birnberg 2012, p. 2). This includes not
formalising a process for innovation, hence the need for this report (Hoque 2012).
2. Complacency of a company or not accepting that there is a need to change is a big part of
failure. The world will continue to change in unexpected ways and we need to be prepared
(Hoque 2012)

Matthew Stuckings
Training & Communications Manager

The Boeing Company


100 North Riverside
Chicago, Illinois 60606

3. Fixating on innovations that made Boeing previously successful is also a recipe for failure,
there needs to be an understanding of when innovations are outdated (Newman)
4. Boeing needs to define itself by the value it delivers and not by what it does, otherwise it will
never change. Therefore creating value needs to be our first motivation in innovation, not
money or new technology (TEDx Talks 2014)
5. Boeing needs to take ownership of innovating for the future by creating a culture that strives
for Visionary Innovation (Hoque 2012)
6. Measuring success post-innovation is of critical importance, otherwise Boeing will never
know if it was worth pursuing (Hoque 2012)
7. There needs to be a culture of openness, so that innovations can be critiqued and supported
no matter who they come from (Hoque 2012)?
After the innovation concept is created it needs to be tested against metrics to access its viability,
such as the valuable and unique matrix in Figure 2.
A great guide for successful innovation is these main
questions: Is the innovation or product real? Is that
market real? Can we compete in the market? Will the
innovation profitable at an acceptable risk? Does
launching the product make strategic sense to Boeing
(Day 2007, p. 115)? If all questions are addressed,
then the innovation should move forward.

Redefining Organisational Culture at Boeing


Reengineering culture is difficult and takes a lot of
momentum and time (Denning 2011). These points
below will form part of our internal strategy to create
a culture of Visionary Innovation.
Figure 2: Adapted from (TEDx Talks 2014)
1. An internal brochure is a start to redefining
how we communicate innovation and its practice, getting all employees in the same page
2. Allowing a protected portion of time each week, where employees can imagine and explore
innovative ideas that are important to them, similar to 20% time practiced at Google
(Schrage 2013). This will also motivate employees to put effort and time into these ideas as
it gives them a chance to work on their own terms (Pink 2009, p. 85)
3. Facilitating a culture where there is no such thing as bad ideas, they just need to be screened
for success (Day 2007, p. 115).
4. Allowing humour to be a part of the discussion and screening of ideas is essential in creating
an open culture of innovative ideas (MyNutsAreOrange 2013)
5. Multidisciplinary teams, made up of individuals with expertise in a particular area is also
another tool in nurturing an innovative environment (Christensen 1997)
I hope that this report in working together, we can shift Boeings culture and create Visionary
Innovation together. Please see a mock-up of the brochure on the next few pages.

Matthew Stuckings
Training & Communications Manager

The Boeing Company


100 North Riverside
Chicago, Illinois 60606

Imagine for the future

[FRONT COVER]

Matthew Stuckings
Training & Communications Manager

Innovate it together

[BACK COVER]

The Boeing Company


100 North Riverside
Chicago, Illinois 60606

Visionary Innovation
Here at Boeing we are great at, building something
better. New wing designs, biofuels, and lighter
composite materials help keep us the leader in aviation,
aerospace and surveillance. This culture of continual
improvement was made by you, our employees and
we want to thank you for being a part of that journey.
However, the world is changing, faster and faster. Many
companies who revolutionised their industries are falling
behind those who are creating innovations in leaps-andbounds.
Today, people are not just imagining the future but
creating it! Practical jetpacks, commercial space travel,
micro-surveillance drones and miniature robots only
millimetres in size, capable of flight.
All of these innovations have the potential to make our
improvements in performance obsolete, by redefining
who our competitors are.
What we need at Boeing is to imagine for the future,
then innovate it together.

MW Stuckings
Matthew Stuckings
Training & Communications Manager

[INSIDE LEFT]

[INSIDE RIGHT]

References to Trends in Brochure

Building something better, is a quote from Boeings March 2014 issue of Frontiers (Proctor
2014, p. 13)
Micro Unmanned Arial Vehicles, capable of surveillance (BSS Holland 2013)
Printed circuit microelectomechanical robots (MicroroboticsLab 2011)
Flying with Kerosene jet engines and a fixed wing attached to your back because, if you put
in steering, you re-invent the airplane (TED 2011).
The Martin Jetpack, practical and already close to commercialisation (GLMGroupVideo 2013)
Space tourism is already a reality, with plans for orbiting hotels (DocumentaryDomicile 2014)

Matthew Stuckings
Training & Communications Manager

The Boeing Company


100 North Riverside
Chicago, Illinois 60606

Reference List
Newman, R 2010, 10 Great Companies That Lost Their Edge, US News, viewed 20 March 2014,
<http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/flowchart/2010/08/19/10-great-companies-that-losttheir-edge>.
Wilmoth, GC 2000, False-Failed Innovation, JFQ, Autumn/Winter 1999-2000, pp. 51-57, viewed 20
March 2014, <http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/jfq/1223.pdf>.
Rockwell InternationalBuilding the Space Shuttle 2014, Boeing, viewed 20 March 2014,
<http://www.boeing.com/boeing/history/narrative/n086roc.page>.
Hoque, F 2012, Why Innovation Fails, Fast Company, viewed 20 March 2014,
<http://www.fastcompany.com/3002768/why-innovation-fails>.
Sisaye, S & Birnberg, J 2012, Chapter 1 Why Innovations Fail: Organizational Processes and Structural
Barriers to Innovations, in Sisaye, S & Birnberg (eds) An Organizational Learning Approach to Process
Innovations: The Extent and Scope of Diffusion and Adoption in Management Accounting Systems
Studies in Managerial and Financial Accounting, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 1-18.
TEDx Talks 2011, TEDxHarkerSchool Guy Kawasaki The 12 Lessons I Learned from Steve Jobs,
2011, 4 November, viewed 21 March 2014, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edEs4sjlmJY>.
TEDx Talks 2014, The art of innovation: Guy Kawasaki at TEDxBerkeley, 2014, 22 February, viewed 21
March 2014, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edEs4sjlmJY>.
Innovation Video Series 2013, Boeing, viewed 21 March 2014,
<http://www.boeing.com/stories/videos/vid_02_787.html>.
BSS Holland 2013, Nano UAV Black Hornet-PD-100 PRS, 2013, 6 October, viewed 21 March 2014, <
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4o7mRg74qcY>.
TED 2013, Raffaello DAndrea: The astounding athletic power of quadcopters, 2013, 11 June, viewed
21 March 2014, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2itwFJCgFQ>.
MicroroboticsLab 2011, Pop-up Fabrication of the Harvard Monolithic Bee (Mobee), 2011, 17
November, viewed 21 March, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxSs1kGZQqc>.
TED 2011, Yves Rossy: Fly with the Jetman, 2011, 15 November, viewed 21 March, <
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2sT9KoII_M>.
GLMGroupVideo 2013, Jetpacks, the future of Urgent Express Freight?, 2013, 15 August, viewed 21
March 2014 < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HADpwnMTuXA>.
DocumentaryDomicile 2014, Virgin Galactic, 2014, 24 February, viewed 21 March 2014,
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeGGwcQKpak>.

Matthew Stuckings
Training & Communications Manager

The Boeing Company


100 North Riverside
Chicago, Illinois 60606

Milestones in Innovation 2013, Boeing, viewed 23 March 2014,


<http://www.boeing.com/stories/timeline.html>.
Christensen, C 1997, The Innovators Dilemma, Harvard Business School Press, CS Investing, viewed
23 March 2014
Proctor, P 2014, Passion for Innovation, Boeing, viewed 23 March 2014,
<http://www.boeing.com/news/frontiers/archive/2014/march/pubData/source/FRONTIERS%20MA
R14_Complete.pdf>.
Day, G 2007, Is it Real? Can We Win? Is it Worth Doing?, Harvard Business Review, December 2007,
pp. 110-120
Schrage, M 2013, Just How Valuable Is Googles 20% Time?, Harvard Business Review Blog, viewed
24 March 2014, <http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/08/just-how-valuable-is-googles-2-1/>.
Pink, D 2009, Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, Riverhead Book, NY
MyNutsAreOrange 2013, John Cleese on Creativity, 2011, 25 January, viewed 24 March 2014,
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AU5x1Ea7NjQ>.
Denning, S 2011, How Do You Change An Organizational Culture?, Forbes, viewed 24 March 2014,
<http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2011/07/23/how-do-you-change-an-organizationalculture/>.
Christensen, C 1997, Disruptive Innovation: The Christensen Collection, Harvard Business Press,
viewed 24 March 2014.

Matthew Stuckings
Training & Communications Manager

The Boeing Company


100 North Riverside
Chicago, Illinois 60606