HiveRank (930)

Billy Grierson

Associate HiveMind Expert

Mantra

Helping you Think Out of the Box and Act in the Box

In a nutshell

I help companies to add value by working together to improve their innovation and project management processes.

Availability

Fully Available Immediately

Location

Perth, United Kingdom

Languages

English

French

German

Skills

creative problem-solving

innovation

facilitation

TRIZ

innovation management

Business Model Design

project management

Nominated by

user image Paul Kelly

HM Expert since

Monday December 03, 2018

About

Working within the chemical industry, I have developed an understanding of how companies innovate, what can go wrong and what tools and techniques can be used to avoid or deal with these pitfalls. With this background, I offer my skills in three main areas:

Problem Solving and Decision Making Support:
I have developed facilitation skills which support a team, or individual, in systematically solving problems or making decisions. Through discussion with the client and supported by the Concept Garden framework, I tailor the approach to the problem or decision at hand.

Innovation Processes and Innovation Project Management:
My 20 years of experience in different innovation roles combined with my project management experience (I am PMP certified) puts me in a position to advise on and support the development, or fine tuning, of innovation processes.

Training, coaching and mentoring:
I offer training courses in the skills used in problem-solving, decision making and innovation.

Current role details

Problem Solving and Decision Making

Every company can solve problems but every company has problems it has not solved. They need to “think out of the box”, but the constraints do not go away. To implement the idea, you have to “act in the box”.

Using well established thinking tools such as

TRIZ
DATT (Direct Attention Thinking Tools)
Lateral Thinking

plus many others, I can help them to get the best balance of thinking out of the box and acting in the box.

My approach is to work with the client to select the best tool for their problem rather than try to squeeze the problem into a preferred tool.

Other offers project management support, and general meeting facilitation.

Billy's STAR Stories

How to Prune an Overgrown Innovation Portfolio (Reveal More OR View Full Page)
Situation

The Division of a large, multinational chemical company developed an innovation portfolio that proved too large to digest. Although the projects contained the potential to more than double the division’s turnover in three to five years, there were simply too many projects and not enough resources. Expanding workloads did not work. Assigning more projects resulted in a slowing of all progress. The Research Group leaders agreed that about half of the projects should be stopped to free up resources, but they could not agree on which half. A share of the Divisional innovation budget for each Research Group depended upon the number of projects in their portfolio, creating an incentive to defend all of the projects.

Task

Work with the Head of Innovation and his Research Group leaders toward an agreement on which projects should be stopped. Help mediate the conflict between personal objectives, financial incentives, and company goals.

Action

We started by asking a number of questions.

  • “What are the Company objectives, and how do Divisional objectives fit into this?”
  • “What is the Division’s innovation strategy, and how does this help to deliver the Division’s objectives?”
  • “What are the characteristics of a project that would be needed for it to support the Division’s innovation strategy?”

Using a number of simple thinking tools such as Objective Tree and Problem Space, we explored the answers to these questions. This generated a lot of discussion, some of it heated. It eventually led, however, to a general agreement on what the innovation portfolio needed to deliver, firmly grounded in the Division’s Business Strategy. From there it was relatively easy to agree on a set of criteria for reviewing the portfolio.

Results

By pulling the team away from thinking about what they were doing to thinking about why they were doing it, the process of reviewing and trimming the portfolio became much simpler and less contentious. There were even occasions when a Group Lead insisted that one of his projects should stop because it was a poorer fit to the criteria than a project belonging to a “rival” group.

In an afternoon and evening, using a series of thinking tools, we had managed to more than half the number of projects within the portfolio, leaving it in a stronger position than before. Several months of discussion were unable to make choices on which projects to remove from the portfolio. Thousands of dollars were saved on continuing the existing failed evaluation approach.

The key to the success was changing the mindset from fighting to get a bigger slice of the pie to working together to increase the size of the pie by aliging with the division’s strategy. This change lived on after the initial portfolio review, providing lasting benefits to the division.

Additional results included:

[can you put any numbers on any of this?]

  • It enabled positive behavioural change.
  • Because of the behavioural changes, the Division became able to respond more quickly to changes in market needs.
  • The project portfolio became more dynamic, with projects being killed as soon as they were shown to be unlikely to deliver, rather than kept running in order to ensure funding for that Research Group. This meant that more projects of higher value were given the chance to be successful and revenues and profitability both increased.
  • The assumption of the Innovation Team was that the more projects they ran the better. This problem taught them that it is better to run fewer projects but resource them properly. One outcome of this was that the resource allocation process was changed. Projects are now prioritised, and the top priority projects are fully resourced until all resource is allocated. Any projects leftover go on a waitlist until the resource is freed up. This is more efficient and they have found that while they start fewer projects each year they actually complete more.
  • One side benefit was that the Research Leads realised that they did not have good enough documentation of the projects that were proposed and why they were accepted or rejected. After the portfolio review workshop, they corrected this and developed improvements that would enable data-driven, rather than emotionally driven, decisions.

Services Billy Manages

Services Billy Delivers

Service Icon Innovation Accelerator (Reveal More OR View Full Page)
Summary

A data-driven approach for diagnosing and capitalising upon systemic and tactical opportunities to uncover and nurture innovation across the enterprise.

Industry Experience

Chemicals

Manufacturing

Oil and Gas

regional Experience

Europe

North America

Asia