CAD Manager's Newsletter (#324)

24 Jun, 2014 By: Robert Green

Practice Incremental Innovation

Try this three-step process and map out a workable innovation plan that you can implement now.

I've been thinking and reading a lot about innovation, and recently something struck me: Innovation has become the buzzword du jour in the software industry, much like paradigm shift and collaboration were in the past. Innovation is now bandied about so much that the word is starting to lose its meaning.

Yet as CAD managers, it is our job to implement new work processes, technology, and tools to achieve ever better results for our companies — and isn't that what innovation is truly about? In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I argue that a purposeful program of incremental innovation is one of the best things you can do for your company — and your career. Here goes.

Radical vs. Incremental Innovation

When we hear about innovation, the implication is that big changes brought on by radical new tools or technologies are at hand. This "radical innovation" concept gets all the attention, yet if you think about it, there's no way a CAD manager can make a radical change to company processes. That type of change — such as ditching 2D CAD in favor of building information modeling (BIM) — inevitably entails the following:

  • Big costs. Radical changes in tools cost a lot of money, and therefore require extensive upper management research and support.
  • Extensive workflow changes. Radical changes in tools also cause changes in workflows that necessitate training and staff adaptation.
  • Surprise disruptions. Radical changes in workflows always spawn problems that were unforeseen, but nonetheless must be fixed. These problems can delay project execution and drive up costs. Often the magnitude of the delays and costs can't be known until the change is well under way.

The conclusion is obvious to me: No CAD manager can drive radical innovation on his or her own. Radical innovation requires total support and big investment from senior management staff!

There is a more modest process, however, that CAD managers can execute on their own. It's called incremental innovation, and it allows for smaller changes to workflows that keep risk and costs under control. Let's investigate. Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

Innovation Terms and Metrics

In my article "Practice Incremental Innovation" (above), I discussed the difference between radical and incremental innovation, and what that difference means to CAD managers' ability to implement change in the workplace. For another take on that concept, I recommend an interesting blog post by Vadim Kotelnikov, founder of the Ten3 Business e-Coaching training and Disruptive Innovation authority. Read more »

Do you have a question or tip for the CAD Manager's Newsletter? Send it to me at If I use your tip in the newsletter you'll receive a cool Cadalyst prize!


:: Resources

Contex Americas Launches Wide-Format Scanning Blog
Contex, a provider of wide-format scanning and imaging solutions, has launched a new blog that discusses topics ranging from the latest developments in scanning technologies to user case studies. illustrates how wide-format scanning solves real-world challenges and provides tips for maximizing a scanner's productivity.

Dassault Systèmes Provides Free Trial of Content Authoring Software
Dassault Systèmes is offering a free, 30-day trial of its 3DVIA Composer content authoring software. The software allows users to repurpose existing 3D design data to create and update product deliverables, including documentation, technical illustrations, animations, and interactive 3D experiences.

:: Events

PLM Road Map 2014
October 2, 2014
The Inn at St. John's
Plymouth, Michigan
This twenty-first annual event will bring together product lifecycle management (PLM) industry experts from CIMdata, key industry players, and front-line implementation experts. Read more »

October 7–9, 2014
Berlin, Germany
INTERGEO is billed as the world's leading trade fair for geodesy, geoinformation, and land management. Read more »

Dallas BIMForum
October 9–10, 2014
Dallas, Texas
The theme of this BIMForum conference will be Optimizing Construction with BIM (building information modeling). Read more »

Revit Technology Conference Europe
October 30–November 1, 2014
Dublin, Ireland
This event is dedicated to the use of Autodesk Revit and other relevant software in the architecture, engineering, and construction industries. Read more »

Bentley's Year in Infrastructure 2014 Conference
November 4–6, 2014
London, United Kingdom
This conference will feature presentations and interactive sessions exploring the intersection of technology and business drivers and how they are shaping the future. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to

:: What's New at

Document 3D AutoCAD Models with Smart, Connected 2D Views
Did you know that you can create intelligent 2D drawing views in AutoCAD that automatically update when you change your 3D model? Lynn Allen shows you how easy it is to create 2D documentation from your 3D models. Watch the video »

Editor's Window: Transparency and Trust
All content can have value, whether independent or sponsored, but it must be produced with integrity. Read more »

Select the Appropriate GPU for Your CAD Workflow — and Your Budget, Part 1
The time you invest in choosing the right graphics processing unit will pay off in increased productivity. Read more »

HP Aims to Make Wide-Format Printing Cheaper, More Colorful
The company seeks to overtake LED printers with its inkjet-based PageWide technology, which will be available on a large scale in 2015. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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