Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Innovation in a Vacuum?

In reaction to Jerry Flint's kind invitation to share opinions after reading,
"Dreaming of of a New Chrysler" at

I wrote and sent him the following email:

From John Acheson Wed Mar 14 19:16:18 2007
Received: from [] by via HTTP; Wed, 14 Mar 2007 19:16:18 PD
Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2007 19:16:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: John Acheson
Subject: Innovation in a Vacuum?

Dr. Flint,
Thank you for your invitation to share an opinion:

Your articles are always sharp and dead on in terms of criticism,
so I'd like to share my own opinion,
for any company in any shrinking business...

It's impossible to out innovate competitors when you're back peddling,
shrinking, down sizing, reorganizing, rolling 80,000 American jobs,
or other tactics the Big 3 are pursuing today...

The output of innovation is patents, from R&D expenses centers,
and writers often assume there can be more innovation with
less dollars going to expense centers... How can this be?

The most innovative vehicles in terms of patents
and sales growth cost a billion or more to develop.
For example, the Toyota Prius with over 2,000%
sales growth over the last decade,
was developed by 1,000 engineers making
good salaries and a plant running triple shifts.

How? Innovation in a Tornado not Vacuum,
the ability to be able to steer the ship right
through red waters halfway to the home run profits???

Back to geriatric Chrysler/Jeep building the same models for decades,
how many of those ideas are products you want to innovate from the ground up?

How many patents and engineers do you want to pay for?

How many expenses centers do you want to run in the red,
before your new idea becomes a concept or showroom hit?

Where is the billion dollars per idea
available for any shrinking company to
pay 1,000 engineers to develop 650 patents
before the car even arrives at the dealership?

And where is the time or 3-5 years of cash to burn into new ideas?

John Acheson, MBA



Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2007 15:17:15 -0400
Subject: Re: Innovation in a Vacuum?
From: Jerry Flint
To: John Acheson

leadership. If the leadership is there, the answers will come. Alas, where is lee iacocca now that we need him.



Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2007 20:43:40 -0700 (PDT)
From: John Acheson
Subject: Re: Innovation in a Vacuum?
To: Jerry Flint

Thanks for your reply! Who are tomorrow's leaders?

Generation X (born 1956 to 1980) has no leaders,
name one beside Gavin Newsom, we are loners
and don't trust anything or any organization having
lived through the reality of World War III...

NOPE, too independent to give to the man...

Generation Y and Z, outnumbering the boomers,
at 80 million are buying their first cars ever,
don't know what an Dodge Slant 6, Olds or Chevy is,
have never hand written a letter (Jack Welch secret),
never sent an email (and call them letters), send
4,000 text messages per month and have never
picked up a land line phone to make a call...

NOPE, to dependent on the group to make tough decisions,
and too much dirt avail on the internet to get shot down...

The great leaders are gone, you're right,
who are the Iacoccas, Fords, Hondas, Edisons,
Gates, Jobs, Welchs of tomorrow???

I can't think of a single 15-39 year old world leader,


FORBES EDITOR REQUEST TO POST "Innovation in a Vacuum"

Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2007 18:11:47 -0400
Subject: Your e-mail to Jerry Flint about Chrysler
From: "Paul Maidment"

We'd like to post your e-mail to Jerry Flint on as one of a
selection of Readers' Responses to his piece on Chrysler. Would you please
confirm by return of e-mail that we have your permission to publish it.


Paul Maidment
Editor, & Executive Editor, Forbes

Subscribe to Notes On The News with Paul Maidment via iTunes


Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 08:54:31 -0400
Subject: Re: Your e-mail to Jerry Flint about Chrysler
From: "Paul Maidment"
To: "John Acheson"


We'll add a link to your letter to Jerry at the bottom of the original column,, It should be there within 24 hours. We are adding batches of readers' letters daily.

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