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The Art of the (im)Possible podcast - EPISODE 3

The Challenge of Innovation

Steve Jobs famously said innovation is something that distinguishes between a leader and a follower. But we can’t ignore the risks associated with being transformative

A good idea, executed at the right time, in the right place, has the power to create markets, unlock potential, generate opportunities. Innovation seems to be something we’re all chasing. But being innovative doesn’t come without its risks. In this episode, we welcome Matthew Maclennan, mechanical design engineer at Steve Vick International, to talk about what defines an innovative idea, and, more importantly, how to turn it into a business model.


Listen to the podcast below

Matthew MacLennan, mechanical design engineer at Steve Vick International talks about what defines an innovative idea, and, more importantly, how to turn it into a business model.

We start the episode by discussing what innovation means. Is it a combination of lots of ideas or the invention of something new? It seems that, historically, some of the greatest inventions were nothing but a combination of different ideas – from the Wright brothers’ aircraft to Steve Jobs’ iPhone. In that sense, crowdsourcing and sharing ideas with others is key to innovation.  

Furthermore, we debate the concept of ‘real-time design’. Things are moving fast, and the onus is now on the design process. Companies in the design and manufacturing industry need to be able to rapidly prototype products at the idea stage rather than at the manufacturing stage. And engagement with customers is crucial to innovation at this point. 

We conclude the episode with a call to action for leaders in the design and manufacturing business to be open to innovation despite its risks, making sure to be able to fail in a cost-effective way. Innovation can be scary. It has the power to tear open unexpected spaces in an organization. Iteration tends to feel safer than change. But missing on change is a luxury businesses don’t have. And if businesses are not prepared to nurture and foster that, they might be left behind. 



Matthew MacLennan 

Matthew spent the formative years of his life taking things apart. It seems the productive part of his life has been spent putting things together. Matthew has a keen interest in systems and the way that things connect and link together. Be that a group of people or software, hardware, data, or intelligence. 

Putting things together has led him to develop innovative solutions to fairly ordinary problems. If there is an opportunity to make something better while fixing it, Matthew tends to focus on that, rather than solving the original problem; so he is not much use as a mechanic anymore.