What We Can Learn From NASA

Any good entrepreneur is always taking ideas from other industries and trying them in their own company.

Here’s one from NASA I just found out about.

It’s called Integrated Concurrent Engineering, or ICE.

ICE turns the traditional model of working on projects upside down.

Here’s how it works:

Usually when a company has a big project they work on it bit by bit.

A small group of leaders conceives the idea, then one by one, different people or groups are called in to work on their section of the project.

That seems logical, but it’s slow.

You have to wait for different groups to finish their bit before the next group can start on theirs.

ICE is radically different.

Everyone gets together at the start, and works on it concurrently.

When everyone is in the same room, mistakes are realised much earlier in the process.

Waiting time is enormously reduced.

Teamwork is profoundly enhanced, because groups are forced to work with each other.

Projects get completed earlier.

How much earlier?

Well a Disney executive I had lunch with this week told me that switching to the ICE method has tripled Disney’s project completion speed.

Think about that.

Just by switching to this method of working they finish jobs in a third of the time.

ICE won’t work for every company, but it might just be worth trying in yours.

Get the whole team in earlier. Include everyone from the start. Make them interact with different departments. Let each department see the others work, at every stage. Force everyone to make decisions right there in the room.

In short, massively and concurrently collaborate.

If ICE can help NASA send spacecraft to Mars, it might also make help your company reach the stars.