FIRE: How Fast, Inexpensive, Restrained, and Elegant Methods Ignite Innovation

FIRE: How Fast, Inexpensive, Restrained, and Elegant Methods Ignite Innovation

by Dan Ward
     
 

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Noted military technology expert Dan Ward's manifesto for creating great products and projects using the methods of rapid innovation.

Why do some programs deliver their product under cost, while others bust their budget? Why do some deliver ahead of schedule, while others experience endless delays? Which products work better—the quick and thrifty or

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Overview

Noted military technology expert Dan Ward's manifesto for creating great products and projects using the methods of rapid innovation.

Why do some programs deliver their product under cost, while others bust their budget? Why do some deliver ahead of schedule, while others experience endless delays? Which products work better—the quick and thrifty or the slow and expensive? Which situation leads to superior equipment?

With nearly two decades as an engineering officer in the U. S. Air Force, Dan Ward explored these questions during tours of duty at military research laboratories, the Air Force Institute of Technology, an intelligence agency, the Pentagon and Afghanistan. The pattern he noticed revealed that the most successful project leaders in both the public and private sectors delivered top-shelf products with a skeleton crew, a shoestring budget, and a cannonball schedule. Excessive investment of time, money, or complexity actually reduced innovation. He concluded the secret to innovation is to be fast, inexpensive, simple, and small.

FIRE presents an entertaining and practical framework for pursuing rapid, frugal innovation. A story-filled blend of pop culture and engineering insight, FIRE has something for everyone: strategic concepts leaders can use as they cast a vision, actionable principles for managers as they make business decisions, and practical tools for workers as they design, build, assess and test new products.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/20/2014
Lt. Col. Ward, an engineering officer in the U.S. air force and blogger, spins a full-length book out of an overly simple concept. His first process was “FIST” (Fast, Inexpensive, Simple, Tiny), created to develop military gear. “FIRE” (Fast, Inexpensive, Restrained, Elegant) was developed for civilian use. According to Ward, the most successful leaders from both the military and civilian worlds do best with the least: small teams, a tiny budget, and hell-bent-for-leather deadlines. Spending less time and money is the best way to ensure greatness and innovation, he suggests. Efficiency for its own sake is not the goal; instead, readers should design the best and most creative products possible. Ward offers examples from engineering, the military, and NASA, among others, to model necessary speed, handling, and risk assessment, avoiding unnecessary oversight and meetings, and creating better, simpler presentations and information dissemination. His suggestions on letting users be beta testers, allowing for a quick and short-cycle development process, and avoiding unnecessary features are solid, but ultimately Ward falls on the wrong side of the line between high-concept strategy and vague storytelling. Despite an admirable proposition and some lively writing, there’s not enough here to prop up an entire book. 7 b&w illus. Agent: Sandy Dijkstra, the Sandy Dijkstra Literary Agency. (May)
Success Magazine
“F.I.R.E. will appeal to project managers, space enthusiasts, military and tech buff s, and anyone who’s ever hired a plumber or general contractor.”
-Daniel H. Pink
“This is no ordinary book about product development. Sure, it draws on the wisdom of great philosophers like John Cleese, Inigo Montoya, and Tom & Jerry. But it also makes a compelling case that none of us can design anything without revealing our values. ”
-Bernard Jenkin MP (Harwich and North Essex) Chairman
“Dan’s refreshing philosophy promotes more effective defense acquisition and offers lessons for commercial products as well. His book helps to liberate good judgment…”
-Scott Anthony
“Ward blends a maestro’s range of intriguing stories with intensely practical guidance. Don’t let the references to Mr. Bean, Quantum Leap, and Firefly fool you. FIRE is a deep and powerful contribution to the innovation literature.”
-Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld
“Dan Ward’s FIRE is a minor miracle: a fast, fun, _funny_ read on running procurement and technical processes. It is packed with insight, cutting through common wisdom to deliver rules of thumb that should be a must read for any project manager.”
- MajGen Arnold Punaro
“For decades we have paid more and more for defense technology and gotten less and less in return. Dan Ward’s FIRE approach establishes common sense principles with great promise-if we will only apply them.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062301918
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/29/2014
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
1,054,246
File size:
390 KB

Meet the Author

Dan Ward is the author of F.I.R.E.: How Fast, Inexpensive, Restrained, and Elegant Methods Ignite Innovation. He holds three engineering degrees and served in the U.S. Air Force for over two decades researching, developing, testing, and fielding military equipment.

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