Entries by Richard Walton

The Portfolio Effect – Odds of Success (Part 3)

Here are a few more thoughts to add to our discussion of the portfolio effect and risk. I grew up admiring the concept of the “Lone Wolf” inventor. The Wright Brothers, Edison, Tesla, Bell. Parts of what we all have heard are myth, and some is reality. Several of these “individual inventors” created what looked […]

Fail Fast: It Should Be Part Of Your Strategy

At Micrex, we are big believers in the concept of “Fail Fast”. We have always talked about it with our customers – and what we have learned is that there are different interpretations of what “fail fast” means. From an engineering perspective, fail fast is about system safety and optimization. A system that is designed […]


I am going to argue that as a group, product development professionals have a bias toward excessive secrecy. By nature, PD requires some degree of secrecy. It is obviously a poor idea to disclose all the details of your company’s strategy. Inventors by instinct keep their best ideas under wraps. After all, you are only […]

Just One More Feature – Please!

Very often, when we are in the final stages of wrapping up a new product, we become so close to the task that we miss the big picture. The temptation to add one more feature or improvement is almost irresistible. This can also have huge negative consequences. During World War II my father served in […]


When Napoleon was asked what kind of general he preferred, he said, “Just give me a lucky general”. While I am not a big believer in luck per se, this blog makes many references to luck. It is understood that invention is all about the unexpected occurrence. Having the insight to recognize these events and […]