Though the innovative branch of Management Science is a relatively new discipline developed during the course of last fifty years (Banker & Kaufman, 2004), the innovative managers existed long before the last half of the twentieth century. Summing up the gist of innovation management, Henry Ford (Ford & Crowther, 2005, chap. 4, para. 1) wrote
‘What I am trying to emphasize is that the ordinary way of doing business is not the best way. I am coming to the point of my entire departure from the ordinary methods. From this point dates the extraordinary success of the company.’
If I were asked to pick the most innovative business manager, I would pick Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company. Henry Ford would be my first choice for the several reasons, because he was responsible for a number of innovations that benefited his business greatly, but I prefer to concentrate on his creation of the universal car.
He also was the upper manager and the inventor, as well as left an autobiography My Life and Work (Ford & Crowther, 2005), which makes it easier to trace the innovations he applied.
The production of the universal car model included three stages of the successful management: the identification of traits the car should possess, the implementing of assembling line to make an optimum use of time and workforce and constant monitoring and improvement in different areas of production, including machines, processes and staffing.
As Ford clarifies in My Life and Work, the universal car he named Model T had to have 7 attributes. They include strong material, simplicity in operation, sufficient power, absolute reliability, easiness to control and the lightest both weight of the motor and that of the whole car (Ford & Crowther, 2005). This is the first stage of innovation, which involves the careful and detailed planning. The goal Ford (Ford & Crowther, 2005, chap. 4, para. 11) set was to create a mass production car, the vision he adopted was
‘From the day the first motor car appeared on the streets it had to me appeared to be a necessity. It was this knowledge and assurance that led me to build to the one end — a car that would meet the wants of the multitudes.’
The 7 attributes can be considered to be objectives as well as a strategic guideline, to which resources and other production factors should have been allotted and utilized.
The next stage of implementing was to buy the land to build a larger factory resulted in slight raise on selling car models already in production. In a larger factory building the experiments were made to try different materials. The constant trials that cut the time needed to put the parts together were also made.