Winning Innovation: A Novel by Norbert Majerus with George Taninecz

Not just the story of an R&D transformation, Winning Innovation illustrates a company-wide
transformation of a magnitude that only superior R&D can make possible. It may well be the
first book to chronologically introduce the principles for a complete innovation excellence
transformation along with the parallel people transformation that is necessary for real change to occur. The end result for Davanti Nella Gara is a dominant new culture based on respect and
humility; highly efficient processes that will deliver a wealth of innovations, sales, and profits for many years to come; and an owner who leaves a bright future for the people and company he’s known and loved his entire life.

The Story
Davanti Nella Gara, an Italian bicycle company, makes the best racing bikes in the world. But
after decades of market dominance, competitors have brought the industry leader back to the
peloton. The company’s second-generation owner longs for retirement, but a tired product lineup is pushing down profits and the firm’s market value will never support his ride into the sunset.

The flawed but beloved owner seeks out the counsel of an old friend and successful
businessman, who steers him toward a fast and remarkable transformation, one fueled by a
relentless focus on innovation excellence.

An engaging business novel, Winning Innovation dives into the art and science of innovation; the thrills of the European bike-racing circuit; the vibrant landscape and cuisine of Italy; and a cast of intriguing characters who work to put Davanti on the road to sustained prosperity. The company’s leader isn’t afraid to learn and apply new ideas to re-energize his company and finds he cares more about his employees than he could ever imagine. A young innovator struggles to see a product idea to fruition as well as rise into management — and he falls in love along the way. A newly promoted R&D director brings teamwork and transparency to product development and aligns the entire company around innovation.

With the help of a seasoned and persistent change agent, in just a year Davanti deploys a well-defined and sequenced transformation — a complete and seamless process that can be replicated and scaled by most companies. The leader engages associates in pursuit of the right vision and strategy, candidly supporting them all as they unleash their creative sparks, work through personality conflicts, and take on real-world challenges faced by companies every day.

They learn and apply traditional R&D principles in new ways (e.g., cost of delay, sprints, fail fast, late start) and successfully leverage emerging innovation and change-management principles (e.g. idea-creation events, knowledge management, workplace humility, visual management, lean project management). And an aligned, three-phase innovation process — from idea creation to technology development and product design — provides the innovation infrastructure the company needs for revenue creation and success beyond racing bikes.

From a top-heavy organization dominated by power struggles and fingerpointing emerges a new
Davanti Nella Gara — a flattened, innovative company with:

  • Clear vision and endorsed goals and strategy
  • Speed, responsiveness, and agility
  • Widespread, successful creativity
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Superior risk management
  • Respect for people
  • Unquestionable ethics
  • Changed leadership and associate behaviors
  • Project management excellence
  • Rapid problem-solving and experimentation

Winning Innovation
Available from Amazon

About the Author

Norbert Majerus
Owner and Founder – Norbert Majerus Consulting Ltd.

Lean Champion, Speaker, Consultant, Coach, Book Author and Shingo Prize Winner

Beginning in 2005, Norbert implemented a principles-based lean product development process at the three Global Innovation Centers of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. For more than a decade he was Goodyear’s lean champion in research and development.

Norbert, born and raised in Luxembourg, has a Master’s degree in Chemistry from the Universitaet des Saarlandes, Saarbruecken, Germany. He joined Goodyear in Luxembourg in 1978, transferred to Akron in 1983, and has worked most disciplines in the Goodyear innovation centers in Luxembourg and Akron.

In 2016, Norbert published his first book, Lean-Driven Innovation (Norbert Majerus, CRC Press, 2016), which received the Shingo Research Award. Also in 2016, with Norbert’s guidance the Goodyear R&D organization applied for and received the AME Excellence Award. Norbert is a popular keynote speaker and has conducted workshops in the United States and many other countries. Since retiring from Goodyear in 2018, he continues to share his extensive lean expertise via Norbert Majerus Consulting.