Kennametal exec on innovation governance and ‘fast fail’ testing

Colin_TilzeyColin Tilzey heads the Innovation Ventures Group at Kennametal, a $3 billion supplier of tooling, wear components, and advanced materials, based in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. The company makes everything from drill bits to snowplow blades to earth-cutting consumables. Tilzey reports to the company’s Chief Technology Officer, with dotted line reporting to the Chief Marketing Officer. Innovation at the company is “seen as half technology and half business,” Tilzey says, and he sits in on both tech and marketing meetings.

Tilzey’s team consists of 18 people, about half Kennametal veterans and half new to the company. He says improving products and technologies in current Kennametal markets “is where 75-to-80 percent of our resources go. About five percent goes to completely new markets, and 15-to-20 percent adjacent. Ideally, we want it to be a 70/20/10 model.”

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