Agile innovation Innovation barriers Change & innovation Productive economy Start up, entrepreneurs Agile innovation Change & innovation Innovation barriers Processes Processes Productive economy Start up, entrepreneurs

We want to innovate, but we don’t get results.

We are told: “we want to innovate, but it is difficult for us. We don’t get results.”

Why?  What’s going on?

Our resources are limited, we are a medium / small company, but with no doubt, each one is competent in their field.

Our goal is to launch new products on a regular basis, to replace some low margin and very competitive prices ones. But the results are not good.

We try to formally advance with several projects, but all are delayed, and the launching times are not fulfilled.

There are frequent problems in all areas, and this absorb attention and time, we have frequent problems and crises, quality problems, on time delivery, and there is certain customer dissatisfaction.

Therefore, we must often focus on day-to-day, face emergencies, change plans and production programs and this takes time for all teams, with continuous changes in dates, meetings, etc.

The margin is getting lower and returns are not adequate. And we are not leaving the circle…

This is a real case that we have found in several companies and organizations, with few differences.

Something must be done to break the dynamics and, at the same, time fuel the business. Innovation, or in this case, projects to launch new products, will probably fail without being on time.

Much has already been spent on integrated computer systems. And always the same results!

What if the problem is everywhere and not at the same time? What if the problem were of organizational maturity? What if each area, each department, each element of what we call “the business”, looks to its own result? That each one goes by his side? We know that every company, every organization constitutes a “system” that evolves and that is related to other external “systems”. Do we know how to drive a “system”? and know how to make it learn, to evolve? Experience shows us that a “system” cannot be cured from the outside, so that the ability to improve, to make a qualitative leap in the results must come from inside.

Organizational maturity. What to do?

We have named the “Organizational Maturity”; what does this mean? Well, in principle, you cannot ask an organization, especially if it is small or with limited resources, to focus on certain processes in the medium / long term, if it has not previously resolved how to function on a day-to-day basis in a structured manner and with habits that lead to constant results. That is, without structured and controlled operational processes.

In more general terms we could say that the organization can not undertake processes that are well above its current maturity stage, without first resolving the basics.

If the company is in Phase I, it will be difficult to undertake projects that correspond to phases II, III or IV. A change is needed.

We talk about processes and in these cases the organization is usually more oriented to functional areas or departments than to processes. It should be the opposite, and for that, to have defined the key processes, the operational and the support ones.

Innovation is a future-oriented process, but operational processes are part of the “day to day” and should usually work with positive indicators in more than 95%.

This previous scheme is completed with a greater detail of the operative processes and a scheme of how to proceed to unify them in a single global management process that is reviewed monthly, with its results.

We can call this: “harmonize innovation and operational processes”, that is, harmonize the results of future projects with day-to-day performance.

We will structure the processes horizontally and give responsibility to multifunctional teams.

Only one of these teams, a representative sample of the company, may have the capacity to mobilize internal intelligence, which exists and belongs to the same “system”, to the organization and which is superior to the sum of the individual intelligences. This team, properly trained, can present solutions from within. Maybe it will be necessary to start with the management team. In this case, with outside help, to achieve understanding, enthusiasm and managerial support.

How do we do it?

We build a structured and reliable management process that integrates the key processes. And incorporating the change and modifying the premises with the latest information on the environment and particularly those relating to customers, the market and the supply chain.

We consider as key processes:

  1. Innovation management. All projects and programs
  2. The management of clients. Sales forecasts and demand management.
  3. Operations management, supply and logistics.
  4. Support processes. HR, Finance, IT, etc.
  5. Knowledge management and intangibles

We defined the first as future oriented and the others as day-to-day activities.

All are revised with a sufficient forecast horizon to make decisions. That includes the latest information in each of the processes and helps to understand the implications of the changes and assess the impact on our resources. The foundation of the process is the use of a single set of reliable and shared data, a selection of relevant and accurate information and knowledge management. Other basis is, continually review of the premises with which we base ourselves to provide visibility and a single realistic plan, reviewed and valid in all functional areas.

The operative plan contains the latest information available, including all known changes in the marketplace and allows to act with decisions on time and not reactive. This allows connecting strategy with the day to day, make the right decisions and correct the deviations.

Innovation management contains all the projects and programs.

All of this is reviewed monthly in a structured manner as a management process.

And for what? With what results?

To break with the dynamics of chaos, urgencies and improvisation, the waste of resources and time of all. Finally, for better results!

To make a qualitative leap in performance, greater agility and a shorter total cycle. From detecting a need or change in the market to having the right response. For a lower financial requirement in internal operations, lower investment, in other words, a greater return on capital invested, adding the same value in less total cycle time. And the most important thing: eliminate tensions, psychological stress, situations in which the person is unable to respond well to the demands to which he is subjected.

Build the process. A visible and durable improvement in 100 days.

An internal team of the company, with people from different departments and levels, conveniently trained, can present solutions on how to shape the process.

The project proposed and carried out by the team itself will give visible and lasting results in a brief period. and each session will always contribute with positive elements of cohesion of multifunctional teams and the adhesion of all the participants in the agreed and projected solutions and improvements.

In most cases, above is usually considered applicable in a production environment, but in any case, they are also applicable and with high performance to the administrative circuits and therefore we are applying it to all sectors of the company.

Scheme of activities:

In five days, the internal multifunctional team, already prepared, will design his mission to build the specific operational process for the company, from the in-depth analysis of the main incidents and needs, and will define an improvement project, with objectives that normally are an important qualitative leap in performance.

  • First day: Constitution and mission of the team. Roles in the team and the management sponsor. Flow of current processes. Identification of the base process and subprocesses.
  • Second day: Administrative and information flows. Value and value maps. Identification and analysis of existing problems. Design the optimized or objective flow.
  • Third day: Presentation of results and optimized objective process to the sponsor, member of the management, or to the management. Construction and test of the operative solution. Conclusions
  • Intermediate between sessions, usually a week. Analysis and collection of comments.
  • Fourth day: Measures and indicators. Modelling and structure of the project to be carried out. Benefits and costs.
  • Fifth day: Project planning, action plans, expected costs and benefits, financial analysis, project return, risk identification and action plans.

The project is presented to managing team and resources and responsibilities are assigned.

This project is carried out in 3 months, (100 days), with the same team as managing and with the approved objectives, costs, measures and indicators.

Author

Francesc Guell is the owner of this site. He was CEO and director of international companies in specialty chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The last 12 years was associated with international consulting groups, providing advice and support to businesses on topics such as innovation and agile innovation processes, operational excellence, knowledge management, change management, strategy and integrated business management. Currently creates and presents courses and workshops on these topics. He graduated as a chemical engineer, postgraduate from ESADE Business School in Business Administration and Master in Knowledge Management. He participated in numerous programs, seminars and ESADE, IESE, EADA, APD and MCE (Management Centre Europe). He is author of articles, presentations and courses on innovation in strategic management, integrated business models, knowledge management, performance measurement, change management and excellence in business processes. See more in: Professional Profile