Whether we are supporting the core technology of our Company’s Products or Implementing or Improving core Applications and Systems that support our Company’s Business Operations, Innovation is a critical aspect of every CIO & CTO’s responsibility.
This Blog Article will cover the following concepts in parts, as applied to Innovation:
Part 2 - focuses on the Approaches to Innovation.
There are two fundamental approaches to Innovation:
This is the easiest and most common approach, as you are taking an existing Product, Process, or Business Model and simply improving upon it, typically in small increments over time.
While Gillette is a Consumer Products company, they have done a lot of Product Marketing research over the years and know exactly when a particular model of Men’s Razors and more importantly the Blades will start to decline in Sales. So, they focus their Product Innovation work on improving the Razor and Razor Blades in regular increments, so that they can launch the new “Models” just as Sales start to decline in the older “Models”.
Because of this they strategically plan for the Obsolescence of a particular Model. They even go so far as knowing which geographical markets are still buying the older models, where the Sales curve is not declining. This allows them to maximize the profitability of both their older models and also their newer models.
Their Innovations are typically incremental enhancements, such as adding a tilting head, a ball joint to the head, or even an extra blade.
Apple didn’t invent the Graphical User Interface (GUI). They famously copied the GUI that Xerox Labs had built as a research project. What was truly Innovative was Steve Job’s ability to see how it could be used as the main GUI that end users worked with, and seeing the vision of how they would interact with it.
This is much more difficult, risky, time consuming, costly, and yet, can also be massively successful and profitable; or alternatively end in disaster.
As part of their Y2K Strategy, Hershey famously undertook a brand new implementation of SAP, Siebel, and Manugistics, to replace all of their older Supply Chain systems, which were not Y2K compatible. This supposedly was completed in August 1999, plenty of time before the Halloween Season. However…
This is a great example of an organization transforming their business Processes by creating a brand New Process and Implementing this Innovation within their entire organization.
The revolutionary Toyota Production System changed not only most major Manufacturers, but ultimately even the Software Industry. It involved a combination of Kanban Squares on the shop floor to control the flow of Work In Process goods in a Pull Model, as well as the concepts of Kaizen (Continuous Improvement), to greatly improve the productivity of the team, process flow, feedback loops, and quality of the finished product.
In the late 1990’s, these concepts were also applied to the Software Industry, which ultimately evolved into today’s modern Agile Software Development Methodologies, like Agile Scrum, Agile Kanban, etc.
In this Blog Article - Part 2 - we have discussed the:
Next in Part 3:
So, go forth and conquer… create the New, Improve upon the Existing, and foster a Culture of Innovation.
We hope you enjoyed this article,