It's Not About Being Big, but Being Fast with Innovative Ideas

Innovations and R&D | Co-creation | Published 30. Aug. 16

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Innovation is a key to survival and 60% of today’s European companies will not live to see its 10th year anniversary according to reLean, a company on a journey to help clients and the world achieve true Lean excellence. So, what's true innovation and how to do it fast?


True innovation isn’t just about coming up with big ideas, but about coming up with new ideas quickly. But where to start in churning ideas out? What are the factors in ensuring regular and fast production of innovative ideas? Here are four innovation drivers:

  1. Talent – It’s important for companies to find and develop talent that will drive success forward into the future.
  2. A Culture of Innovation – Companies should also create a culture where working towards a bigger and challenging vision encourages teams to innovate and leaders to be inspirational.
  3. Relationships – Relationships make the world go round, so it’s imperative for companies to enable their people to make things happen through building and developing relationships internally and externally. At Toyota, they teach cooperation in value streams where all the OEMs, suppliers, sub-suppliers, and partners are expected to deliver an outcome for a joint customer.
  4. Leadership – Companies can manage innovation by keeping the right leaders and ensuring stringent management and maintenance of the innovation and direction processes.

Firefighting Doesn’t Work

Change always encounters resistance and a lot of companies keep driving change programs short-term, basically re-solving the same problem over and over leading to a state of constant fire-fighting. The question is why aren’t they looking at long-term change, breaking the mold, where people are trained to seek change rather than avoid it, and innovation is embedded in the processes? With a long-term approach, the goal is to make change a part of the norm and no longer a deviation, and so ushers in a culture of innovation. Sure, companies can continue to “fire fight” or they can instead change the game and enjoy the benefits of a smooth and seamless on boarding process.

Adapting the New-Entrant Mindset

As start-ups continue to produce industry disrupting innovations, large organizations are side-lined to observe and pay a high price to later buy these innovations. So, what do start-ups and entrants have that big companies don’t in driving innovation? Here are three critical elements:

  1. An Appealing Value-Based Purpose and Direction. For most successful start-ups, the ambition is to change, disrupt, or solve a clear problem, which the entire team is passionate about. Large organizations have lost this sense of purpose and need to find it again. Reducing cost every year is just not as appealing and does not drive innovation..
  2. Focus on the Individual. Large organizations have lost focus on the individual. New entrants, on the other hand, are all about getting the most out of an individual’s interests, values, and passions.
  3. Native digitization. Start-ups are usually native in digitization giving them a huge advantage over slow, manual and administratively heavy companies. A 35-60% process effectiveness improvement opportunity sits, in both innovation process and operations at large, from adopting digitization with even higher potential considering disruptive opportunities in automation of service and products.

Defining and re-energizing the innovation process is heavily connected with the talent development process and the capability building process, fueled by setting and heading towards an inspirational direction for the future. The companies doing this will see growth, the ones that don’t will continue to firefight for survival.

reLean will be attending our IndustryForum Machinery event in Sweden on the 25th of April 2017 as a solution provider. For more on our upcoming events, visit the Event Calendar »

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