Dr. Deming (founder of Sigma Six) said that ‘innovation and productivity are the only means to growing wealth in a first world country.’ He went on to enhance on what Tom Peters (In Search of Excellence) emphasized as a focus on people rather than things, defining eight ‘control’ elements that limit our performance. This is the age of empowerment, simplification through automation, and effective action focused on improving performance drivers.
The concept of innovation is often misconstrued as only being product related. This is a misnomer. Innovation applies to all business aspects. Many paradigms of old need to be challenged, whether the role of HR and using the ‘best’ model for staff acquisition, or ensuring that systems are designed for operational simplicity and customer optimization.
There are essentially 3 strategic areas where these two mantras (innovation and productivity) should be deployed. These are:
- Internal operations, specifically developing a productive collaborative culture, effective functional systems that suit the workplace, and building superior quality.
- Building SCA (Sustainable competitive advantage). There are 3 roots of SCA: Superior skills (coordination, teamwork and culture), superior resources (patents, channels, loyalty) and superior position (product, segments, protection). Combined, this is known as core competence, which, done well, becomes difficult to emulate.
- Growth through increased value added, differentiation to customers, and effective capital investments.
The need for an integrated business strategy (Why a facilitator?)
There are common pitfalls in the decision-making process and a lack of understanding of a clear integrated business strategy based on proven principles and process. These are core to the success of any business, sadly lacking with operational mindsets in strategic positions. (Dunning-Kruger effect) The use of a skilled strategic facilitator offering an effective process should minimize these risks. This is where innovation starts.