Innovation Basics: 4 reasons for improving processes and how to start

By Michael Watkins

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Changing the world, one idea at a time has to start somewhere. Even the organizations that regularly bring about revolutionary change had a first step to take on their journey. In the Innovation Basics series, we focus exclusively on what that first step could look like for newcomers to the innovation world. Follow this guidance to achieve faster, better innovation.

Innovation is often viewed as an unattainable goal for many businesses. However, it is actually very rare that innovation delivers ground-breaking, industry-shifting upgrades. More common are slight improvements to every day processes that bring an organization closer to achieving its goals.

Add up the gains of these seemingly small improvements over time, and an organization is able to take huge leaps forward. It’s for this reason that process improvement is often a starting point for many businesses that are looking to build innovation capability. Why start from scratch when you can improve what you already know?

Reasons why businesses improve processes:

It’s unsurprising that process improvement Challenges rank among the most common that Wazoku has supported organizations in running across our more than 20 years in the innovation space. Over that time, we’ve recognized some key reasons why these companies are choosing to improve these processes, and they are:

  • Competitive advantage: a business that optimizes its processes is more readily able to meet shifting expectations from customers or suppliers. This agility allows these organizations to maximize the advantage they hold over competitors.
  • Time to market: cutting out the hurdles to new products or services development is a really effective way of getting these new offerings to market quicker, stealing a march on competitors.
  • Waste reduction: increasing the efficiency of an organization means reducing the waste that is produced through daily processes. In a world that has an increasing focus on sustainability, this is key for most businesses.
  • Cost efficiency: every company wants to do more with less. Ensuring that your business processes are improved regularly ensures that these tighter budgets don’t mean opportunities are missed out on.

 

How to achieve this:

As we’ve mentioned above, some organizations are already improving processes on a regular basis. Below are some ways in which these businesses have found success:

  • Ways of working Challenges: these Challenges center employees within an organization and ask for their inputs on how current operations can be optimized. The result of these Challenges should hopefully create a more efficient, satisfied operation.
  • Waste and repetition Challenges: these take an organization-level view and attempt to identify waste and repetition throughout the business. As digital transformation becomes more integrated, these Challenges are proving increasingly effective in identifying problem areas.

 

In this blog, we’ve explained that innovation is not about the big ideas that transform industries overnight. We’ve illustrated how, most of the time, it’s about making incremental changes to existing processes. After that, we showed some key reasons why businesses have chosen to improve processes and how some successful businesses have achieved this.

 

Read the next blog in the Innovation Basics series: 5 key reasons for innovating with your suppliers

 

Want to know more?

To find out how you can repeatedly improve processes across your business, check out our Guide today

By Michael Watkins

Michael is Wazoku's Product and Brand Marketing lead. Away from the office, he's our resident film buff, so if you want some recommendations for a night in front of Netflix or a trip to your local cinema, get in touch with him!