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Where's Your Creativity

Where's Your Creativity

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Published by roger9523
Where's your creativity?
- it’s what differentiates the great from good The other day I came across two pieces of information that set me thinking. It is generally recognised that one of the key factors that differentiates the consistently successful companies from the less successful is their creativity - their good ideas - that they turn into successful new products and process innovations. During the workshops that I run we look at the results of the research carried out by Treacy & Wiersema
Where's your creativity?
- it’s what differentiates the great from good The other day I came across two pieces of information that set me thinking. It is generally recognised that one of the key factors that differentiates the consistently successful companies from the less successful is their creativity - their good ideas - that they turn into successful new products and process innovations. During the workshops that I run we look at the results of the research carried out by Treacy & Wiersema

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Published by: roger9523 on Mar 15, 2010
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03/15/2010

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 Where's your creativity?
- it’s what differentiates the great from good 
The other day I came across two pieces of information that set me thinking.It is generally recognised that one of the key factors that differentiates theconsistently successful companies from the less successful is their creativity- their good ideas - that they turn into successful new products and processinnovations.During the workshops that I run we look at the results of the researchcarried out by Treacy & Wiersema into the Discipline of Market Leaders* andtheir conclusions that to become a market leader (and, in terms of results,these are the companies that are the most successful) you need to be amarket leader in one of three disciplines and at least industry average in theother two.The disciplines are:Operational ExcellenceProduct and Process InnovationCustomer IntimacyI've now run 100’s of workshops for groups of SME CEOs, Corporate Boards,Senior Managers, Trustees of not-for-profit organisations and others - allover the world.I always ask delegates to share with us what they believe is the current"shape" of their business, in terms of the three disciplines, and what shapethey would want to target for the future.Consistently I find that of the three disciplines the one that is most oftenfound wanting is Product and Process Innovation.Indeed it is not unusual for CEOs to say to me:"There really is no innovation in our type of business"I have two comments to that, firstly that if that's the case then surely it's amassive opportunity to differentiate yourselves from the rest and secondly Isimply don't believe it!
 
A good friend of mine, who had previously worked in large corporates and asCEO of SMEs, has recently made a career change and joined one of thelargest international headhunters. He was telling me that he has beenblown away by the quality and creativity of their, IT based, informationsystems and business processes - an order of magnitude better than anythinghe had ever seen before. Clearly this organisation has decided that as partof their strategy one of their differentiators from the competition will bethrough Process Innovation.- and this, of course, is in a sector where it would be very easy to say:"There really is no innovation in our type of business"How many times have I had partners in “professional” firms like legalpractices, surveyors, architects or accounting firms say this to me when thereality is that they have significant opportunities to develop innovativesystems and processes that will not only make them more efficient andeffective but significantly differentiate them from the competition.Unfortunately the problem in this type of business – where generally theycharge on a time basis - so often is, I find, that everyone from the top to thebottom is driven solely by a paranoia with maximising their charged timerather than the leadership taking time out to “get in the helicopter” andplan creative, and effective, business strategies to generate sustainedprofitable growth.But it’s not just these businesses that find difficulty in successfullyinnovating – whether it’s ideas for new products or new processes.The question that every business needs to ask itself is what systems,structures or procedures they have in place to enable ideas to come out, beproperly considered and then effectively implemented. These ideas need torelate to every area of your business - not just the development of yourproducts and services - but also every aspect of your business and the way itfunctions. You must develop a climate where all employees are encouragedto challenge all the paradigms in the business - there must be no sacredcows - and their ideas for change properly considered.-and this is where the first item I read comes to mind:
“According to an article in Strategy + Business magazine, Toyota¹semployee suggestion scheme generates around 2,000,000 ideas every year of which
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wait for it
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around 85% are implemented”.
I find these figures simply staggering.Do you even come close?
 
Recent research based upon interviews with 765 CEOs and business leadersgives this breakdown of the most significant sources of innovative ideas:Employees 40%Business Partners 36%Customers 35%Consultants 22%Competitors 20%Associations etc 18%Internal R&D 15%Academia 12%
Source: IBM "The Global CEO Study 2006" 
You need to find a way to harvest all the ideas of every one of the membersof your company, partners, customers and others.This applies to EVERY company and organisation – NO EXCEPTIONS!Coming up with the ideas, however, is only the beginning.Whether these ideas relate to key technology or product development,revisions to existing practices or procedures or even more fundamentalideas, it is still a massive step to turn those ideas into an innovative andsuccessful new product or service or a successful revision to businessprocedures.The problem is, perhaps, that ideas come from right brain thinking whereasthe implementation of ideas is essentially left brain. Every successfulbusiness has to enable both.This is where the second item I read is relevant:
“A study by Booz Allen Hamilton has found that there is nocorrelation whatsoever between the amount spent on R&D and company success
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however you measure it.”
I'm not surprised by these results. I've seen too many companies who don'thandle product development and technology development in a structuredmanner. Us British, for example, were famous in the past for coming upwith new products developed from exciting technical innovations but notbased on proper consideration of the market's needs or aspirations.Concorde is a prime example.So having set up effective mechanisms that give the space, permission andencouragement to generate ideas you then need to have disciplines in placeto evaluate and implement the best of them.

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