Process Patterns for Innovation – Enabling Innovation through a repeatable approach

Innovation is ingrained in all aspects of business and needs to be promoted, prompted and nurtured as a culture and a conscious activity. Most enterprises are facing the question of how do we bring a discipline around innovation and facilitate the process so that it does not remain as a branding or R&D activity.

As we scan the different industry segments, there are processes that cut across lead-to-order, order -to-cash, and trouble-to-resolve areas in all organizations. Each of these broader areas consists of many individual processes. In each of these processes, there is an opportunity to identify gaps or improvement areas around which innovation can be triggered. What are the innovation drivers? Launch of new products, improving the speed to market, optimizing costs, improving user experience and creating new markets are some of the drivers. Every step in an existing process that touches one of these should be tagged for promoting innovation.

Hence the basic focus needs to be around how we are capturing innovation at all levels of employees. Innovation at the operational level can be triggered by providing options / avenues to each process worker or role player to contribute new ideas. Innovation from sales side or supply side or distribution side can be captured by providing adequate means to contribute new ideas from each source. How do we infuse innovation culture into all aspects of our business?  But as we capture innovative ideas, the process needs to be established to capture, collaborate and execute on these ideas. Maturity of innovation can be measured by how an organization has built its processes and systems to remove the element of uncertainty around innovation. This is where the process of innovation needs to be established so that it complements every single process that we are designing or automating.

Innovation is a very broad term and many companies are looking at this word as a branding statement. Translating this broader vision and statement into tangible business value is a struggle many companies are facing. If we can provide our clients with a repeatable framework comprising of business consulting and leveraging their assets across DATA, CONTENT and PROCESSES, we will be able to bring this vision to practice.

Some thoughts around where BPM plays in the Innovation space:

  1. New product development processes, which are usually much unstructured, collaborative and run for a lengthy duration, are ripe candidates for automation. Successful companies such as 3M are led by innovation.
  2. There are many opportunities around customer driven innovation which companies are not leveraging today. How can we leverage social media for customer driven innovation and the larger value that resides in the client base?
  3. How do we differentiate between innovation outcomes and the process of innovation? Our solutions can focus on facilitating innovation within and outside an organization through approach, automation and measuring the outcomes. Can we help clients to measure their “Innovation Maturity Index” and provide a way to continually improve? How can we bring the suppliers, customers and employees into the innovation value chain?
  4. Innovation does not happen by itself. For some companies it is a way of life. For some it is branding driven approach. For others it is driven by their need for survival and fight against the competition. Businessweek ‘s coverage on “Most Innovative Companies” provides some interesting information. We all can take a leaf from these innovation led companies and assess what can we offer that suits our capabilities and our target audience.

The drivers of innovation can be external or internal. But one thing is common for both – the organization’s ability to incorporate it as part of its culture and DNA.  What does your experience say?

2 Comments

  • Ashish Deshmukh December 22, 2010

    Hi Vinay,

    Appreciate your views on touching this most important but grossly neglected thread in the organizational value chain.

    I agree with you on automation leading to visibility on gaps and improvement areas and thus providing organizations with an ability to capture areas of innovation.

    Innovation in today’s context has become more relevant due to the fierce competition for the customers wallet, cost optimization as mandatory ritual and lack of significant differentiation.

    Like your closing comment on organizational DNA and culture as that’s going to be the deciding factor between treating Innovation as a branding or survival strategy.

    Remember the immortal sentence from the movie Apollo 13 by the Mission Control leader Gene Kranz: “Failure is not an option.”

    Ashish Deshmukh
    Director – Business Development
    Newgen Software Inc.
    1364, Beverly Road
    Mclean – VA – 20121
    Cell: 703-439-0703

  • Vinaykumar Mummigatti December 23, 2010

    Hi Ashish,

    Thanks for your feedback. I think we will see more initiatives in this area as new roles around Innovation are getting created. I can understand from a organizations perspective that it is a paradigm shift to take an abstract area like innovation and build it into a repeatable approach through BPM. Very few organizations have been able to do it but their journeys began 3-4 years ago. hence this is a wake up call for any organization to take control of their innovation capabilities and ingrain them into their key business processes or develop new processes to foster innovation.

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