The Strategic Diamonds of Firms – Kaizen and Innovation

by Geovanny Romero

The Strategic Diamonds of Firms - Kaizen and InnovationNowadays firms can choose from several types of strategies, according to the vision of its managers and leaders, and according to the market in which the organization operates. However, in this article we distinguish two large Strategic Diamonds: Kaizen and Innovation.

Kaizen or Continuous Improvement, is a Japanese term well known and applied by many companies. This is part of Operational Excellence, whose main aim is focused in reduce operating costs, improve processes and working within a permanent culture of improvement. The fist Strategic Diamond we can understand with The Shingo Prize, a standard model for “create excellence in organizations through the application of universally accepted principles of operational excellence, alignment of management systems and the wise application of improvement techniques”.

The Shingo Model has two elements: the house and the Diamond. The house details the principles of operational excellence and the power of balancing efforts across all the dimensions, while the Diamond represents the transformation process for embedding the principles of operational excellence into the organizational culture.

Kaizen Diamond:

But, if the organization is looking for make “something different that has impact” ie Innovate (definition of Scott D. Anthony) the recommendation is to apply the second Strategic Diamond: Innovation Diamond. This was presented in the last edition of Winning at New Products book of Robert G Cooper (2011).

Innovation Diamond has four vector drive for successful innovation. Four vectors must be in place to undertake this different type of innovation to yield bolder and imaginative projects and products.

Innovation Diamond:

From our experience in several companies in Latin America we believe that both Strategic Diamonds are not fought and can work together in several parallel projects within an organization. The Kaizen Diamond for improve the efficiency and productivity of existing business units and the Innovation Diamond for make “something different that has impact”.

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How to Measure New Product Productivity in Your IndustryGeovanny Romero, NPDP, is a professional with great experience in manufacturing and innovation process with a variety of companies in Latam and Europe. His main interests are focused in Productivity, New Product Development and Lean Innovation Management. You can connect with him on Twitter @geovanny_romero