It’s obvious that big ideas are extremely important to companies of all sizes, but one of the things we’re also telling our clients when it comes to innovation is that they shouldn’t always make the assumption that big ideas should be the only thing on their radar, when in fact we believe that ‘process excellence’ has the potential to create a similar, if not larger, return on investment than big ideas.
What is ‘process excellence’? Essentially, it’s about small incremental improvements your company can make in it’s processes that adds up to a large amount of savings. In 2012, the Europe Business Review posted an article stating that wasted time in meetings costs the UK economy £26 billion, and that’s just the value of time lost in meetings. Imagine the cost to companies in time wasted in unnecessary processes, miscommunication, and other blunders that happen within offices. Process excellence is about small ideas that make a big difference.
One of the best examples of process excellence that we found is in this video from Toyota and the Metro food charity:
This is a clear example of how small improvements, even just a change in the size of a box, can make a big difference on how business is conducted. Just three ideas introduced to this process created a large amount of savings, notably slashing the time it took to pack an individual box of food from 3 minutes to 11 seconds. That’s a clear example of how devoting some focus towards process excellence can generate a great amount of ROI.
What this example also proves is that process excellence and innovation are not just buzzwords for large corporations and big businesses. Process excellence can improve any company, no matter what size and industry and we believe that small and large companies can both benefit by the approach seriously and investing towards innovation in their own companies. That’s one of the reasons we encourage our clients to not just think of idea management or suggestion software as not just a method of finding that next big idea about a product or service that may revolutionise the company, but instead to also think of the space as a means of making incremental changes that could be just as revolutionary and brilliant as one huge idea.
If you’re thinking about taking idea management seriously or thinking about investing in innovation within your company, the best advice you can learn is that it’s not just about those big ideas. It’s about process excellence as well.
image credit: http://www.bline.ie
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Simon Hill is CEO and co-founder of Wazoku, an idea software company, an Associate Director with the Venture Capital Firm FindInvestGrow and an active member of the London technology and entrepreneurial community.