Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Innovation Trend 7 - Organizations will recognize the impact of generational differences in the creation of innovations

Part of creating a culture which supports innovation is to understand the generational differences so apparent in our organizations today. At no time in our history have we seen so many different generations working alongside each other. It affects our culture, our work environment, our work relationships and consequently, the innovation process. Why? Because each generation has different approaches to working individually vs. collaboratively, how they generate ideas and so on. Not to suggest that there is only one way or preferred way; rather, to be aware of how to use an understanding of these generational differences to build the innovation culture.

The development of a culture of innovation in our organizations now considers not only the existing organizational culture but the generational differences as well. Recognizing these factors will ensure organizations create the right environment that fits into the uniqueness of their organization.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Innovation Trend 6 - Organizations will create clear processes for innovation

Innovation doesn’t just happen. It must be everyone’s responsibility. There has to be no constraints. There are so many models of great organizations that reached this level and continue to evolve. Think of W.L. Gore, Google, Honda, and Apple to name a few.
Many of the world’s most successful innovators, from Thomas Edison to choreographer Twyla Tharp, concede that innovation cannot be forced, but it can be developed. That is, we can enhance our capacity to generate ideas, innovations, and adopt what Tharp calls the “creative habit.” Developing the understanding and practice of these creative habits is the foundation for a contemporary process that fosters innovation in the workplace.

Organizations are beginning to recognize the innovation is a collaborative process where people from various disciplines within the organizations come together to generate innovations and to take these from vision to reality. The innovation process will be taught and incorporated into everything that everyone does. Many organizations will begin to set aside time for their staff to innovation. Google and Microsoft do this. It is part of their culture. It is expected that everyone spends time not only on their job, but that they devote time to innovate.

The process that organizations will be implementing ensure that everyone knows how to work in a diverse team, accept conflicts as mere differences of opinion, understand how to capture innovations, generate alternatives, research possibilities and create the actions needed to bring them these to reality. It doesn’t just happen. It is a process.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Innovation Trend 5 - Organizations will re-shape their values and principles to ensure they support a culture of innovation

Many organizations have clearly articulated values and principles. They sit on posters and on employee’s desks. But these organizations don’t really know whether or not these are the “right” values and principles. Nor are they certain whether or not their leaders and staff act and behave in a manner which embodies these values and principles.

As organizations re-shape their cultures to support innovation they will also re-examine their values and principles to ensure these are the “right” values and principles that correctly reflect the ‘new” culture. They will take these off the walls. They add to each value and principles clear behavioural descriptions. These will identify the actions and disciplines everyone will demonstrate to show their on-going understanding and embodiment of these values and principles. Then everyone will know whether or not their communications, reactions, actions, etc. are in keeping with or contrary to the values and principles.

Organizations in the future will alter their hiring practices to ensure that they hire the type of staff who can live these values and principles because they align with their own principles. Through these efforts they will know their values and principles are contributing to the fostering of a culture of innovation.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Innovation Trend 4 - Organizations will focus on longer-term strategies required to support a culture of innovation

Organizations often struggle with the on-going trade-off debate between growth and earnings, short and long-term goals, etc. They spend too much time discussing how to cut costs in order to meet monthly revenue targets and too little time talking about the longer-term opportunities and how the short-term decisions are likely to impact these.

Organizations that are focused on the strategy of innovation are starting to realize that their growth will be better met if they focus on the longer term objectives of innovation and customer focus.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Innovation Trend 3 - Organizations will create the culture for consistent innovations to reduce the ad hoc approach to innovations

Organizations will engage everyone at all levels in the process of identifying their definition of a culture of innovation, what makes it an innovation culture, what is needed to create it and what risks must be understood and managed in order to create the engine to drive innovations. One of the initiatives organizations are beginning to undertake is to create teams to delve deeply into these questions. They are recognizing that this is not merely a management imperative, rather, it is a cultural change that requires the on-going input at all levels within their organization.

Organizations that begin re-shaping their cultures around innovation will become focused on both theirs and their customer’s needs and opportunities. They will achieve and maintain profitable operations. These organizations will be constantly looking for ways to reinvent themselves and constantly introducing new varieties and generations of products and services. They will constantly be working on the environment which encourages the development of innovations.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Innovation Trend 2 - Organizations will create a Strategic Innovation Plan to ensure Innovation becomes a strategic imperative

If you get the environment right, a culture of innovation will easily fall into place and the business side of your operations will be that much easier. Many organizations spend time on strategic planning and business planning but rarely spend time on building their culture, the development of values and principles and the type of reporting relationships that will support the new culture.

Organizations will now start to create strategic plans that include Innovation as one of their key strategic imperatives. This is the requirement to get the innovation engine started. They will develop the actions required to successfully implement the strategic imperative and they will gain organization support through their communications of this important initiative.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Innovation Trend 1 - Organizations will define what Innovation means in their environment

Most individuals have read about innovation, heard about innovation and maybe even tried to be innovative. But few understand what exactly innovation is. Organizations are beginning to recognize that Innovation is not the result of a lone genius; rather it is a collaborative process where people from many different parts of the organization contribute to the creation and implementation of new ideas.

The first trend for organizations is that they will define what Innovation means in their own environment. Is it about products or services or processes or customers or all of these things? Once they are clear on what is Innovation they will be ready to implement the second trend, building the strategy for innovation.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Quality Trend 8 - Quality Departments will undertake Strategic Quality Planning

Quality departments and quality professionals will demonstrate how, through their quality initiatives (i.e.; Lean, Six Sigma, Kaizen, ISO registration, etc.) they are positively impacting the organization’s bottom-line. By being forced to become more accountable for results they will spend more time ensuring that they are doing the right quality initiatives at the right time and that each one is clearly linked to one of the key strategic imperatives developed by the management team.

Every quality initiative can, and must be tied to key business process performance indicators in order to have any real impact on productivity and the bottom-line. Undertaking Strategic Quality Planning will ensure quality departments are able to identify what they should be doing, how they should be doing it, why they are doing it and the relationships of these endeavours to the organization’s strategic plans. When quality strategies are clearly outlined and measured, quality departments will be able to ensure overall performance improvement gains.

Read the full article at http://www.bia.ca/articles/FutureTrendsinQualityManagementl.html

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Quality Trend 7 - Quality Standards will move beyond the realm of work processes into job functions

Quality standards have commonly been written for all work processes. They have emerged as a key element to identify the success of a project in that they are written for all project management processes, tools and templates. Now quality standards are being written for all job role functions so that everyone knows not only what is expected of them, but exactly what quality standards they must adhere to. These quality standards will be used in their performance reviews to identify whether or not their performance adhered to the agreed-upon quality standards for work performance.

Read the full article at http://www.bia.ca/articles/FutureTrendsinQualityManagementl.html

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Quality Trend 6 - Organizations will focus more on where to spend their supplier quality management resources

Organizations can no longer sustain the cost of problems identified through their supplier evaluations. In order to reduce the risk of unsecure supply chain organizations will focus more effort and money on creating strict quality standards that all of their suppliers will be required to meet. These standards go beyond the traditional ISO certifications in that they will be very specific to the requirements of the organization engaging the supplier. Although this will take more effort in the beginning, the long-term impact will be reduced risk for the organization that might otherwise be realized by poor supplier quality standards. These quality standards will be regularly audited to ensure compliance.

Read the full article at http://www.bia.ca/articles/FutureTrendsinQualityManagementl.html

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Quality Trend 5 - Lean Management will become more important to organizations seeking continuous improvement than Six Sigma

Six Sigma has been the dominant force for organizations seeking improvement in the management of their key business processes. Most have already reaped the benefits of Six Sigma. Continuous improvement of key business processes will be more easily realized through the principles of Lean.

Organizations will identify that the time and cost required to continue to support Six Sigma will be more than the value produced. Lean is less expensive, easier to implement and delivers immediate, measurable improvement.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Quality Trend 4 - Organizations will undertake Change Management initiatives focused on ensuring consistency in the management of all work processes

Organizations are undertaking the changes required to transition themselves from ad hoc and inconsistent work practices to one where knowledge is incorporated into everyone’s job. This helps to ensure that the knowledge of one resource working on their quality measurable work is easily transferred to other employees or new employees expected to take-over or continue work within this role. Organizations will see increased customer satisfaction rates as a result.

Successful quality management systems do have a direct bottom-line impact on an organization but will require that the organization undertake a significant cultural change because quality management systems have a profound effect on the structures, systems and resources. These cannot be changed only in the short term. To have a lasting effect, employees need to be prepared for the changes that will be necessary and understand the benefits of the change.

The process for creating the cultural change is easy but one must recognize that it is journey. It is exciting but you must stay focussed throughout. Like all journeys, it takes time. There really is no end. If quality management is built into the corporate culture than everyone in the organization will not only know what it is they have to do but how that work will be measured and how that knowledge can be transferred.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Aligning Your Mission with Customer Value

There is so much choice today for the consumer. Whether it’s buying a new car, new clothes, new appliances, new mattresses, new shoes, food, etc. How do we decide where to shop? For retailers and other organizations, we must capture and retain customers. The loss of just one customer can have a dramatic impact on future sales. Why? Because unhappy customers relate their story of bad customer service over and over again to everyone who will listen. As well, through social networking, they spread the word rapidly.

Where to start
The creation of a powerful and meaningful mission statement [http://www.bia.ca/vision.htm] is important to all organizations. Here is a great example from Sleep Country:
“To earn customers trust and exceed their expectations when they purchase a new sleep system. We care as much about the service you receive as the bed you purchase.”

This particular mission continues to say: “If you have any questions or comments regarding either your product or our service, please don't hesitate to contact us.”

Mission statements help to attract customers. These are often used in marketing campaigns and posted where every customer can see the promise of service delivery. However, like Pandora’s Box, any level of service that is contrary to this promise is often met with the wrath of an unhappy customer. The consequences can be severe in the loss of reputation, lost sales and lost future customers.

How to quickly lose a customer
The best way to understand this is through a story.

We purchased a mattress from Sleep Country 10 months ago. The customer service representative was knowledge and very helpful. It was an easy decision to buy from her. The promise of a warranty and other on-going service put us at ease. Not that we’ve ever had a problem with a mattress before but it is always reassuring to hear the words.

After 6 months or so we noticed that the mattress was starting to sag. After another couple of months we found that the sagging was continuing to get worse and was affecting the quality of our sleep. We are neither tall nor heavy so this was a surprise. We’d been given a promise of service so we immediately contacted them.

An inspector arrived at our doorstep. He measured the sag and declared that it was only 1-¼ inches deep. While the inspector admitted that it was probably uncomfortable to sleep on, after measuring it, he told us that it did not qualify for a return to the manufacturer because it needed to be 1-½ inches. Sleep Country would not replace the mattress until the sagging got worse. As well, he advised that we do not qualify for another home inspection for at least 3 months.

So we contacted Christine Magee. After considerable research we realized that she is now only a marketing celebrity and the “voice” for the organization. However, our attempts to contact her successfully brought a response from Sleep Country Canada’s Customer Service Manager. The Customer Service Manager sent me an email that was quite extraordinary. It included statements such as:

“A call in to the customer service department may have assisted in trouble shooting the issue. (Our email had already informed her that we did this to no avail so it is a mystery why she would even mention this) Based on the information you have provided, it seems that the issue was a non warrantable concern, and may fall into the category of a body impression. (We had never heard of body impressions on mattresses before.) I would like to ensure you that Sleep Country Canada is dedicated to providing exceptional customer service by processing warranty claims that would normally be handled by the manufacturer at the customer’s expense.” (We have never had to go directly to a manufacturer for any product under warranty and pay for a claim. We’re still wondering who she might be referring to?)

She invited us to contact her directly. Our phone call gave her the opportunity of talking about how most customers are happy and that there is nothing wrong with their mattresses. The idea of a faulty mattress to her was unimaginable. We brought up the fact that we have purchased many mattresses over the years (although none through Sleep Country) and never had any sagging occur, not even after 10 years of ownership. This was of little importance to her. She continued, throughout the conversation, to insist we must be at fault, not the mattress. She repeated how they have so many happy customers and there was really nothing that she is willing to do, except set up another inspection appointment at least one month later.

Clearly, this experience did not reflect the organization’s stated mission statement: “To earn customers trust and exceed their expectations when they purchase a new sleep system. We care as much about the service you receive as the bed you purchase.”

How to ensure your customers continue to come back
Go back to your mission statement. Does your service delivery [http://www.bia.ca/courses-leadership/service-quality-for-managers.htm] promise align with the delivery of service to your customers? Do you find yourself trying to defend your products? If so, why do you believe you have to defend your products? If they are of the level of quality that you promise in your mission, this shouldn’t be necessary. When managing customer expectations are you aware of the consequences of an unhappy customer?

Mission statements are powerful. They are positive statements about what you stand for, what your organization believes in and what the customer means to you.

Sleep Country did everything within their power to lose our trust and not meet (let alone exceed) our expectations. They clearly demonstrated that they neither care about service delivery nor the bed their customers sleep in. So why do they bother with a mission statement of service promises?

Establish a clear and meaningful mission. Market it to your customers. But, most importantly, do what you say you will do – to ensure your customer’s satisfaction is your most important act. The outcome will be beneficial for the continued sustainability of your organization and its bottom-line.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Quality Trend 3 - Six Sigma initiatives will be successful when they are managed as a Project

A great challenge in Six Sigma initiatives is that although they follow a clear process and quality standards they may fail because they are not well managed as a project. This has led to problems for Six Sigma initiatives becoming over time, over budget and not meeting their customer expectations. Individuals apply the Six Sigma methodology but fail in their execution. Success on Six Sigma will continue for those organizations that apply a project management approach to how Six Sigma initiatives are structured, managed and processed.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Quality Trend 2 - There will be a trend towards Profound Knowledge.

Ultimately, organizations led by people who are guided by the System of Profound Knowledge are likely to be much more efficient and successful than organizations which continue with the prevailing style of management. Profound Knowledge systems integrate increasing knowledge as part of the system. To this end, no longer is quality management relegated to production and no longer is project management only an IT initiative. Quality and project management are infused into everyone position within every department within every organization. This is equally true for both public sector and private sector organizations. We are seeing training and development initiatives as well as consulting assignments focusing on how to develop quality measures to all work, projects and learning. This includes details on how to transfer this knowledge to others so that it stays resident in the organization when staff leaves. This is becoming critical as more and more long-term staff retires.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quallity Trend 1 - Quality Management is not dead – it continues to evolve

Quality Management never really died. It evolved. Rather than being relegated as a position title or a department, it has been infused into the way everyone works in every single position within their organizations. Quality is about products and services. It is about people and processes.

Quality management has become a critical element contributing to the successful development of innovations. It is now integrated into project management. Successful projects have clear quality processes, tools and templates. Quality management is well, alive and living in organizations today and in the future.