According to a prominent study by McKinsey & Company, approximately 80% of executives think their current business models are at risk of future disruption, and 84% believe that innovation is important to their growth strategy. This and similar studies suggest that the expression ‘innovate or die’ is more relevant today than ever before.
However, in their haste to discover the next breakthrough idea, many enterprise companies are quick to forget that innovation isn’t just about remaining on the cutting edge. It’s just as important to harness innovation to improve workflow processes, identify waste, and create a culture where disruptive new ideas can thrive. In short, innovation should also support continuous improvement.
In order to adapt quickly to disruptive change, or transform a business to tap into new markets, companies must have the means at their disposal to rapidly assess where and how innovation can be implemented most effectively. According to Michael Werder, Managing Director for Accenture’s Technology Advisory Practice for Financial Services, “in agile transformation, all aspects of an enterprise should be aligned under a strategic imperative to discover, evaluate, build, operate, and analyze results in a process of continuous improvement.”
There are a variety of methods by which enterprise companies can foster this continuous improvement process. These include following LEAN methodologies to identify process protocols and products which can be improved, implementing Kaizen principles by duplicating best practices which can be re-implemented company-wide, and increasing transparency to improve communication and collaboration between departments.
Amplifying Continuous Improvement with Innovation Management Software
Using idea and innovation management software – such as that offered by Qmarkets – can prove invaluable for simplifying the complex continuous improvement process at all levels of an enterprise. For example, the Qmarkets platform offers a variety of crowdsourcing capabilities for gathering customer experiences and using them to inform where innovation efforts can be productively concentrated. The platform also allows internal crowdsourcing initiatives to be launched to promote process improvement, as well as reveal areas where costs can be cut and waste reduced.
In addition to revealing areas where improvements can occur, idea management software can be leveraged to develop a culture where innovative initiatives and performance excellence can be sustained. Qmarkets software contains a broad array of features that enable users to collaborate on new initiatives, as well as comment and ‘vote’ on ideas submitted by their peers. This helps break down departmental silos and foster a culture in which the input of employees is valued – thus incentivizing the generation of ideas for workflow improvements, as well as market-disrupting products and services.
Maintaining a productive continuous improvement process means listening and responding to the needs of employees and customers as efficiently as possible. As we have seen, utilizing idea management software to crowdsource ideas and foster a company-spanning innovation culture presents a great way to achieve this. It is a powerful weapon for keeping the forces of disruption at bay.