Are you in the right gear to effectively drive Lean innovation? If your innovation and product development strategies aren’t moving in the right direction, Lean techniques can help develop processes that integrate innovation and business growth strategies; ensuring production costs are kept low, whilst you remain competitive in today’s environment.
Today’s commercial environment is more complex than ever before, and businesses are under pressure to not only perform at peak, but also keep up with changing customer needs.
In such a complex and insecure environment, there is no more room for slow paced, rigid innovation and product development strategies. To really thrive, businesses need to use Lean principles to integrate innovation with growth strategies.
Here are 5 steps to Lean innovation:
1) Work out where your business is heading:
You can’t figure out where your business is heading if you don’t know where it is to begin with. Your first step therefore is to benchmark where your company is in terms of its sales and costs projections, and then work out what your future state should look like. There are four likely scenarios that your business will currently fall into:
2) Don’t silo your innovation strategy
Separating your manufacturing and innovation strategies into two individual processes can hinder the performance of your business. Instead, look at aligning the two strategies to run simultaneously. The benefits of this are:
- Reduced cost and reduced waste
- Increased opportunities for develop business growth
3) Understand the voice of your customers
Knowing what your customers want and expect from your business is vital for your innovation and manufacturing strategies. But this goes much deeper than just asking a few questions. Instead, focus on developing meaningful collaborations with not only your customers, but also academics, centres of excellence, government and other influences, to find out what they are all saying about your product or service offering, and the sector you are competing in.
You can then translate this information into useful knowledge to inform your decision making and influence the design of future services.
4) Create an agile, change focused enterprise
Change shouldn’t be boxed into any specific area of your business. Instead, a culture of change readiness should be actively implemented to prepare your whole business for new opportunities and ever-changing needs.
5) Build innovation into your processes
Product innovation (that appeals to the changing needs of customers) requires innovative manufacturing processes, and as such, innovation should be built into your processes for the benefit of your business performance. Combine this with investment in both people and capital, and you are much closer to achieving your desired future state.