Entrepreneurial Innovation: Processes

As mentioned yesterday, process innovation is typically accompanied by sighs and the frustrated words, “there has got to be a better way.” This typically means that there is some missing link in the process. Your mission, should you choose to accept it (trust me you should, it will make your business infinitely more functional, profitable, and efficient; and  it will make you a far less angry person) is…find the better way.

Well, that sounds easy right? All right.

Ready!

Go!

Just kidding. Of course Drucker provides some helpful tools to innovate on a process. First, you must innovate on the right type of process, one that includes the following five criteria:

  1. The process is self-contained (i.e. it does not affect another process upstream or downstream in the operation).
  2. “One ‘weak’ or ‘missing’ link exists. Don’t tackle the problem with multiple failures right off the bat. Solve one issue at a time.
  3. The objective is clearly defined. You want to be sure that you are innovating to solve the correct problem.
  4. The solution can be defined clearly and specifically. You must have specific instructions in order to implement something like this effectively.
  5. Group support and buy-in is prevalent. You can’t be the only one that sees the hole in the process. In order to have effective implementation, other people have to be in your corner.

After you’ve identified a winning (or losing, whichever way you’d like to put it) process, Drucker suggests that you ask three questions prior to jumping into the pool:

  1. “Do we understand what is needed?”
  2. “Is the knowledge available or can it be procured” easily?
  3. “Does the solution fit, or does it violate the mores and values of the intended users?
Then, and only then, are you ready to innovate a process and fill in the hole or missing link.
Was that more helpful? Ok.
*Quotes are taken from Drucker’s 1985 book, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, published by Harper.
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