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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Four Ways to Innovate in Operations by Michael Hammer Via HBSWK

Innovation in operations—not to be confused with mere operational excellence or improvement—can yield competitive advantage Dr.Hammer known for his radical ideas and outstanding expression writes, "Operational innovation should not be confused with operational improvement or operational excellence. Those terms refer to achieving high performance via existing modes of operation: ensuring that work is done as it ought to be to reduce errors, costs, and delays but without fundamentally changing how that work gets accomplished. Operational innovation means coming up with entirely new ways of filling orders, developing products, providing customer service, or doing any other activity that an enterprise performs. [...]". Inventing a new way of operating that achieves the target need not be simply a matter of crossing your fingers and hoping for inspiration.Only a daunting target—clearly unattainable through existing modes of operation—will stimulate radical thinking and willingness to overturn tradition.Suggestions to accelarate operational innovation are, A.Look for role models outside your industry. B.Identify and defy a constraining assumption. C.Make the special case into the norm. D.Rethink critical dimensions of work. Powerful ideas that every organisation should ponder over..
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