The route to real innovation: developing efficiency through learning
Innovation has become a business buzzword that often drives dramatic change and upheaval. It is a word that pushes teams into rapid activity to develop elaborate ideas that form the basis of new business strategies.
Innovation is an exciting word and not one that wants to be burdened with language such as efficiency, effectiveness and resourcefulness. But these concepts are central to effective change and they are not always achieved through the most dramatic approach.
Innovation can be achieved through many minor routes, giving weight to the difference small changes in behaviour can make to the workplace. An example of clever and resourceful innovation can be seen when companies learn from others.
Rather than associating innovation with uniqueness and creating something entirely new, consider the minor adjustment of an existing methodology rather than starting from scratch.
Innovation should be about repackaging work and doing it better. As an approach to this, look at what your neighbours are doing, either within or outside your sector.
The retail sector may appear immaterial to the public sector, but the ultimate goal of the public sector is to engage with its end user, in a similar way to the way in which retail engages with its customers.
The sectors therefore cross paths, enabling the discovery and acquisition of useful innovations that may ultimately help the public sector to deliver better projects. The key is to take the time to look at what is directly relevant, although not always directly related.
Another innovation technique is to look at refreshing your current service and activities. Where can improvements be made on something you’ve done before? This may be something as small as a tweak in design or delivery format but these small changes will add up and gradually have the capacity to transform a company, its values and its services.
Implementing small change over time will also create less risk. Larger innovation brings larger risk and may not always guarantee as much success and longevity.
Bringing innovation to the public sector begins with recollecting the principle role of the public sector and striving to achieve that as simply, efficiently and as effectively as possible.
Not every innovation needs to be unique. Today innovation can be achieved by finding common purposes with neighbours, learning from them, and delivering your own version of best practice.
Rob Ewen, director, UK regions, Mace
COLUMN SPONSORED AND SUPPLIED BY MACE