Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Worzel, part 5

Innovation is key to the future. But most organizations aren't very good at it, says Richard Worzel. In fact, they don't even like it.

Three reasons why:
* You have to take risks.
* You have to do things you're not good at.
* You have to be willing to fail.

"The heart and sould of innovation is the ability to make correctible mistakes."

The problem is, too many North American companies wait till a new product is perfect. "When the rollout of your product doesn't work the way you want it to, you have to be willing to change it."

You need an attitude of continuous improvement. "Kaizen" turned Toyota into the world's largest car maker. "Look for small improvements," says Worzel. Wal-Mart saved $21 million in one year after demanding that detergent mannufacturers produce more concentrated product, reducing packaging size and weight, and ultimately reducing Walmart's shipping costs.

"Don't wait for the big honking improvement, because it may not come." Small improvements may be bigger than you think they are.


Stefanie Hartman said...

Great post. Couldn't agree with Worzel more, the key to success is the willingness to fail.

Jon E Worren said...

I agree with Worzel's three reasons of why organizations fail at innovation. What is missing from the list is the willingness to learn from the mistakes you have to commit in the process of innovating. Unless you encourage the process of seeking and rewarding new insights, the risk is that you will continue to do the same mistakes.

Whether you should only focus on making small improvements all the time and not seek radical innovation is a tricky question. In principle, I believe you must balance the two; you can't expect big breakthroughs unless you have a culture which is continuously seeking improvements. That said, it is clear to me that the US auto industry now need to pursue big opportunities because they lost the game of small improvements.......

In Canada, my worry is that we are not creating a climate that allows for public sector innovation, much for the same reasons mentioned by Worzel. See my blog post at www.marsdd.com: http://tinyurl.com/klug4f

Rick said...

Thanks for the comments.
How do we get people to improve the way they learn from mistakes, rather than just try to move on and forget all about them?