Why Innovation? Why Now?
When we started Brulte & Company four years ago and positioned the brand as an Innovation Advisory & Consulting firm, innovation was not the buzzword that it is today.
Innovation was a term that was hardly used on main street. Instead, it was a term that was used inside of innovative startups and companies such as Apple, Google and Toyota.
Now the term is mentioned countless times on TV, Radio and in Newspapers and Magazines. The word Innovation has become ‘cool’. While Innovation may be the new hot buzzword and it’s trendy to be embracing it, it has a substantially greater meaning in reality.
To innovate means that you are taking something and making it better. It could be as simple as improving customer service or as complicated as implementing Lean Thinking into the GM/Toyota NUMMI Plant in Fremont, California. Toyota changed the way GM made cars at the NUMMI Plant by changing the culture of the organization and implementing the Toyota system of efficiency. The greatest lesson that Toyota taught GM was “No Problem means Problem”.
GM workers at the old NUMMI Plant plant had no sense of pride or ownership. They did not believe in the product that they were creating as they had no incentive to strive for perfection. Instead they were focused on collecting a paycheck and ensuring that they would have a stable job. Toyota changed all of this by taking into account the human capital element of innovation.
Toyota developed a learning organization where it was ok to say “I made a mistake” or say “I need help” without the threat of being reprimanded. This enabled the GM NUMMI workers to identify and fix problems while simultaneously creating a sense of pride.
Pride empowered the employees to strive for perfection and build quality automobiles from the start. It was Toyota’s Innovative Management and Lean Thinking approach to manufacturing which allowed this to happen.
We have found that organizations are genuinely interested in what it means to innovate.That being said, they are not sure what it truly means or where to start. Organizations can start by identify a product or service that can be improved either by implementing Lean Thinking or improving customer service.
As organizations start to embrace innovation and develop an innovative culture, they should encourage every employee to innovate and learn about all the aspects of their organization. If an employee wants to learn, allow them to ask questions and be curious about the business. This will only help improve loyalty to the organization and result in rapid adaptation of new innovations that will lead to increased growth.
It is the human capital element of innovation which is the foundation of Brulte & Company. Without customer service and a great understanding of diverse industries, we are not able to perform our job as consultants and strive for perfection. It’s our passion for customer service that allows us successfully perform our jobs and position our clients to embrace and implement innovation throughout their organizations.
Now that organizations are finally embracing innovation, what does the future hold for it?