Innovation: what's the problem?

19 November 2009
Arrogance, it seems, is one of the largest barriers to breakthroughs. If you or your department/organisation thinks it knows better than anyone else, it will be closed off to new ideas – ideas which could save or even make money. Writing in the latest issue of SM, (Features, 19 November) purchasers tell Richard Brass that’s one of the major challenges they must overcome (or help their organisations overcome) in order to seek improvement plans from suppliers. They must also improve relationships with internal customers; see changes and the involvement of others as an opportunity not a threat; and be creative in their approach, not purely process-driven. And it’s not just about the next big idea or invention. Innovation can be small and subtle – and it may already been out there, just waiting to be implemented. Alan Braithwaite, visiting professor of logistics and supply chain management at Cranfield School of Management and chairman of LCP Consulting, says: “Really big innovations in the supply chain come along now relatively infrequently.” E-business, supplier collaboration and total cost of ownership are no longer new ideas, “but they are still innovative for many companies in terms of applying them. Taking good practice and applying it more widely and with more rigour is the big step change that's still available to most businesses,” he adds. What do you do to innovate?
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