• Micha Veen

How to transition your teams from a benchmarking to an operational innovation mindset…


In the 90’s and early 2000, many organisations were bringing in management consultants with a single request, “could you please benchmark our process, technology, organisational model and ways-of-working?” Following this initial request, these same consultants were asked to deliver solutions that allowed these organisations to meet these benchmark standards. Even though there are still organisations that are looking to benchmark and “compare” themselves with other similar organisations or their competitors, there is a growing realisation that “you” should look beyond benchmarking and review your “operational innovation potential”, instead of simply trying to compare yourself with the industry-leading organisations.

Many leading organisations, have therefore changed tact and transitioned from best practice (benchmark-related comparisons) towards aspiring to be best-in-class. Instead of comparing yourself with other organisations, the successful organisations have been looking to differentiate and excel themselves beyond their industry peers. With the current innovation focus to meet customer demands, industry expectations, etc. organisations have abandoned the traditional benchmarking mentality and started to adopt different type of innovation mentalities.

The main shift has been the focus on external innovation, new products and services, combining digital innovation with product innovation, etc. But the real successful innovative companies have gone one step further and also introduce operational innovation at the heart of their business to drive internal innovation which ultimately leads to more radical and impactful external innovation. So, how are you able to transform your teams to adopt operational innovation to allow them to exceed far beyond their potential?

Over the years, I been able to introduce 5 key requirements that teams should adopt to introduce sustainable operational innovation and deliver an innovation mindset.

  • Create small cross-functional innovative teams with clear objectives and goals (which are aimed to exceed your company goals),

  • Define metrics to introduce progress instead of perfection,

  • Use a variation of external innovation experts to trigger a varied selection of operational innovation ideas that allow transition to minimal viable solutions

  • Use small budgets to focus on quick, effective solution development without costly transformation programs

  • Introduced an agile-based innovation development approach with short delivery cycles to focus on delivering fast and effective

Only by introduction these 5 key innovation focus areas I have been able to guide organisations to transform from average organisations toward innovative organisations. So, if you’re looking to introduce operational innovation across your back-office environment, please transition your teams from a traditional benchmarking mindset into an innovation mindset.

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