Wednesday, October 14, 2015

There’s Gotta Be a Better Way…

"There’s gotta be a better way!"

How often have you used that phrase at work ... or when doing some kind of household chore?

There's gotta be a better way is the phrase at the heart of most innovation. Innovation creates value for you as a customer through solutions that meet a new need or an old need in new ways.

Recently while on the road for a speaking tour, I stayed with my mom and dad for a few days between gigs. The night before I was to leave, I decided to launder a few items and so asked my mom if she had anything to add to my small loads. She said to me, “Oh, you can just throw all your clothes in together.” I looked at her as if she had lost her senses.

After all, she turned 80 this year. And, this is the woman who taught me to religiously sort clothes … lights, darks, whites, gentle … you know the drill.

And now she was telling me to, “Just throw them all in together?” And then, from the cabinet she grabbed a Shout® Color Catcher® sheet. This handy product absorbs and traps loose dyes in the wash water, protecting your clothes against color bleeds. No more sorting!

Some people think that innovation is all about coming up with new products, like a sheet that catches color in the washing machine. Yes, new products are important and fun, but not the entire picture. Innovation can be also be a process that helps your company run at razor-thin margins, sell a lot of stuff, and control costs, such as Wal-Mart’s “just-in-time” inventory.
Innovation most frequently is about figuring out how to add value right where you are.
To succeed, everyone in your organization needs to see innovation not as something special that only special people can do, but as something that is routine and utilizes the capabilities of every employee.

Here’s an activity you can use for your next corporate retreat, staff development, or team meeting, from my What Were You Thinking Playbook.

Innovation is Everybody’s Business - "There's Gotta Be a Better Way!"

The person doing the job is in the best position to know how it can be done better, faster, different, or maybe even eliminated. All levels of employees can learn how to spot problem areas and suggest improvements. Ask your employees or team members to:
  1. Write down a few of their major tasks that must be completed either daily or weekly.
  2. Pick just one of those tasks to focus on and answer the following questions.
  • If I were doing this task for the first time, would I do it the way I do it now?
  • If I had to, could I do the task twice as fast?
  • What could be a completely different way of doing this task?
  • Do I really need to do this task? What would happen if I skipped it?
No system is perfect; there is always room for improvement or new approaches to old problems. Look for ways to make improvements and follow through with a plan of action.

Think differently and put innovation at the heart of your organization, so that you can improve the bottom-line numbers and discover a better way of doing things!

More articles on thinking differently and strategic design:

About the Author: 
Monica Cornetti
Founder and CEO, Sententia
A gamification speaker and designer, Monica Cornetti is rated as a #1 Gamification Guru in the World by UK-Based Leaderboarded. She is the author of the book Totally Awesome Training Activity Guide: Put Gamification to Work for You, writes The Gamification Report blog, and hosts the weekly Gamification Talk Radio program.

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