I have started thinking about innovation differently lately. For years I have focused on flashing lights, shiny metal and glowing screens. But now I think much wider than that.
When we look at constraints in our businesses sometimes we start at the belts and braces end of the spectrum instead of looking at the simple things. We recently started a project in our factory to look at some efficiencies in the finishing stages. While we were requesting proposals and drawings from experts, our production team moved a table and a product handling line around a little bit and realised significant gains. One way to put us in our place! Sometimes the little things are more important than the big.
I recently met with an industry peer who had made a significant investment in an R&D project around a completely transformational overhaul of their production system. The project as a whole did not land as hoped and no revolutionary result was forthcoming. However, as part of the process they found a few little nuggets and learnings inside the project and have rolled these out in isolation and across the top of their existing process. The gains achieved were absolutely staggering! Sometimes out of ashes great things grow!
Whether your innovation is moving the photocopier over a metre so it is closer to where the paper is stored, or investing a million dollars in a new palletising solution, it is all innovation!