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Brad Power recently wrote:
Continuous innovation – delivering a steady stream of big changes – is hard for organizations to do and very rare...If you want to move beyond having an especially unique CEO as your solution to continuous innovation, what would a system for creating repeated waves of breakthroughs and disruptive growth look like?
Here is a Q&A with Brad on continuous innovation. And as Brad asks, How do you see processes enabling or disabling continuous innovation?
Bogdan Nafornita Accepted Answer
How you do old things in a new way and how you do new things is innovation. So, process management equals innovation anytime. Much more so in the context of consistently achieving breakthroughs.

I know it's cool and romantic to believe that innovation is all about crazy scientists having epiphanies when getting hit by falling apples, but I think the real driving force behind continuous innovation is a disciplined approach to getting fresh insights and concepts.

In today's world, the greatest thinkers have a method to their madness. Think Ideo, think Apple, think Stephen Hawking, think Elon Musk etc
Managing Founder, profluo.com
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Jason Hatch Accepted Answer
It has been my experience that people drive innovation. If they are complacent with what a process is doing for their business that process will never change. If people are entrepreneurial, they will be constantly analyzing, looking for bottle necks and then innovating processes to eliminate roadblocks. Management does not need to drive all innovation. Leaders can accomplish more when they delegate and rely upon the masses to help identify weak processes to innovate and work with them to generate solutions.
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Patrick Lujan Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
Continuous process improvement is driven by the metrics coming off the system. Rarely is it "apple from the tree," but is - with persistence - more iterative and incremental, coming in a slow, steady stream as those metrics are evaluated and the process definitions refined.

However, and it is true that without the people you've got bupkus, but a good percentage of the time true innovation comes from those in the trenches who see, know the business process and offer up better ways of doing things based upon their observations and experience. Combine this and the analytics and you have good insight into, and the ability to effect, what opportunities for innovation and improvement do exist.
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Mike Reale Accepted Answer
It is not that BPM drives innovation it is the interrogation of the process along with metrics that drives change that drives innovation in the process. There always has to be a protagonist who always asks WHY. Why does it have to be that way.
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Scott Francis Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
People often forget that there are improvements to process all over. When Apple rolls out a new phone - a big part of the roll-out is new manufacturing processes that enable the designs they've created. including how they manufacture iPhone and Mac cases. Sometimes these roll-outs go badly and assembly costs go up, sometimes they go smoothly and profits roll in :)

Point is, process and innovation are connected at the hip - process isn't typically the "eureka" part of the innovation, it is often the "but now that i have this brilliant innovation to implement, how the heck do I do it?" part.
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Jim Sinur Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
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Brad Power Accepted Answer
We need to share two basic concepts for a discussion of continuous innovation:

1. All change is not Innovation. The framework we (FCB Partners) are using makes a distinction between daily operations, incremental improvement (within the departmental and functional management system), sustaining innovation (cross-boundary change in the same business model), and disruptive innovation (new business model). Most process innovation is sustaining. Disruptive innovation is increasing, and the hardest to realize or respond to.

2. Creativity is the front end of innovation, and relies heavily on creative people, but the end-to-end innovation process requires execution, which is a process. It's 10% inspiration (people) and 90% perspiration (process).

I agree with the comments above: The cutting edge of a better innovation process is Agile, scrum, and the Lean Startup methods migrating from application in software development to application in process innovation and business transformation. Agile software development (e.g., at Google) is the role model for the innovation (product development) process.

The deeper question I'm exploring is: How can an organization make innovation continuous = generate a steady stream of sustaining and disruptive breakthroughs? Since we're process experts, what are the management processes that must be in place for a discipline of innovation? I see 3: resource allocation, product development, and partnering. What do you see?
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E Scott Menter Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
As Scott's response suggests, process isn't generally the catalyst of innovation, but rather the object. What interests me is how we can innovate to produce better processes, rather than how can process enable innovation.
http://www.bplogix.com/images/icon-x-medium.png Scott
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Agree with Jim and confirm that properly architected BPM (as a trio of methodology, tools and practices) facilitates business innovations by several factors:
- Considering enterprise as a system of processes simplifies making agile changes at any scale (as it is easy to run many versions of the same process).
- The use of a process-centric business execution platform liberates business people for addressing their business challenges (instead of preparing detailed specs for the IT).
- Availability of process patterns stops re-inventing the wheel in process modelling.
- The undesired complexity is decreasing because of explicit and executable processes.
- Digitalisation of the business is enabled as well.
- Information security is hardened.

RE “what are the management processes that must be in place for a discipline of innovation?” - for example
0. Make models and historic data available for experimenting
1. Model the change (i.e. new processes or new version of existing processes or in combination)
2. Simulate the change impacts, e.g. to evaluate the efforts vs gains
3. Schedule the change (as several changed can be executed in parallel)
4. Validate the estimation from the step 2

RE “how we can innovate to produce better processes” – for example:
- Use of process patterns
- Consider processes of your customers and adapt to those processes
- Enrich processes by risk management
- Predict the performance of each process instance, e.g. compliance with its SLA

Thanks,
AS
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David Chassels Accepted Answer
Agree with Jason it about people but then it is about the culture that top management want to adopt. At the simplest level rewarding honest risk taking and not punishing if it fails. But the big advantage will emerge as a culture of empowering people is “implemented”. This is where good adaptive BPM Software delivering the required real time feedback will empower people to think of better ways to work; indeed as Jim puts it “infuse” innovation.

Good “processes” are the assets but only if they remain flexible. People and their processes need to be freed from old style command and control management and prescriptive “IT” and innovation will follow.
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Max J. Pucher Accepted Answer
Blog Writer
What is really wrong here is that too often manufacturing is used as an example and proof for the need of process management. While manufacturing does require well defined processes and a high yield - meaning the least amount of defects - that cannot be simply translated to other areas of doing business. To do so is to be blind to reality. People to people interaction is not manufacturing. Business is purposeful collaboration of people. Process does not improve purposeful collaboration. It turns intelligent people into fools with tools. Over time all that is left is the fools and they have no idea how to innovate.

Innovation is performed by people recognizing that things can be done better, simpler, or faster. In 99% of the cases that will be the people who perform or interact because they care about what they do. There is no process that can be setup that ensures that people innovate. A process doesn't innovate, a Process Center of Excellence produces more bureauracy and metrics coming off a rigid process tell you ZILCH about what to change to innovate. Who knows if the metrics are relevant for the process. Measure to manage is absolute nonsense. You need to be involved to manage. Numbers are so distant from reality that you can't manage by them. Get out of that fancy corner office and sit down with your people while they do what they do. Talk to customers. Understand hands-on what it takes to achieve goals, deliver handovers, meet targets and ensure outcomes

Continuous innovation is a people management issue and process management is the biggest obstacle in actually doing it.
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Jose Camacho Accepted Answer
I agree with several of the exhibits above, but liked to systematize the question asked by Peter as follows:

1 ) Encouraging innovation should be introduced strategically, otherwise, we can have collaborators to invent things that have nothing to do with the positioning and identity of the organization;
2 ) The four known Marketing strategic variables (A-Price value, B-Performance value, C-Relational value and D-Diffusion value) can produce new results only through a process of continuous innovation, because markets are always changing, independently of choose of predominant strategic variable.
3 ) However, while the variable B- Performance value is fully oriented to the creation of new products/services by new processes, with disruptive impact compared to traditionally produced, the other three variables are more oriented to performance improvements in the production of products / traditional services.

Anyway, any real innovation that meets the actual needs of the people, whether with a more scientific or more commercial nature, requires increasingly demanding and rigorous processes, otherwise, the results can never be tested and validated before being applied.
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Sharmistha Roy Accepted Answer
Continuous process improvement is in fact all about driving innovation. If the way work gets done is getting more and more efficient, then that certainly equals Innovation.
Sharmistha Roy
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