There is always a way to innovate

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There is always a way to innovate yet there are many myths surrounding innovations and ideas for operations improvement in organisations. The 6th and last myth in our series of Myths vs Reality is: “An informal approach for getting ideas for improvement works best, with managers promoting big ideas, because small ones aren’t worth the time.” The reality is without a formal process for handling ideas, managers and employees face the challenge of figuring out how to deal with each idea that comes up. A simple and easy to use system for getting, recording, evaluating, supporting, tracking and giving recognition is most […]

Rewards based ideas vs sustainable ideas for improvement

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There are many myths surrounding innovations and ideas for operations improvement in organisations. One of those myths is: The best way in which to encourage ideas is to offer rewards based on the value of such ideas. The reality is that most companies that offer rewards for ideas get into big trouble. A system where a percentage of the value of an idea is given as a reward backfires in all sorts of ways, often with dishonesty and fraud involved. The most effective and sustainable ‘ideas for improvement’ systems offer no rewards for individual ideas. When a rewards-based system is discontinued due to […]

There are many myths surrounding innovations & ideas for operations improvement in organisations

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Operations improvement is a fundamental requirement, and requires continuous effort from any organisation that wishes to succeed in today’s environment of change and challenge. Yet, there are many myths surrounding innovations and ideas for operations improvement in organisations. The fourth myth in our series of Myths vs Reality is: “Creativity training results in more and better ideas from workers.” Reality is, most ideas are simple, common-sense solutions and responses to problems and opportunities that exist in the immediate workplace. Until a company can capture workers’ everyday ideas, creativity training to trigger more ideas can be a pointless and costly exercise. However, here is a warning – do […]

Do you think suggestion boxes are effective?

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Continuous improvement consists of initiatives and innovations to achieve best practices, but there are many myths surrounding operations improvement in organisations. The third myth in our series of Myths vs Reality is: “Suggestion boxes are effective for obtaining ideas for improvement” The reality is, suggestion boxes might be useful if you use it for comments about a new product name, or proposals for a new menu in the canteen, but practical experience indicates that it is not effective at all for generating ideas for operations improvement. I usually make a point of looking in boxes wherever they are used, and find almost 100% of the time […]

Do you think big ideas are where the action is?

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There are many myths surrounding innovations and ideas for operations improvement in organisations. The second myth in our series of Myths vs Reality is: “Big ideas are where the action is” Reality is, if you wait for big ideas only, you will wait for a long time, as they come along rarely, and unpredictably. Also, such ideas are easy targets for competitors, who quickly discover them, and counteract them. The real action lies with small ideas about quality, cost effectiveness, delivery, service and safety improvements, in and between functions in the organisation. Not only are there abundant opportunities for such ideas, they are proprietary, and they […]

Myth or reality? Managers are in the best position to come up with ideas…

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There are many myths surrounding innovations and ideas for operations improvement in organisations. One of these myths is: Managers are in the best position to come up with ideas The reality is, employees are in the best position to come up with ideas for operations improvement because they are the ones actually doing the day-to-day work. They know first-hand what is working and what is not, and they see all kinds of ways in which to improve performance, from simple, common-sense ideas for saving time and money, improving quality and safety to entirely new ways of doing operations. We need to strengthen the […]

A well-tended environment powers workflow

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A new facility can quickly deteriorate if the “broken windows” are not addressed. “Broken windows theory” is the concept that each problem that goes unattended in a given environment affects people’s attitude toward that environment and leads to more problems. When an environment is well-tended and problems dealt with as they arise, that also affects attitudes and leads to continued good management and maintenance.   Alida Labuschagne, Manageress of the Powder Coating plant at Wispeco Aluminium, Alrode, and her team didn’t make that mistake but implemented Key 1 of the 20 Keys System, from day 1 – keeping the “broken windows theory” […]

Is busyness killing our ability to learn and think creatively?

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Did you know that one distinguishing characteristic of world class companies is that they have a well-entrenched culture that facilitates the learning of all its members, thereby continuously transforming itself. But, being busy is killing our ability to learn and think creatively. Many organisations are caught up in busyness where there is no time to think about doing things better, more cost effectively, quicker, smarter and safer. We need to balance linear thinking, which we use for everyday tasks, with creative thinking, which is borne out of making time available for thinking and reflection.” ODI’s 20 Keys system has a strong emphasis on creative thinking, especially at the […]

Key 3 of the 20 Keys Systems for Operations Improvement.

Are you spending enough time on Key 3 of The 20 Keys System?

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“Two, or more, heads are often better than one to solve a problem” is a well-known (slightly adapted) saying. This is exactly what Key 3 of the 20 Keys system for operations improvement is all about – Understanding problem solving by using Small Group Activities. An often overlooked aspect of effective problem solving is the correct definition and understanding of the problem. Quality time needs to be spent on this, as it is the foundation for the next steps of brainstorming possible causes and analysing cause-effect relationships to identify the underlying root causes of the problem. In this picture a […]