Who Innovates?


Schumpter first suggested that small entrepreneurial firms were the sources of most innovations. Later he changed his view and suggested that large firms with some degree of monopoly power were more likely to be the sources of technological innovation. He argued that large firms have the production and other complementary assets that are necessary to commercialize an invention; have the size to exploit the economies of scale that are prevalent in R&D; are more diversified and therefore more willing to take the kind of risk that is inherent in R&D projects; have better access to capital that smaller firms; and, as monopolists, do not have competitors ready to imitate their innovations and therefore are more likely to invest in them. By shifting the focus to the type of innovation, however, whether incumbents or new entrants are able to introduce and exploit innovation is a function of whether the innovation is incremental—a function of how new knowledge and the new product are.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Checklist for Processes Improvement


Improvement is made by:

  • Viewing all work as a process, whether it is associated with production or business activities.
  • Making all processes effective, efficient, and adaptable.
  • Anticipating changing customer needs.
  • Controlling in-process performance using  measures such as scrap reduction, cycle time, control charts, and so forth,
  • Maintaining constructive dissatisfaction with the present level of performance.
  • Eliminating waste and rework wherever it occurs.
  • Investigating activities that do not add value to the product or service, with the aim of eliminating those activities.
  • Eliminating nonconformities in all phases of everyone’s work, even if the increment of improvement is small.
  • Using benchmarking to improve competitive advantage.
  • Innovating to achieve breakthroughs.
  • Incorporating lessons learned into future activities.
  • Using technical tools such as statistical process control, experimental design, benchmarking, quality function deployment, and so forth.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

The Deliberate Innovation Strategy


The strategic choice view argues that if an incumbent is not the first to introduce an innovation, it may not be because it has no incentive to invest, its competence has been destroyed, it has not recognized the potential of the innovation, it does not have the complementary assets, it did not use the right adoption mechanism, or it is an environment that is not conducive to innovation. It may be because of the firm’s innovation strategy—its goals, timing, actions, and resource allocation in using new knowledge to offer new products or services. By making the right choices early, a firm can build the right competences and complementary assets, or even shape the kind of environment in which it is going to operate.

There are several innovation strategies: offensive, defensive, imitative, dependent, traditional, and optimistic. A firm with an offensive strategy is the first to introduce new products. If the strategy is to be the first to innovate, it will invest in the innovation and build the capabilities to do so.  In a defensive innovation strategy, a firm waits for a competitor with an offensive strategy to introduce a product first and resolve some of the uncertainties confronting the innovation. The defensive firm then introduces its own product, correcting any mistakes that pioneers may have made.

Firms pursuing a defensive strategy normally have very strong complementary assets—capabilities such as marketing, manufacturing, distribution channels, and reputation which allow a firm to commercialize an invention—and when they decide to move, they do so very quickly. They usually have a strong R&D since it takes knowledge to absorb knowledge. The product is not an imitation of the pioneer’s version but rather a differentiated product, often with better features and lower cost. The firm, in effect, catches up with or leapfrogs the pioneer. Thus not being the first to introduce an innovation may not be a sign of a lack of incentive to invest, competence destruction, absence of appropriate complementary assets, inappropriate adoption mechanism, or being in the wrong environment. It may be because the firm in question has a defensive strategy.

While a firm with a defensive strategy would like to differentiate its products, one with an imitative strategy would like to produce a clone of the pioneer’s product. It has very little attention of catching up with or leapfrogging the pioneer. It usually has such low-cost capabilities as lower labor costs, access to raw materials, and strong manufacturing. In the dependent strategy the firm accepts a subordinate role to a stronger firm. It imitates product changes only when requested by the customer or superior. Many large Japanese firms have these satellite firms. The traditional strategy makes very few changes to products, only striving to offer the lowest cost possible. In the opportunistic strategy the firm looks for some unique needs of a market segment that are not being met—it looks for a niche market. The point in all these other strategies is that a firm’s failure to introduce a product first can be due to its deliberate strategy.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Process Matters


Many successful people and organizations start to believe it is the product that brings success. A premier product, however, is the result of a process—studying the market, listening to the customer, experimenting, innovating, taking risks, and working your tail off. That is what created and sold the product.

The common mistake is to cling to the product, rather than recognize the process. The product and the producer then become stagnant while the market and the competition are changing. While you you are holding your product up to the limelight, somewhere, someone is about to pass you by. If you stop focusing on the process, learning, change, and innovation top, too.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, www.youtube.com/asifjmir, Line of Sight

Commitment to Self Knowledge and Development


This value is a commitment to one’s own personal growth and understanding. On a personal level, people with this value are introspective, principle driven, and constantly learning about themselves. Managers translate this learning into leadership that inspires both personal and professional development in employees.

Organizations dedicated to self-knowledge are learning institutions. Their value of people as appreciating assets, not costly liabilities, overshadows all other decisions. Through a board, caring human capital investment strategy, executives make large investments in training; managers cultivate employee effectiveness and their successors; and employees learn to innovate and take risks. For these companies, managing learning is a full-time job, and for their companies to grow each year, every employee must grow and develop.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Riding theWaves of Change


Knowing the rules for riding the waves in the ocean can teach us how to ride the waves of change whether they are rolling into New York, Paris, or Baghdad. The future is coming toward us like enormous waves of change. Set after set after set they are getting bigger and coming faster. The surf is up from California to Bangkok to Vienna to Karachi. But how do we respond is a matter of choice. We can stay on the beach or get into the water.

 The future belongs to those who decide to ride; to those who have the courage to paddle out where the big ones are breaking; to those who welcome the unexpected. Enable yourself to embrace the waves of change, seeing them as exciting and challenging rather than intimidating and threatening. Learn unconventional rules for breaking out of old modes and mind-sets so that we can take effective risks, constantly innovate and continually be on our edge. Follow simple yet effective unconventional wisdom will make your work and your life richer, more rewarding and fulfilling. You’ll find that riding the wave of change is the most exciting and exhilarating way to your life. Ride this wave.

 My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Reproduction of Change Agents


A large force of change agents can quickly bring in not only many innovations but also a culture of innovation. A number of companies that successfully attempted turnaround from sickness showed how this can be done.

 

One strategy for creating numerous change agents is to identify those with fire in their belly, give them training and exposure, and empower them to innovate. Another strategy is to shock the stolid into the recognition of the need for innovations and changes, provide them with a vision of change, and provide opportunities to them to contribute innovative ideas and actions. When orchestrated, the two strategies may give excellent results in terms of yielding not only numerous innovations but also an innovationist organizational culture.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Change and Transformation Losers


Losers adopt a combination of attitudes, approaches and priorities, from a limited vision and a short-term and internal orientation, through cutting corners, to attempts to protect corporate interests, and this locks them into a ‘spiral of descent’. The almost inevitable outcome of their actions and inaction is a struggle to remain viable as a supplier of low-margin commodity work.

Losers become reactive and defensive, get lost in complexity of labyrinthine proportions and the more activities they engage in to break free, the more they become entangled. They introduce changes for changes’ sake. They become neutralized by their lack of imagination and entangled in barbed wire created by their own words and actions. The trick they try to play is to retire or to move on at a high point.

Losers in the battle to become and remain competitive:

·        are ‘in their own space’ and relatively oblivious to the needs of others; they do not anticipate and remain unaware of significant external developments and pressing requirements to change;

  • lack self-confidence and self-worth and hold back, they are different, can be indicative and find it difficult to commit themselves;
  • do not have a compelling rationale and purpose; they are not unique, special or even distinctive;
  • are not noticed by people, they are grey and dull, and hence fail to stand out or have an impact;
  • copy and follow others; they do not innovate or differentiate  themselves from their competitors;
  • respond to events; they react to incoming approaches and invitations to tender;
  • do not prioritize and focus; they fail to address what is important as a result of being distracted by trivia;
  • hoard information and hold on to the reigns of power; they are reluctant to delegate and to trust and involve others;
  • remunerate people according to their seniority and status in the management hierarchy;
  • are driven by internal personal goals and corporate targets rather than by customer requirements;
  • play other people’s games rather than live on their own terms; they become pawns on other people’s chessboards;
  • adopt standard approaches and are rigid and inflexible;
  • follow fashions and have a penchant for fads;
  • search for panaceas and single solutions;
  • define their capabilities in terms of the tangible assets they own and the people they employ;
  • are consumers rather than producers of knowledge, understanding  and intellectual capital;
  • respond unimaginatively and mechanically to business opportunities;
  • rely on traditional ‘hard-self’ techniques and undertake win-lose negotiations;
  • make little effort to learn from either their experience or that of others;
  • hold back and stay aloof; they avoid personal commitments, partnering  arrangements and inter-organizational links;
  • are selfish in relationships and put the minimum of effort into maintaining them;
  • use their customers to achieve their own short-term objectives;
  • are cautious and half hearted in their approach to e-business;
  • mouth generalizations and they indulge in self-deception and spin;
  • live for the moment; they have short time horizons;
  • do little to keep competitors out of their key accounts;
  • leave the building of customer relationships to specialist sales staff;
  • ignore organizations that are supplied by competitors;
  • prize their freedom and independence, they prefer to operate alone;
  • attempt to protect their interests with small print and avoid the assumption and sharing of risks;
  • are secretive and defensive; they build internal and external barriers to create a hard shell;
  • offer other employees general training and development that is viewed as a cost;
  • fail to equip their people to win new business, create new offerings or build customer relationships;
  • are complacent and set in their ways; they are reluctant to think, question and learn;
  • confuse the roles of owner-shareholder, manager and director;
  • fail to distinguish between operational matters and strategic issues;
  • become typecast and locked into certain roles; they tend to end up as commodity suppliers.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact http://www.asifjmir.com

Warping Higher Customer Satisfaction


You can improve your management of others to enable you to deliver higher customer satisfaction:

  1. Listen to other people around you,  no matter what their experience or lack of it and listen without judgment–every opinion is a valid one. If you hear two or three ideas together they can often spark a fourth, which you wouldn’t have arrived at if you’d heard them with a judgment.
  2. Use praise. Use praise more frequently and more sincerely than you’ve ever done in the past. Every night when you go home, if you’re a manager or even if you are not, ask yourself have I said thank you? to three people for three different things today? If you haven’t, it either means one of two things: that no body that you work with, or for, has actually done anything which is worth saying thank you for , or that they have done things of note but you haven’t noticed.
  3. If you can’t say something positive, don’t say anything. If you went into a meeting with your manager and they ran through a list of 20 things that they were pleased with and just as you were leaving they delivered one negative criticism, the chances are that this is the one thought that would stay with you, the other 20 would disappear in the length and shadow of the negative criticism. Negative criticism has virtually no practical application. If you have to say something then think it through and put it into a positive context. Remember that people will normally do the best they can with what they have. If they are not doing the best that they can, then you need to help them to see what can be done and what talents, resources, or alternatives exist for the.
  4. Always be seen to be fair and honest. If there’s one thing that can demotivate staff and people around you quicker than almost anything, it is people having favorites.
  5. Share your concerns. Managing a customer service team, an organization, or being an entrepreneur is not an easy job. Whilst you need to be decisive and have confidence and courage that inspires people, there is much to be gained from being open and sharing your own hopes, dreams and concerns.  One of the things that people often like in working in a small business, perhaps one which has an entrepreneurial flair to it, is the enthusiaism and the sheer energy that those people can put into theirday and they do, every signle day. Remind people what you’re doing, where you’re going and why you do what you do.
  6. Become a teacher. Instead of finding fault, managing by exception, and pointing out where people are going wrong, become obsessed with helping people become twice as good as they are now. If you manage people, or you aspire to manage or lead people, then your goal should be to make sure thatas quickly as possible they can do their job twice as well as they’re doing it now, even if it means them being promoting or leaving. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing other people around you do well, especially if you know you’ve contributed to that. Don’t ask yourself what can I do for myself?  Instead, ask yourself, how can I help my team become a better team?  Take a few minutes at regular intervals, at random times during the day if necessary, and teach people different ways of doing things–upgrade their skills, explain different aspects of the business, formalize it–put together different training programs so that people, over a period of time, will really move forward in both their skills, their knowledge and their habits.
  7. Kiesin is a Japanese word that has no equivalent in the English language. It roughly translates as constant and never ending improvement.  The Japanese philosophy is to do a thousand things one percent better not one thing a thousand percent better. This means that everybody that you work with–every supplier, every employee, and every manager, everybody in the customer satisfaction value chain–should be constantly required to innovate, to improve and suggest ideas. Coming up with ways to improve how things are done, should  almost become a mandatory part of any job.
  8. Develop yourself. If there’s one way that you can get other people to become more interested and more focused on improving themselves, it is to lead by example. Take time out to go on training courses, even though you masy be too busy. Take time to read useful information, not just novels, books or newspapers but actual up-to-date books and tesxts from the experts within your industry. Practise your skills, use them and make sure that they’re developed as far as they possibly can be. If it means learning a new language or learning a skill that you don’t have then take on the challenge. It is very difficult to manage people well if you have low self esteem but if you feel good about yourself and you have that feeling of progress and achievement, then it is very hard for this not to rub off on other people.
  9. Only do the most important things. Ask yourself that question or a version of it every single minute of the day:Is what I’m doing now helping directly or indirectly to increase the number and quality of the customers our organization has? Because if it doesn’t affect the customer, it shouldn’t be done.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transformserorganizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact Asif J. Mir