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  • MSS Article Review: “Don’t Treat Innovation as a Cure-All”



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    January 6th, 2015

    Harvard Business Review | by William McKinley, Scott Latham and Michael Braun | December 8, 2014

    Reviewed by: Todd Blaskowitz

    Harvard Business Review recently published an article – “Don’t Treat Innovation as a Cure-All”, that looks at organizations that attempt to innovate their way out of decline.  These innovations can be in the form of introducing new products, technology or process.   The article states that only 30% of organizations are able to turn around a decline and that innovations can actually speed up the rate of decline.   Additionally, the article proposes creating more flexible innovation processes and being able to recognize that your latest innovation needs to adapt to the current operating environment.

    I completely agree with the need for flexible innovation, and organizations that are able to quickly adapt and implement change processes have a greater potential to turn around decline.  Many times organizations may not realize what their true cause of decline is and go down a path that has limited positive upside for the organizations future.  I would have liked for the article to provide more recommendations on what organizations can do to successfully escape their current situations and get back on the right track.  If an organization cannot innovate their way out of decline what can they do?

    I think a starting point for an organization that is experiencing decline would be a back to basics approach.  Start by understanding what the organizations ultimate goals are and how they are supported by their current business processes.  Begin exploring what is causing their decline (decreased revenue, increased costs, or a combination of both).  Identify how they execute their business processes by documenting the current state and looking for areas for improvement such as: bottlenecks, single points of failure, operational silos, redundancy, and processes executed outside of prescribed systems, etc.  Tie-out the results of the decline to specific metrics and processes, and begin identifying areas that can have a positive organizational impact, without completely changing the way the organization does business.  Finally, the organization should execute some process improvement methodologies that have been successful internally on previous efforts.

    This is not a cure-all to business decline, just as innovation is not either.  To overcome or avoid decline, a management team ultimately needs to proactively manage process improvement, recognize changes in market dynamics, and realistically adjust to changes in the operating environment.

     

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    Todd Blaskowitz, Senior Consultant, has an MBA in Finance from the University of Pittsburgh. Todd possesses the ability to employ creative and original ideas to structured delivery processes, while implementing industry best practices.  If you would like to discuss ways to start taking action in your organization, contact us at info@msstech.com.

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    Cite this blog post:
    MLA: Blaskowitz, Todd. “MSS Article Review: ‘Don’t Treat Innovation as a Cure-all.’” MSS. MSS. Blog. 08 April 2015.
    APA: T Blaskowitz. (2015, Jan 6). MSS Article Review: Don’t Treat Innovation as a Cure-All”.