This module covers the fundamentals of innovation and continuous improvement.
It will give you a good understanding of what innovation is and how you can create the environment for innovation to thrive, as well as various continuous improvement models and how you can use them to drive continuous improvement initiatives in your organisation.
What is innovation?
Innovation has many different definitions, perhaps because it is such a difficult concept to define. Is innovation creating something new?
Is innovation improving something that already exists? And just because you create something new or improve something that already exists, is that innovative?
The innovation processThere are many different models of the innovation process with varying degrees of complexity. The model we use is a simple three phase process that involves the core processes of generating, selecting and implementing ideas.
Fostering innovation within a team
For innovation to thrive you need to have the right environment. An environment where innovation is valued and nurtured.
An environment where people can share ideas, where they can try new things, and where they are rewarded for challenging the status quo. It is the key ingredient that underpins any innovation process
What is continuous improvement?
Think of continuous improvement as the ongoing quest to do things better - to improve quality, to increase efficiency, and to reduce costs.
Improvements can be done as small incremental improvements over time, or as breakthrough improvements all at once.
Using the OPDCA cycle
As we explored in the previous section, the Lean process uses the PDCA cycle (Plan, Do, Check Act) to improve processes and eliminate identified waste.
The PDCA cycle is an improvement cycle based on the scientific method of proposing a change in a process, implementing the change, measuring the results, and taking appropriate action. It is one of the most widely used tools for implementing continuous improvement.