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Talking about innovation, the first things that come to mind are tangible new products, such as smartphones, electrical vehicles or new medicines. However, product innovation is only one edge of many-sided innovation practice. Process innovation might have less obvious impact, but it opens up many new opportunities for companies.
What unites the wheel, Gutenberg’s printing press, Toyota’s production system or email? All these inventions were the origin of history’s biggest process innovations and significantly improved productivity. But how do companies deal with process innovation today and where can they gain more value? Over 25 industry representatives and researchers gathered at PARK INNOVAARE’s INNOVATION in PRACTICE to share their experience with those questions and to learn more about new approaches.
Four pillars of process innovation
Examples of effective process innovation are manifold and well-known: Dell, Zara, Lufthansa with their new supply chains and pricing models, or Amazon and Uber with platform-based business models. In his introduction to the topic, Andreas Rülke, keynote speaker and innovation expert, focused on three main aspects of process innovation: the processes, methods and tools a company uses; the competencies a company possesses; and the business models a company follows. Combined, not only can all three aspects lead to measurable performance improvements in terms of costs, quality and timing, but they can also double productivity.
Technologies won’t solve all the problems
Nowadays, digitalization and Industry 4.0 are perceived to be the biggest trends in process innovation. The smart introduction of technologies enables automation and control of certain tasks, quicker and more precise results, as well as new methods of doing (remote) business. However, “technologies won’t solve all the problems”, said Andreas Rülke, “and for this reason, management improvements and competencies are integral parts of process innovation and cannot be underestimated.” Of particular importance are project management and system engineering, a competence which links the system design to system testing in an integrated approach.
Involve your partners
Finally, process innovation is not a uniquely internal process. Practical examples of the close collaboration of Excelsus and Novartis Schweiz, presented respectively by Dr. Fabia Gozzo, CEO, and Dr. Arnaud Grandeury, Leading Scientist, as well as insights from Jürgen Schulz, Head of Technology at IFTEST AG, have shown that process innovation emerges from joint projects.
Upcoming dates and topics
April 4, 2017: “Breakthrough Innovation” with practical insight form leadXpro AG.