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Innovation is Never a Fluke

Sector:    Production
Size:       >3,000 employees

Initial Situation
Due to the ever-increasing market commoditization, the management team found themselves challenged to transform their entire organization from product provider to service provider. To differentiate themselves from low-cost competitors, the service portfolio needed to be enhanced by adding innovative elements. The established technical innovation process was not suitable for innovating services. 

Solution 1.0
The client worked with UMS to develop a process explicitly tailored to service innovation. This process included proven elements from the existing technical innovation process, plus elements of lean startup and design thinking methodology. At the same time, workshops were held around the world to develop and review opportunities for cross-innovation.

Pilots were run to put the process through rounds of testing and further development. Throughout the entirety of the project, employees had the chance to familiarize themselves with the process as well as the methodology.

The process was implemented and accepted. Initial innovations have been placed, and they received positive feedback from the market.  

Side Effects
The employees involved in the process remain highly motivated and convey thier enthusiasm within the entire organization, producing a lasting positive trickle-down effect. 

New Problem
Competitors responded quickly. Yesterday's USP is now the norm. The company became overwhelmed by the sheer speed of events.

Solution 2.0
Regrouping the plan caused innovation to happen imultaneously with continuous improvement via developing concepts for a continuous innovation process. The core implementation of agile ways of working, was unheard of in the production sector, and previously only referred to in an IT context. 

The time between identifying an unmet customer need and completing a first prototype is currently under 30 days. This improvement significantly noticeable and has motivated the organization to reduce their target from four weeks to two. 

Key Findings by the Client
Speed is paramount. It is not enough to solely develop quick ideas. You also need to expedite the company's decision-making processes so that those ideas can be rapidly implemented.