5 Problems Which Only Breakthrough Innovation Can Solve (Part 2 of 6)

Breakthrough Problem #1 : Not Improve but Transform

You may read the introducing context for these cases here — 5 Problems which only Breakthrough Innovation can solve (Part 1 of 6)

When the need is to not merely improve (say by 10–15%) but transform a process, product or business model, the starting point needs to be fundamentally different. When the challenge is to create a step jump then doing more of the same won’t be enough. What is needed is an approach that will not just follow the existing paradigm but challenge it, what is needed is a paradigm shift.

Transforming Operational Efficiencies — Not meeting but beating benchmarks:

  • Inter Globe Hotels took on the challenge to not just reduce the IBIS Hotel Construction costs (say by 5–10%) but to transform the Hotel construction cost and cycle time by 50%. Applying Orbit-Shifting Innovation to the challenge led to Breakthroughs in two key areas — Construction Technologies and in the Project Management Process. These two Breakthroughs together, have succeeded in making the transformation happen.
  • Titan Industries manufacturing plant that some leading experts said should be shut down has been transformed with a series of Breakthrough Innovations at the grassroots level. Realising that Kaizen and 6 Sigma would not be enough to save the plant, they adopted Orbit-Shifting Innovation. Over a 100 Innovation champions were developed. A number of Breakthrough innovations were created and executed. Some of these Breakthroughs resulted in a 10X jump above and beyond the global manufacturing benchmarks in the industry. This plant is now directly contributing 20% to the overall profitability.

Transform the R&D cycle time:

The Schneider Electric R&D team had the best-in-class NPD (New Product Development) process for their UPS business, with international research and benchmarking. The end to end NPD cycle was 18 months. However, the best-in-class NPD process was not enough. They were facing stiff competition from small, local players who were able to roll out products much faster by sourcing components and assembling them locally. This posed a huge threat for the company, as they were invariably late-entrants in the market, leading to low market share.

To recapture their position as a market innovator, the Schneider UPS Business Unit set out to Transform their turnaround times of NPD cycle. The reality is that even the best organisations get trapped into a fixed and unconscious sequence of actions. These sequences, over a period of time acquire a position of being immutable and therefore, become the Sacred Sequences that must be followed. The Schneider team applied Orbit-shifting Innovation to Breakthrough Mental model boundaries — this led to the challenging of some Sacred Sequences in the New Product Development Process.

The New product development cycle time, as a result of these Breakthroughs, has been successfully transformed from 18 months to 3 months.

You may read the next parts here:

Author: Rajiv Narang
Rajiv founded Erehwon in 1989 and he has over the last 25+ years led it to becoming one of the world’s leading Innovation Consulting firms. He has led a diverse and rich portfolio of strategic innovation & leadership initiatives with organisations across industries, cultures and countries including Johnson & Johnson, Bank of America, Max New York Life, Novartis, Unilever, IFF, Infosys, Wipro, ESPN etc. Recognised as an Innovation Thought Leader, Rajiv was part of National Planning Commission panel to recommend ‘India’s Innovation Strategy’, and the lead architect of the ‘Innovation for India’ Foundation. He is the co-author of a book based on Erehwon’s unique methodology — Orbit Shifting Innovation — The Dynamics of Ideas That Create History

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