Encourage new ideas across the work force and avoid silos
More innovative ideas come from rank-and-file manufacturing employees than R&D departments, but these are in danger of being overlooked, according to a new report from PA Consulting Group.
The report, Innovation As Unusual, suggests that UK businesses are losing out on £64.7bn through lack of innovation. PA examined eight sectors in the UK, ranking them by a number of factors that determined how each performed as an innovation leader. The Consumer Products and Manufacturing sector ranked as Number Three – behind Life Sciences and Financial Services, but ahead of IT.
One of the key findings for the sector was that 38% of respondents said some of their best ideas originated amongst employees, higher than R&D teams (32%).
In its analysis of the manufacturing and consumer products sector, PA identifies a number of other factors inhibiting innovation in the sector. These include:
As well as encouraging manufacturing firms to include a wider range of employees in the innovative process PA also recommends:
Tim Lawrence, head of manufacturing at PA Consulting Group comments: “The best innovators are those that ensure it is a shared effort across their organisation rather than leaving the development of new ideas to siloed teams. Too many organisations continue to view innovation as the responsibility of the R&D department which severely limits their ability to identify and develop breakthrough ideas with the potential to transform their industry.
“By branching out and involving more employees in the innovation process, manufacturing companies will have a broader pool of knowledge and experience to draw upon, which will help them to harness innovative ideas and better understand customer needs.”
The report also cautions about the risks of buying in innovation – common in the pharmaceutical sector – as it only works if the acquired business is placed within a culture that understands and actively nurtures innovation. Without this culture, the host organisation can quash the newly acquired capability and waste its investment.
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For a copy of our innovation report click here.