Innovation versus Efficiency — Recall that, if you are running any kind of organization, its efficiency remains of utmost important as it is the foundation to speed up processes, eliminate waste, quality improvement, reduce costs and generally meeting customers desire.
And if you work hard at it you can do all of these things. But it is also important to prioritise innovation – finding new products and services and new ways to do things. The trouble is that if you focus too hard on efficiency then you can easily neglect innovation.
Clearing operational downtimes this days has an immediate payback, but experimenting with new products and methods takes time and effort. It has an uncertain future payback. So we tend to spend most of our time solving today’s efficiency issues. The temptation is always to work on improving current products and systems rather than finding new ones.
After all, we know that the current process works so if we can make it work better we will get better outcomes. We can have no similar certainty about the results of innovation efforts. Also innovation involves trying things that don’t work. That looks wasteful – and we all hate waste.
Why Innovation Trades And Trends, Than Efficiency:
Leadership versus Management: A manager is a steward who makes the organization work better. A leader changes the organization and moves it to a different place. Innovation and leadership live in the same house. We need good managers – for sure. But we also need good leaders. If you want to be a leader you have to lead people somewhere new; you have to lead innovation.
Merits Culled From Competition: Extinction or survival is a drastic and extreme example of the power of competitive advantage. Innovative products and services give companies an edge. Older products and services become routine amd eventually commodities. Novel products can command higher prices – until everyone else catches up.
Standing Test Time: It did not matter how much search engine improved quality and efficiency. Wikipedia was still going to kill it. If you are running a taxi firm then tinkering with operations might help in the short term but it will not protect you from Uber. Ultimately innovation wins. It beats quality and it beats efficiency.
Newer systems start off shakily but in the end they come out on top – not all of them but some. So sitting back and making the current business work better and better is like making better gaslights – even when you have already heard about new-fangled electric ones.