Changes do not always have to be great leaps forward or involve radical new ideas. Most of the time change is more gradual, moving incrementally forward with a sequence of little, cumulative improvements. • For example, although the invention of the electric light-bulb was a dramatic breakthrough, little improvements in the design of the bulb and in the process for manufacturing it led to a fall in price of over 80 per cent between 1880 and 1896. of product and process design.
In recent times, the dramatic growth and success of the Japanese car manufacturing industry is primarily the result of a 40-year programme of systematic and continuous improvement. • Thomas Alva Edison experimented with thousands of different filaments to find just the right materials to glow well and be long-lasting. In 1879, Edison discovered that a carbon filament in an oxygen-free bulb glowed but did not burn up for 40 hours. Edison eventually produced a bulb that could glow for over 1500 hours.
Data Storage • Punched tape or perforated paper tape is a form of data storage, consisting of a long strip of paper in which holes are punched to store data.
A punched card, punch card, IBM card, or Hollerith card is a piece of stiff paper that contains digital information represented by the presence or absence of holes in predefined positions.
Magnetic tape data storage uses digital recording on to magnetic tape to store digital information. Modern magnetic tape is most commonly packaged in cartridges and cassettes. The device that performs actual writing or reading of data is a tape drive. A floppy disk, or diskette, is a disk storage medium composed of a disk of thin and flexible magnetic storage medium, sealed in a rectangular plastic carrier lined with fabric that removes dust particles.
AMAZON.COM • Amazon.com revolutionized the world of publishing and bookselling by the early adoption of the Internet as a mechanism for advertising, ordering and distributing books. So successful has the project been that now almost all the major booksellers have added Internet operations to their existing physical bookshops.
THE BODY SHOP • The Body Shop broke new ground in the well-established cosmetics and toiletries field of retailing by a strategy based on environmentally friendly products and a strong commitment to international development aid. Again, their success caused other players in the field to alter their own behavior and to produce products and redesign packaging and retailing operations to match.
DELL COMPUTERS • Dell Computers have redefined the computer as a consumer product, taking advantage of several technological and social changes. They offer not only a rapid delivery and low price, but also customization – each machine is built to an individual customer specification. Achieving this is done through a mixture of careful modular design and the management of an extended web of outsourced capabilities – in manufacturing, distribution, service, etc. The result is a highly successful mass customizing company that operates from a tiny core – a true virtual business.
Easyjet • Easyjet have innovated in services with their low-cost scheduled flights (in fact, their in-flight literature includes a detailed description of airline economics and how they have changed the rules of the game!).
Innovation today • Firms need to innovate – to change what they offer and how they produce that offering – to survive. • Our view of innovation today no longer sees it as an occasional event but a core part of what organizations do to survive. Nor is it the province of a few gifted specialists – it is too important to be left to them. Rather it is at the heart of what organizations do to renew themselves in terms of what they offer and how they create and deliver that offering. For this reason, it is of central concern to strategic operations managers whose role is coordinating the development and deployment of capabilities that make innovation happen.
Innovation • Innovation can take many forms. It could be in the equipment used to produce the product or service, or it could be in the way in which the process is organized and structured. It could be in the repositioning of an existing idea – for example, an established product in a new market. • Changes do not always have to be great leaps forward or involve radical new ideas. Most of the time change is more gradual, moving incrementally forward with a sequence of little, cumulative improvements.
Firms need to innovate – to change what they offer and how they produce that offering – to survive. History is very clear on this point; survival is not compulsory, but those enterprises that do survive and grow do so because they are capable of regular and focused change. • On the plus side, innovation can be about more than simple survival – it is also strongly associated with growth. New business is created by new ideas, by the process of creating competitive advantage in what a firm can offer.
WHAT INNOVATION CAN LEAD TO.. • The emergence of digital watches (which nearly destroyed the traditional Swiss watch industry) • The emergence of low-cost airlines has led to several major airlines declaring, or being close to declaring, bankruptcy. • Use of technology for banking services led to a lesser demand for manpower. • Online courses proved to be a cost-effective and cost-efficient alternative to traditional education. • The use of advance telecommunications led to a reduction in the dependence on postal mail and other “jurassic” means of communication
Discuss • ‘Invention is not enough’ was the response given by a major designer/manufacturer when asked about the secrets of successful innovation. What other factors need to be managed to ensure a good idea makes it through to successful implementation?
Pizzaville’s humungous flat pies cover a circumference of 30, 50, and 70 inches, enough to feed more than a few families, or a giant baby. With 15 flavors to choose from, pizza enthusiasts can shove a smorgasbord of flavors in their face, such as: PepperoniSupreme, BaconCheeseburger, FourCheese, or indecisive flavor chasers can combine four to eight flavors depending on the hugeness of their pie.