Purchasing Innovation IV: Innovation Continued

In our first series of posts in the Purchasing Innovation series, we noted that the companies that make the giant leaps forward and stay ahead of the game in today’s global marketplace are those that are continually innovating. We discussed various approaches, from the research of Professor John Bessant, which included “doing what you do, but better” (or continuous innovation), discontinuous innovation, and “thinking caps” and then introduced you to some techniques that you could use to manage or jumpstart your innovation process – TRIZ and the Verifier Approach.

This weekend we continue our discussion of innovation, and in particular, the role that we see for sourcing in what lies ahead. Tomorrow we will discuss the changing organization and where sourcing fits and Sunday we will discuss a new type of “sourcing” that you can use when you need to get creative.

However, before we get to that, I’d like to point out a recent article from a recent issue of Optimize Magazine that highlights the importance of innovation in today’s organization. Although somewhat misguided (as it seems to suggest that CEO’s and CIO’s should lead the way and overemphasizes technology – when it really should be the CPO or CSCO backed by the CEO), it is quite informative and serves to point out the importance of collaboration and good software tools to support your efforts.

The article, Top-Down Innovation, describes the importance of collaboration and IT in innovation and notes that a recent survey of 765 CEOs conducted by IBM’s Business Consulting Services group found that two-thirds of the respondents expect their organizations to be inundated with change over the next two years.

The article notes that successful companies will have a culture that makes innovation everyone’s goal and will reward innovative approaches. They will turn to a variety of sources for innovative ideas – including employees, partners, and customers. In addition, IT will be responsible for identifying the technologies that hold the greatest value potential for the company when it comes to core business problems.

In other words, you will be more successful when the other business units work with you, when you collect input from all available sources, and when you work with IT to help you select the technologies that best implement the processes that you define. All true.

I’d also like to point out a moderately recent entry from Frenk Gens’ blog IDC Exchange which attempts to address how important innovation is to business leaders. In it, he points out that it is the #2 priority in IDC‘s latest Line-of-Business Executive Survey (beat out only by Customer Service) and that IDCs recent inaugural Innovation Forum in Italy attracted over 1,500 delegates from business, IT, government, and academia – three times the turnout of IDCs CIO Conference. Furthermore, he’s certain that they could have had even more delegates if they had the room. In other words, innovation is important!


For more ideas on how to innovate your purchasing – and your sourcing – see the Next Generation Sourcing wiki-paper over on the e-Sourcing Wiki.

One Response to Purchasing Innovation IV: Innovation Continued

  1. Michael – thanks for mentioning the 2006 CEO Agenda survey. It’s been updated for 2007: http://blogs.idc.com/ie/?p=103. Once again – Innovation is the #2 priority. No surprise, as I mentioned in the earlier link, innovation is the “yin” to globalization pressure’s “yang”.

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