Bhuabneswar, August 19(Odisha.in) “There can’t be a defined process of innovation, which has become extremely important for organizations in the fiercely competitive scenario,” was the conclusion of the one-day national seminar on ‘Operational Innovation- A Competitive Strategy’ organized by the students of Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar (XIMB).
Introducing the topic, Dean (Academics), Prof. W S Williams pointed out that though this operational innovation issue had come to the forefront only two decade ago, but this concept was there from the beginning of the 20th century. He emphasized how organizations are using this as a tool to stay ahead in the competition.
“Operational excellence is different from operational innovation as the former reduces cost & eliminates errors and later focuses on better ways of doing things. There are two types of operational innovation mainly- product innovation & how to deliver values through it”, said Prof. Williams.
Citing examples of operational innovation, Prof. Williams elaborated how Toyota and Wal-Mart had sustained the lead in competition through operational innovation. Taking cue from this example Narayanan Srinivasan, Head- Wholesale Banking Operations, Standard Chartered said, “Applying this operational innovation- Toyota can produce any model of car within 20 minutes, despite the complexities associated with manufacturing a car.”
The speakers agreed to the fact that operational innovation is essential for sustenance and for gaining competitive edge. But it is not easy to apply as the simpler one like Just-In-Time (JIT) concept took several years to come into practice. All speakers pointed out that with increasing competition and fast changing technology, operational innovation has taken a centre-stage as it can change the rules of the game.
Participating in the discussion, Sree Kumar Krishnan, Head, F&A Horizontal, Congnizant said, “Though operational innovation is extremely important as it is going to provide lead to the organization but it is pretty hard to pull off. There are many things, which have remained undefined in the case of operational innovation.” Elaborating on the objective of operational innovation he said, “The objective should be based on IRACIS- improve revenue, avoid cost and improve service.”
The speakers agreed that the size of an industry is irrelevant as several big and small organizations have adopted this at workshop successfully. This defy the popular saying in the corporate- ‘Elephant can’t dance’.
Talking about how to apply operational innovation, Mr Krishnan said, “There are four simple ways to apply- look for role model outside your industry, identify & defy constraint assumptions, make special case as norm and rethinking the critical dimension of work.
There are four pitfalls of operational innovations namely- measuring innovation, research & development, linking rewards to innovation and top line focus of the company,” said Mr Krishnan. But he suggested that measuring the performance & innovation through matrix or balance scorecards methods used popularly by the human resource managers is not the correct approach because middle managers tend to game it.
The panel of discussion also included Vikram Mahidhar, Head – R&D Deloitte India Operations, Venkata Reddy- VP-Supply Chain, PepsiCo & Pinaki Banerjee- Managing Director, Pilkington and an XIMB alumnus.
The evening also saw the release of the Ashwamedh journal. The journal primarily included 8 research papers, which were selected from a national paper writing competition that was a precursor to Ashwamedh 2007. The competition had received a huge response from across the country with about 130 entries coming in from business schools including IIMs, XLRI, ISB, FMS, SCMHRD, XIMB, et al. The journal would be circulated to both, the corporates and all the major business schools in India.