Efficiency and Innovation are Mutually Exclusive?
This question came up in a recent business planning discussion. The Company would like to have one goal of being very efficient, allowing them to get more to the bottom line. They would also like to be known as highly innovative in the area of customer service. Both are appealing business goals to have, but a deeper discussion pointed out that the two goals are in eternal conflict.
Efficiency means that your business operations run like a Swiss watch with few errors. Everybody knows this is how we do it here and we all do it that way. Processes as established are followed with few exceptions.
But, how do you become creative innovators redesigning what customer service means? You must experiment, try new things, make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes. Waste is an inherent part of innovation.
Attempting to be both things – innovative and efficient would most likely produce a company that was good at neither. It’s an amazingly easy mistake to make when it comes to business planning.