Textile Today Innovation Hub has organized a Seminar titled “Integrating Innovation in Career” on December 3, 2022 at CHT. This write-up was scripted from the Keynote Speech of ATM Mahbubul Alam Milton – Executive Director, Masco Group.
Innovation is an excellent term having the regular usage in our daily life. It is simply assumed that innovation is everywhere. If we aspire to take our business to the next level, if we aspire to develop processes, if we desire to increase the customer satisfaction, if we want to make ourselves more efficient and competitive and, if we want to sustain our business – there is none other than the drive for innovation. Integrating innovation is a culture and the driving force of our business.
Though, innovation could be an immensely important agendum, unfortunately it is yet to be satisfactorily discussed and practiced in that height. Innovation usually creates the values from our creativity and ideas. When we can convert our ideas into value(s), it becomes an innovation.
Integrating innovation is all about better thinking process – only then it will become a workable process and set the motion for innovation. The most important aspect of innovation is to bind the mind with the heart. This synchronization will bring out the best result of readiness for the innovation.
Innovation and, it’s dimensions:
Of two types of innovation – incremental and radical, the former one means performing a day-to-day work in a better way. On the other hand, radical innovation means doing something we have never done before, doing something different. It is a rapid innovation which can bring great changes to system but there is an apprehension of risk. Whereas, incremental innovation results into small changes having a long-run benefit associating with lesser risk. At Masco, we relatively put more emphasis on the incremental innovation in several small areas.
In segment, innovation can be either brought in product or, process or, service. Manufacturing industry, in particular, should give more focus on the process innovation. In terms of accessibility and viability, innovation can be materialized in a close and an open system. Close innovation occurs within an organization where relevant information and knowledge are assumed only from internal sources.
Internal team, under the leadership, could endure and prepare for innovativeness proven to be more effective in bringing desired results. Open (source) innovation, on the other, is driven by acquiring information and knowledge from both internal and (mostly) external sources. It can also help boost internal capacity of the innovativeness.
Multi-faceted Fuels for Innovation:
Innovation to take place, we need knowledge push, market lead, change, advanced technology and invention. These all are important but none of them are sufficient to get a good result if we cannot integrated the wholesome. Whether from the internal or external source, we need the idea at first as there is no innovation without having idea. Then we need knowledge push which we can obtain from R&D, internal source, training, etc. The more knowledge we will attain, the more opportunity will knock us which can develop new methodology to generate new ideas for innovation.
At certain point, we need to sensitize the pulse of the market, which we call ‘voice of the customer’ to befit ourselves with changing times. Referring to know the customer requirements, we heed to the voice of customer so that we remain competitive. The customer requirements, knowledge push and ideas, all must be integrated.
It requires a technical support or automation or software based support to foster the innovation to the next level. Thousands of mechanisms or small innovations and improvements can be made in industry through the automation and software. This entire process, combining with the invention though infrequent, together creates an innovative model.
Innovations may also embark in the market first, then consumers accept the innovative product or service after it is marketed. It is because the industry leaders can predict the customer demand and, align it with their business strategy.
Innovation as the value creation:
Innovation is all about to keep questioning and challenging oneself asking as to how innovation works, how we can embrace innovation in our journey. Innovation could be termed as a process, a habit and it is a culture. We say that innovation, reasonably a top-down approach surfacing from leadership most, is a journey toward the value creation. Yet as well, if we want to take our people-driven textile industry to the next level – as everybody is perceived naturally creative – we need to align them into our internal innovation process.
Let me give you an example with a small-simple case: – Every factory has it’s own warehouse – Masco Group has warehouse in each of its factories. Now, if I ask you the question that how many people do we need to run these storerooms? You could reply that at least one person in each storeroom is required. You would be astounded to know that Masco’s warehouses are perfectly running without a single dedicated person or, even without any kind of automation.
How could we make it possible – only by changing the mindset of the people. We train the people as to how manage and use the stores in certain time intervals keeping own responsibilities unaffected in the deployed department. We all have to believe and adopt the same mindset of innovativeness.
In a nutshell, we need the change whether it is radical or incremental, change is also a core part of the innovation model. Observed that many companies, those were doing business successfully for years or promising to do well, have disappeared. They underwent such a pitiful consequence due to the lack of innovativeness and adaptability with the change and demand of the market.
The keynote speaker, ATM Mahbubul Alam Milton, ends his session showing some practical innovations predominantly ideated from the lean manufacturing principles. Many fruitful innovative initiatives were taken under his leadership in his working place. He also interacts with industry people present in the seminar with answering to several questions on career and innovation.
-The writer is an Innovation Strategist.