What If We Reinvented the Way We Do Continuous Improvement?

May 14, 2020
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“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” – Einstein

Do you feel like you're always stuck with the same ideas? Do you want to bring in new ideas? More innovative, creative ones?

If so, how can you bring something new to your methods and propel the creativity of your team?

How to spark employee creativity?

The work team is central to the creative process of a company or department. The first step in reinventing your continuous improvement process is to unleash employee creativity.

1. Build a multidisciplinary team

Since creativity is the combination of several elements to create a new one, a variety of knowledge and expertise is essential. Depending on the purpose of the project, participants from different teams will be involved throughout the process.

2. Develop a structured approach

 At Soucy, we have defined an iterative creative process in three phases. 

creative_process_enPhase 1 - Understand

The objective of this phase is to define the user and his needs. It is important to do in-depth research on the subject at hand and the competition. You can, for example, meet with experts to delve deeper into the issue. You must take the time to show empathy to properly target the needs of users. For example, you could meet several users, define their key characteristics, and so on.

Phase 2 – Explore

At this point, you want to generate as many ideas as possible. Several phases of divergence and convergence are carried out using different creative and technical games in order to enrich the ideas and reach a more advanced level. Far-fetched ideas are welcome, as they could inspire new, unexpected and feasible ones.

Phase 3 - Co-create

It's time to implement the solution and test it with users. Prototyping is used to facilitate the realization of the idea, to visualize its limits and potential issues. A value proposition is defined and then, you must validate the solution with users to learn and improve it.

How to take advantage of the continuous improvement methodologies?

But how have we improved our creative expertise? By integrating the creative process into a product cost reduction effort. Here's how the workshop was organized:

Phase 1 - Understand

The objective was to update the participants' knowledge so that they would be able to identify opportunities. Through a World Café, the participants exchanged on the cost drivers of the different processes and components mainly used in our products.

Phase 2 - Explore

Creative games were used to create the right mindset, to break paradigms and thus generate creative ideas. Among other things, the SCAMPER method was used to structure the idea generation and to force people to look at the problem from different angles.

Phase 3 - Co-create

Team members were asked to use the COCD, a convergence tool, to prioritize ideas, then analyze the feasibility of solutions and provide an "idea sheet" to the auditors' team.

This workshop allowed us to gather ideas with a total cost reduction potential ten times greater than our initial expectations!

Here is a concrete example where we have rethought our ways of doing things instead of sticking to traditional methods and thus considerably improved the result.

And you, how will you explore creativity?

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