Innovation

Digitization, reducing waste and being lean 

Digital transformation

Table of Contents

According to McKinsey’s research into digital transformation, most organizations achieve less than one-third of the impact they expected from recent digital investments. In a world saturated with words like “metaverse” and “ machine learning”, it seems that solutions are in no short supply. So why are we struggling to solve our problems? 

Waste not, want not 

Digital transformation is the process through which an organization uses digital technologies to create new (or improve existing) products, processes or services, in response to business needs. 

For most people that have experienced digital transformation, the conversation usually starts with “We’re building our digital transformation strategy. We need an app / artificial intelligence / machine learning / dashboards / mixed reality solutions” (delete as necessary) 

Of course, these are all valid solutions under the right circumstances, but they’re not strategies in and of themselves. This prime case of “solutioneering” often leads to the wrong outcomes and little transformation. 

Start the right way by looking at the problems, not solutions. Like mother nature, you need a strategy in place to address your challenges within your own operating environment. A great place to begin is with your business process. Defining your process and understanding where the value is (and importantly, isn’t!) will give you insight into where you should focus your efforts. Every problem is important, but solving some issues will deliver greater rewards than others. 

Once you have defined your process, your value, and highlighted areas of waste, go even further to categorise that waste. Don’t know how? Let Tim Woods help

Understanding how waste is manifested makes it easier to identify opportunities for digitization. Not all inefficiency can be solved by introducing technology. For example, in manufacturing, raw materials must be moved physically between locations where they are transformed. No app is going to prevent that. However, technology can make the movement, storage and transformation of said raw materials slicker.

Innovate your process ahead of digitization

Just like Elvin Turner said when describing how to make an innovation process stick: “innovate your process!” 

Define how you work today, and how you want to work in the future. Identify what brings value to you and your customers. Highlight areas of waste, and understand the form that waste takes. 

Then – and only then – should you look at how digital transformation can help reduce or eliminate that waste. 

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