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Process Need

“Necessity is the mother of invention.”

The first two possibilities for innovation are opportunity driven. But the third is anchored in the old proverb, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Here need is the source of innovation. I call it process need. Everybody in the organization always knows that the process need exists. Yet usually no one does anything about it. However, when the innovation appears, it is immediately accepted as “obvious” and soon becomes “standard.”

Process innovation starts with the job to be done and requires the presence of five basic criteria: a self-contained process, a weak or missing link, a clear definition of the objectives, clearly defined specifications for the solution, and widespread realization that there ought to be a better way. Take for example, O.M. Scott and Company, a leader among American producers of lawn-care products. It gained its leadership position based upon a simple gadget called the spreader that user can set to evenly distribute proper quantities of lawn-care chemicals. Without such a tool there was an internal incongruity in the existing process and this incongruity frustrated consumers who were unable to evenly distribute chemicals. There are now many such spreaders.

ACTION POINT: Define a process in your organization that has a missing link. Describe the process, the objectives of the process, the level of awareness of the existence of a missing link, the missing link, and the specifications for a solution.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Driving Change (Corpedia Online Program)

* Source: The Daily Drucker by Peter F. Drucker

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