Deliberate & Experimental Approaches in Innovation & Continuous Process Improvement

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  • 0:05 Continuous Improvement
  • 0:48 Deliberate Approach
  • 2:10 Experimental Approach
  • 3:31 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Most companies want to be continually improving and innovating. But, how can they do that? In this lesson, we'll look at the two main approaches to innovation and improvement and the benefits of each.

Continuous Improvement

Hari is the owner of a company. He wants to promote creativity and encourage his employees to constantly seek to make the company better. Hari is promoting innovation, which involves finding new approaches and solutions to problems. Many companies seek continuous improvement and innovation, which is an approach to business wherein the organization is always trying to innovate and improve itself. Essentially, companies engaging in continuous improvement and innovation are constantly asking, ''What's the next thing? How can we be even better tomorrow than we are today?''

To help Hari implement continuous improvement and innovation at his company, let's take a look at the two main approaches to change: deliberate and experimental.

Deliberate Approach

One way for Hari to approach innovation and improvement in his company is to steer his employees the direction he wants the company to go. For example, he could say that they're going to try out new customer service programs. He could then set metrics and have his employees create, try, and evaluate new programs.

This is the deliberate approach, wherein leaders offer a vision for where the company is going and what it is going to do. The deliberate approach is top-down, meaning that it starts at the top of the company and filters down. As the head of the company, the vision of how improvements and innovations will work starts with Hari. Then it filters down to the other workers in the company.

The deliberate approach to continuous improvement and innovation asks the questions, ''What do we want to accomplish?'' and ''Where do we want to go?'' From there, the vision is established and the actual 'how to get there' comes from the employees. But the process and vision comes from the top.

The good thing about the deliberate approach is that it allows a company to align its improvements and innovations with the company's vision. However, it requires a lot of time and does not adapt well to changes or disruptions in the industry. For example, if there's a big change in Hari's industry, his company will not be able to change quickly if they are taking a deliberate approach.

Experimental Approach

So if the deliberate approach doesn't allow Hari's company to respond quickly to changes, what does?

The other major approach to continuous improvement is the experimental approach, also called the emergent approach, which involves everyone in the company engaging in constant experimentation. That is, everyone is continuously looking at what's going on and trying different things to respond.

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