in a world of constantly accelerating change. Just as our personal
lives are impacted by the continual changes that we must learn to
adjust to, our companies are also impacted by a constant stream of
unsettling changes. Changing customer demand patterns, expectations,
and service requirements must be recognized and adjusted to
effectively. Shifting standards must be met, new technologies
evaluated and employed, world-wide competitive threats contested,
and myriad other "moving targets" must be sighted in and
achieve excellence, we cannot be satisfied with just accepting and
adjusting to change. We must anticipate and initiate change if we
hope to gain business rather than lose it. Innovation is the
process of introducing or fostering change—the way to be leaders
in dealing with change by being change agents, leading the way to
better ways of doing things. We can and must learn how to innovate
and be change pioneers rather than being dragged along by
changes we can't control. We'll investigate the process of
innovation, and see how we can increase our creativity and our
ability to adapt to change.
to dealing with change is to become less isolated in our individual
roles within our organization. If we are going to recognize and
effect changes as quickly and well as we must, we need to break down
the artificial barriers to interaction that keep us from
communicating quickly and effectively. We must learn to interact well
with others in different functional roles in order to deal with
change and the ever-accelerating need to react quickly and well to
the waves of changes. We will look at ways of increasing effective
interaction within our over-structured organizations, and of
interacting better in our own personal relationships.
is great synergy in getting disparate parts of the organization to
work together well, making a unified force from a diverse group of
individuals or pulling together previously separate elements into a
coordinated whole. By integrating the individuals or elements
we can produce a
more efficient result. The whole is indeed more than the sum of its
parts. We will review several types of integration that we
should work toward in our development of more change-capable
bottom line in attaining excellence is the degree of advancement we
can achieve and sustain over time. We must be able to improve
in many ways, in multiple dimensions, and in an ongoing continuous
improvement mode if we are to be truly successful. We will
examine the successful ways others have learned to improve
dramatically— developing a "culture" that encourages and
guides a constant quest for ways and means to make many
incremental changes that add up to dramatic improvement over time.
let's look closer at each of the "Four I's," and see how
they can be (and are being) used effectively to attain excellence.
innovate is to introduce something new, to make changes, or to bring
in new ideas, improved methods, etc. Innovation can produce product
improvements that increase consumer satisfaction and thus increase
market share, as the Japanese have demonstrated so powerfully.
Effective application of innovation spawns new products, new
methods and new ways of thinking. Innovative thinking can help
change our perceptions (about quality, for example) stimulate our
imaginations and expand our thinking so that we can satisfy the
customer's real wants and needs.
carried through to its full effect leads ultimately to a paradigm
shift. Futurist Joel Barker  has developed a complete set of
observations and pertinent points about paradigms, summarized as
is a set of rules and regulations (written or unwritten) that
establishes or defines boundaries and tells you how to behave inside
these boundaries in order to be successful.
paradigm effect causes us to view the world according to our own
paradigms, and see things as we want to see them (not necessarily as
they really are). It can "blind" us and prevent us from
seeing new opportunities, markets, strategies, and creative
paradigm shift is a change to a new game, a new set of rules.
When a paradigm shifts, everyone goes back to zero. Past
successes (under prior paradigms) guarantee nothing in the future,
and may even be a hindrance. Paradigm shifters change the
rules; paradigm pioneers are early shift disciples who
help drive the new rules to reality.
question to ask in driving a paradigm shift is: "What today is
impossible to do in your business, but if it could be done, would
fundamentally change what you do?"
other pertinent observations Barker makes about paradigms:
Paradigms are useful in helping to solve problems (as long as you
don't become a slave to old ones).
paradigm can become the (one and only) paradigm,
resulting in contrary ideas being rejected out of hand. This leads
to paradigm paralysis—the terminal disease of certainty.
You can choose to see the world anew and change the rules
and regulations (becoming a paradigm shifter, an innovator).
are several far-reaching new paradigms, as William Turnquist 
points out, all of which have in common a driving force to get
better— little by little and day by day. These include
Just-in-Time, World-Class Manufacturing, Continuous Improvement,
Total Quality Management, Kaizen, and the pursuit of Excellence.
With these new dominant paradigm s, change becomes part of the
organizational culture and the paradigms support change instead of
blocking it. People are comfortable with change, and impossibilities
become possible. As a result, major, dramatic changes are often a
by-product, rather than a forced effort.
also reminded by Dave Garwood and Michael Bane  that paradigms
can be killers of innovation as well. The Swiss lost their
dominant role in the world watch market by failing to see the
implications of their invention of the digital watch which would
shake their world. They did not even bother to protect their
invention, thus letting others reap the benefits and take the watch
market away from them. Their paradigm held that watches had
mainsprings, ticked, and had hands, blinding them to the potential
for their invention. Their own digital watch invention led to the
demise of their market leadership—the paradigm shift blind-sided
we're locked into our current paradigm we can't see change sneaking
up on us, and are blind to the opportunities shifting paradigms
can bring our way. We must be able to adjust our perceptions to be
able to recognize opportunities for innovation as paradigms shift
and become the new reality.
recognize that change (innovation) is a constant process that is
best applied incrementally to solve a multitude of small problems
over time, and can make small improvements that build on each other,
we can accomplish tremendous feats. The Japanese have shown us how
well this works. Their electronics industry, for example,
demonstrated how to keep meeting and then raising their customers'
expectations through a series of product and feature innovations
that resulted in making their remote controls, sound separation, and
distortion reduction the standards by which American consumers
judged (and found wanting) all U.S. products.
should strive to achieve paradigm shifts in new product development,
supplier relationships, shop floor operations, planning,
organizational alignments, performance measurements, accounting, and
is at least partially born in us. However, we can all learn how to
develop our creative and innovative talents (and especially our
vigilance in watching for opportunities for productive innovation,
making incremental changes that may grow into a new product,
program, system or method). That can make all the difference in our
quest for excellence.
One area where
innovation is required if we are to achieve excellence is in
changing the organizational structure to facilitate free
communication among different functions within our organization, and
with other outside organizations. This will be a basis for
To be Continued