Why Your Operations Team Needs To Spend Time On Innovation

Posted by Mohamed Alkady on Mar 4, 2019 11:00:00 AM
Mohamed Alkady
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One of the biggest challenges in healthcare, actually with almost any business, is working with and relating to others; which we happily call leadership.

Some leadership challenges are created because of external factors, interpersonal relating and company dynamics. However some leadership challenges are self-created.

Case in point is operations and innovations. Often a team that is focused on day-to-day operations is the last team you would tap in order to spend on innovations. Instead companies bring in other teams, which creates a massive divide between operations and innovations even though they can help fuel innovation faster than it would on its own if properly aligned and led.

Innovation-Divide

They know the existing challenges

You should always involve your operations team in innovation, and give them time to actually work on those innovations. In the software development a popular method is 20% time whereby a developer will spend 20% of their time on innovative and new projects to help keep their skills sharp but also help propel their team and company forward.

This is key as the same team operating the day-to-day to keep your trains running on time really understands the challenges they face and often have thoughts about how they can be addressed. But even if they don't, being able to articulate the challenge to a team that can innovate is extremely important, it is half the battle of coming up for a solution.

They have ideas to fix it

More often than not your operations team has solutions, even more astonishing they probably have already developed work arounds for those challenges they have and are either just unaware they can be resolved, don't have time to resolve them or feel that they will not be heard if they voice those challenges.

Make no mistake though a work around is NOT a fix or a solution; it may be a great stop-gap temporarily but long term you leave the organization exposed.

These work arounds though are helpful to any team innovating and more often than none can lead to a solution that not only solves that challenge but sheds light on the real challenge at hand.

They have access to the tools

One of the largest areas where innovation teams clash with operations is getting access to tools, data and applications they need. Often the operating team will push back stating they require a project plan, and what if something goes wrong, or if they accidentally mess things up.

At first these concerns can be seen as a way to sabotage a project however a different perspective is that they are truly concerned about the challenges they have. If a system already has stability issues, or if they have had challenges with it in the past and they know all the work arounds and fixes for it however this new incoming team has no knowledge of that.

This comes back to leadership and how the groups came together, this can be avoided if both teams know what each is working on, and both involved, then they will move as a united team.

They know what success looks like

This is perhaps the most important part of the entire article. Your operations team knows exactly what success looks like and can help articulate that to both your senior management, internal teams and even the innovation team.

In order to actually achieve this you must lead your team properly through the transition, and involve them in innovation from day one.

Topics: Strategy