Innovation isn’t just for things – Part III

The third of an ever-evolving series on how the point is so utterly and completely missed

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Deep breath… Hold… Hold…

[soft lights, massage, whale song, candles]

Exhale… Ahhhhhhhhh… Open your eyes, take in the quiet majesty of the spa…

Yes, that’s right, Badconsultant has been out enjoying the mental stimulation of an executive retreat, soaking up the rays, watching the ski slopes – oh yes, an executive retreat in May in a place where there’s still enough cold to welcome snow. So, brain replete with everything we now need to repackage and sell to our clients we come back to this, our online knowledge management database.

Refreshed, recharged, re-energized.

Would that you could claim the same for your workforce.

Let’s recap what we learnt in the previous installments of People Innovation(®):

Part I – We learnt the following 3 questions:

  1. Who is your ideal employee?
  2. What proportion of your workforce could be classed as your ideal employee?
  3. How do you increase that proportion?

Part II – We learnt that the first part of the answer to the first question is:

Those employees most likely to maintain and grow their productivity in the future.

Now here, in Part III, we’re going to look at why that statement isn’t quite complete.

It’s where many would stop…

[pause… What did you just say… Really? REALLY?]

All right, we know that many would not even ask the question, but of the few who would consider the question many would stop at…

[…]

OK. Many would say the answer is ‘someone who I can comfortably ignore without having them bring the company to its knees’, but we showed clearly in Part II why they would be wrong, wrong, oh-so-wrong.

But we’re in an expansive mood, so let’s expand a little.

Let’s take a look in Crap Corp(®), a company which has the laudable purpose to…

Elevate the state of humanity through integrated product offerings that maximize our customers’ return on porcelain attendance investment.

Crap Corp does a nice line in portable Blackberry mounts that can be fixed atop urinals so that hands-free browsing becomes a reality for all workaday worker bees. An innovative powerhouse, our friends at Crap Corp.

And a productive one. A quick workforce analysis shows that over 50% of employees at Crap Corp – or Crappers as they refer to themselves over beers with a smile – are beating all personal productivity bests. This is a company that’s got productivity down to a fine art.

If we’d stopped our definition at ‘Those employees most likely to maintain and grow their productivity in the future’, we would most definitely have given Crap Corp the thumbs up for having taken the first step towards People Innovation(®).

Only we didn’t.

Because we knew something about Crap Corp that you didn’t.

Productivity gains at Crap Corp were most marked in the following departments (in order of priority):

  1. Finance
  2. Strategic Management
  3. Cafeteria
  4. Grounds-keeping
  5. Procurement
  6. Communications

Negative productivity increase

[oxymorons are us]

was registered in the following departments:

  1. Product Innovation
  2. Sales
  3. Market Research
  4. Hygiene Operations

And therein, to paraphrase one of our seminal consulting brethren, lies the rub.

You see, Crap Corp customers rely on Crappers to know what they do when they visit the bathroom. Not just now, but in the future. The average Crap Corp customer wants Crappers to forecast what they will do, what they could do, what they might do, what they’ve never even considered they might think about doing the next time their bodily waste marinates porcelain. They need innovators, people who care to listen to them and those people who are interested in, and witness, bathroom habits first hand.

And while the first 6 areas should be rightfully proud that they have increased their productivity:

[go inconsequential Crappers!]

Crap Corp management should be very, very worried because those Crappers who are most important to future customer value (earned and developed), those Crappers who are… ahem… touching cloth… are actually spiralling down a vortex of flushed engagement.

Are we getting through yet?

OK. Let’s get back to the question and our current latest take on the answer…

[as always, we reserve the right to refine definitions just as soon as the hardcover imprint heads to paperback and the sales returns have died back to near zero]

Q: Who is your ideal employee?

A: Those employees most likely to maintain and grow their productivity in the future and who have most potential to increase value for our future customers.

There.

It’s not that difficult.

Sounds simple – but it just took multiple $000’s from your margin for you to ask us to tell you what you should already know.

[and, as ever, we love Dumb, Rich Clients]

Employees who are getting better at delivering customers who are more willing to buy your product.

And you thought all employees were created equal.

See you in Part IV

BC

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