Innovation is normally regarded as a positive force. But a quick look at the thesaurus shows that there is a mix of positive and negative synonyms for innovation. Modernisation, alteration, deviation, modification, mutation, newness, variation, vicissitude – to name a few.
The reality is that innovation implies change and when it comes to processes, be they in people’s heads or clearly documented, the introduction of new ideas and improvements causes conflict within the organisation and inconsistent customer experiences outside the organisation.
Some people feel that documentation kills innovation but it doesn’t have to be like that. It shouldn’t be like that. Our view is tainted by past experiences like unintelligible standard operating procedures and meaningless policies, detail after detail after detail.
But documentation that no one reads is completely useless. Documentation that is too detailed is hard to keep up-to-date so that it uses its usefulness over time. We need our process knowledge to keep up with our innovative ideas. We need to share this knowledge with the right people so they can understand it, implement it, debate it, and improve it again.
Imagine if . . . . .
- Documented processes were perceived as a fundamental component of doing business rather than a separate compliance activity.
- The people working in the process were easily able to share their insights and ingenuity.
- Those who were held accountable for the process (the process owners) were also responsible for communicating the latest version of the process.
- Documented information was located in a central repository that was easy to access thus avoiding the creation of different versions.
Through establishing our current processes we can make the case for change and foster innovation. Change will be faster because we will all be working with a common understanding of what the process is now.
By documenting our knowledge succinctly and making it accessible we foster innovation, we don’t kill it. Can it be done? Yes. Talk to us about Promapp.
All the best – Liz