Large Company

Enhancing Innovation in Large Companies

One of the main challenges currently facing large established companies is maintaining a balance between achieving incremental product/service improvements with existing products/services for growing the current target market, while also exploring opportunities for more radical and disruptive innovations to capture new markets and expand the capabilities of the company. Lean Six Sigma implementation can strengthen innovation efforts in large companies by providing a highly efficient structure for executing innovation efforts that will not impact ongoing research and development efforts.

Address Dual Business Objectives

Many established businesses struggle to maintain the same level of innovation that is achieved in smaller, start-up companies. This is because the organizational architectures required for small and large companies are fundamentally different. Small innovative firms are characterized by a loose decentralized company structure with a faith-based experimental culture that is agile, flexible to change and geared towards radical and disruptive innovations. Meanwhile, large established companies require a centralized, evidence-based and efficiency-oriented culture in order to enhance efficiency and quality through incremental improvements. As a result, large organizations often exhibit an ‘innovation inertia’ that prevents them from embracing new opportunities as they may require new or revised business models, thereby, impacting the company’s ability to compete in a rapidly changing market.

Create Organizational Ambidexterity

A growing number of large companies are utilizing Lean Six Sigma management principles to implement Lean start-up methodology into their existing infrastructure and create a hybrid, or ‘ambidextrous’, company structure which can meet dual business objectives for incremental process improvements and radical disruptive innovations. This allows companies to bypass the challenges of a large and complex corporate structure to establish financial and timeline requirements that better reflect the flexibility and agility of Lean innovation projects. This can help large companies to compete with smaller firms, while continuing to improve existing products and services.

Invest in Employee Motivation

Employee engagement in innovation initiatives is the most critical factor for successfully implementing Lean Six Sigma principles; however, getting employees on board when introducing changes can be especially difficult in large and mature companies. In order to effectively implement change in large companies, a shift in mindset is first needed to develop a corporate culture of innovation that becomes rooted in daily thoughts and activities. Most importantly, employee motivation and engagement has to be driven by a managerial commitment to innovation and a continuous improvement mindset.


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