It is interesting to note and analyze that a substantial number of European organizations have traditionally been leading their North American and Asian counterparts in the implementation and benefits of advanced data systems.
The question of how a company can organize and plan within the engineering-construction industry to maximize innovation and benefits is always a worthy focus. From our work with global companies, the following best practices seem to emerge:
Companies continually define measures of work effectiveness, which lend themselves to critical analysis and the push for more effective tools and work methods. Whether these measures are industry-based, such as that supported by Independent Project Analysis (IPA) or CII, or in-house metrics, is not critical, but that there is a way to measure the value of change and innovation.
Innovative ideas are rapidly rewarded with some funding, but then must support rigorous financial and organizational analysis as more expenditures are requested. Our best-practice companies involve senior management in this process and it is viewed as a seminal part of their job. During this process, both financial and management buy-in is achieved.
A project success is measured not only on the ability to deliver a fit-for-purpose facility, and within the financial expectations, but also whether it is continually upgrading the methods and tools employed. Best practice companies do not tolerate a project or a functional manager having a flat not on my project philosophy.
Innovation is performed in small steps, typically six months in calendar duration, during which time a set of predefined objectives need to be met. The key here is the establishment of the value-producing chunks, with predefined success criteria. Companies take large projects and divide them into phases. It produces urgency and deliverables continually.
With this short leash, innovators are provided the full organizations support to succeed. Accomplishments are celebrated, missed expectations are quickly rectified or the project is rapidly reevaluated and stopped. Innovative companies clearly establish expectations and success criteria, freeing the champions to concentrate on achieving those objectives.
As in so many parts of the business, the need to communicate with the greater organization is paramount. At Trinity, we focus on four different constituents: senior management, the project team, those who are going to receive the implementation, and lastly, the general company population. Communicate at all phases of the process, allowing the company to be aware as the innovations mature.
So why do some companies perform innovation so well, and others are hit-or-miss? Check your playbook and whether you have a game plan that is part of the company infrastructure. The goal production will go up dramatically!