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Systems and Innovation

Systems and innovation have a tricky relationship.

Systems create efficiency and standardization. They ensure a certain level of quality, and enable repeatable results. As a result, typically more can be done in less time.

Innovation, to a certain degree anyways, creates chaos. It disrupts what was previously known, wipes out previous best practices, and enables an entirely new level of quality and systems.

In today’s world, innovation is happening ever more rapidly.

The problem is that many of the systems we built in the past, and sadly, many of the systems we build even now are not designed to be changed easily.

These rigid structures make adapting to innovations costly, and for many, developing innovations out of the question.

These pressures create friction within the business to maintain the status quo. Over time, this creates an “innovation defecit”. The competition that incorporates new innovations ends up with a material advantage with reduced costs, increased productivity, and increased quality while the business stays stagnant.

How do you prevent getting to that point?

Prioritize making flexible, extensible systems. Rather than optimizing for the immediate costs, optimize for the ability to change in the future. That will increase the cost now, but will pay dividends in the future.


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