The Altshuller Institute

for TRIZ Studies

Exploration and discussion concerning improvement and innovation in today's organizations.

In today’s highly competitive and global economy both 'improvement' and 'innovation' are essential for businesses to remain competitive. Generally, improvement aims for high and sustainable performance in existing business areas through continual and incremental gains, while innovation aims for breakthrough resulting in stepwise gains. In the past they were seen as mutually dependent and approached through the various 'silo' functional areas of organizations. Through benchmarking of best practices in use today there is strong evidence to support integrating improvement and innovation to achieve a coherent and powerful approach to sustainable business practices. Look for upcoming post to explore the dilemmas often faced in pursuing improvement and innovation concurrently and to sharing the benefits of successfully integrating them together.

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Five Little Known Facts about Integrating Improvement and Innovation

Posted by on in Post University - TRIZ and Quality
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 Five Little Known Facts about Integrating Improvement and Innovation

Both improvement and innovation have the same purposes and importance:

·         Seeking to integrate organization objectives and functions

·         Working to satisfy customers and increase competitive advantage

    They involve all employees within an organization to be apart from the management process and business process.

·         Main shared goals:

o    Continual improvement, achieving customer satisfaction

o    Sustaining development, creating an open culture

Thus, the relationship between improvement and innovation can determine the organization’s performance and its development. In the new context of economics and business excellence, improvement and innovation became core elements in founding and increasing competitive advantage:

·         Improvement and innovation have a vital role for business success

·         Importance of the relationship between improvement practices and innovation methods

o    Directly relates to the creating competitive business

o    Strengthening organizational performance in the competitive market place

Fact Hand 1

We need more studies on improvement-innovation relationships

Fact Hand 2

Previous studies produced contradictions

Fact Hand 3

No conclusion recommending a specific improvement-innovation practice emerges

Fact Hand 4

Many questions emerge from existing literature:

·         Do improvement practices have any impact on innovation in organizations?

·         Which innovation is influenced more by improvement practices in organizations?

·         Are there specific improvement practices that have more influence on innovation in organizations?

Fact Hand 5

As innovators we just need to get on with it:

·         Use our innovation methods to find the best ways to integrate improvement and innovation.

·         Use our technology to build an improvement-innovation systems based approach.

·         Start with something simple such as integrating FMEA (Failure Mode and Effect Analysis) into our improvement-innovation approach.

FMEA is straight forward and easy to use, yet it is a powerful quality improvement method that helps identify weak points and potential errors early in the conception phase of product and/or processes innovation.  The FMEA technique provides a systematic; tools based approach for working in teams which can be used for identifying, preventing, eliminating or controlling of potential error causes in an improvement-innovation system and its associated problems.

Effective use of FMEA will eliminate or reduce things like:

·         Project delays

·         Changes in scope

·         Failures

·         Cancellation

The main reason for using FMEAs' during various stages of projects is to provide systematic failure free implementation and reduce project costs. Using such methods result in saving money and time. Efficiencies on this level are only possible by the prioritization of defects, based on reliable scientific data, so that corrective actions are taken for competent and efficient planning.


In a recent dialogue participants created the following word cloud (Wordle) based on their conversation:

five little known facts-wordle 001



Integration of improvement and innovation provides a synergistic model to resolve the siloed approach currently being pursued in organizations. Such integration will lead to managing the organizational improvement-innovation systems systemically rather than managing them as parts of independent efforts. The improvement system uses already existing formal procedures and processes currently embedded in the organization and are subject to policies, procedures and audits, both internally and externally.

This approach provides:

  • · Exploring the entire solution space to improve the quality of the innovation
  • · Establishing measurable and auditable innovation which is subject to improvement
  • · Ensuring that the innovation has necessary resources
  • · Defining innovation efforts in terms of processes integrated into the process framework of the organization.


Stay tuned for the next blog which will present a potential framework for an improvement-innovation practice.


All the best,

Chuck Roe Signature

Chuck Roe| Academic Program Manager - Quality

w. 203.596.8580

Post University
800 Country Club
Waterbury, CT 06723
toll free 800.345.2562

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President, Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies

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I am the academic program manager for quality and a professor in the Malcolm Baldrige School of Business at Post University. I am also a PhD candidate in Human & Organizational Systems at Fielding Graduate University, and I have a Master of Science in Engineering Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, both from the University of Tennessee. Currently I am also serving as the President for The Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies.
My work experience includes over 30 years as a quality professional, achieving multiple certifications in the areas of continuous improvement and innovation: Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Design for Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Organizational Climate Practitioner, and TRIZ (Theory of Inventive Problem Solving) Practitioner. I have also served as a judge for the Michigan Quality Award and an Examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award
Academic background includes being an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan, Dearborn campus, where I taught organizational learning and systems thinking; and at Indiana/Purdue’s Fort Wayne campus where I taught undergraduate statistics. I have also taught certification courses for the American Society for Quality Local Chapters for Reliability Engineering and Quality Engineering.
My philosophy of teaching has evolved from these years of experience in the corporate world and affiliations with institutions of higher education. Reflecting on my past experiences, there are three core beliefs that guide my teaching:
1. People have a built in desire to learn

2. People learn their whole lives
3. Responsibility for effective learning belongs equally to both student and teacher
My research and academic interest are focused on continual evolution of the Quality and Innovation disciplines and building core competencies in people and organizations for continual improvement, creativity, and innovation.
On a personal note, I enjoy photography, golf, fly fishing and gardening. I currently live in Plymouth, Michigan with my wife Jo Ellen. We have three daughters with their respective partners and six grandchildren, two boys and four girls. We also are maintaining a home in the Waterbury, CT area, at Post University, as well as our home in Michigan.


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Guest Tuesday, 19 September 2017