Control the Complexity that Innovation Causes

Offering innovative markets helps you protect market share and repel rivals' attacks. But innovation can also hurt your profitability--by spawning costly complexity throughout your operations. For example, employees must adjust workflows to accommodate new product configurations, and inventories expand.

How to manage the effects of complexity? One strategy is to design products that don't get customized until the last step in assembly or distribution. You'll reduce complexity by enabling manufacturers to source materials and components from anywhere and assemble products close to the point of sale. Home Depot, for example, designs and installs custom kitchens by combining affordable stock items from varied manufacturers.

By Editors  |  September 24, 2008; 8:00 AM ET  | Category:  Management Tip of the Day
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This blog is like the "Daily Affirmation with Stuart Smalley" for corporate robots -a bunch of common sense advice to help delude yourself into feeling good about doing an unrewarding, meaningless job (and getting better at it). That's why there are never any comments - all you have to do is read the title to know its a regurgitated corporate snoozefest of an article.

(I'd be willing to bet all the managers at Lehman Brothers and Merril Lynch thought they were doing a good job of controlling the complexity that innovation was causing them too.)

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2008 10:18 AM

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