We cannot expect an innovation to happen every now and then. Innovation requires creativity and out-of-box thinking and there is no guarantee of success. For whatever innovations we might have seen , those may be only the success stories. Behind them there could be hundred other innovative ideas which may have failed and hence got unnoticed. If some management student takes this as his research project then many of these failed ideas can be brought back to work by analyzing the reasons of their failures.
That's exactly what seems to have happened - a decade ago, everyone and their mother seemed to have at least some sort of novel-sounding supply chain idea (altogether brilliant or a twist on a old practice that passed for new). Now, the conversation and initiative seems to have stagnated. It could be like you said - this generation is pragmatically implementing past ideas, and in times of economic hardship, that may be all they can do. Or, maybe those last-generation ideas weren't sustainable and didn't work like expected, which now has created a chilling effect for others to champion a project (Would anyone admit to that? Probably not. But, I'm sure not all announced supply chain programs got high marks). It's possible, too, that people have just tired of the buzz or forums that once existed where people collectively brainstormed and expressed opinions - theoretical, if not actionable - have faded into memory. The other side of that same coin is that we (me, you and others reading this) may have become too jaded; our expectations for innovation are too high, and we're not appreciating the slow-and-steady progress that rarely makes hadlines. Admittedly, it takes a lot to wow me these days. As a journalist hardened by hearing too many false promises, I know I'm a cynic sometimes.
Speaking of which, I'll be at the Mobile World Congress this week, the huge monster mobile/telecom show in Barcelona. Top execs from Cisco, Nokia, Ericsson, Intel, Qualcomm, RIM, and other well-known companies will have their time on stage. I'll be listening pretty closely for that next big idea that may well get the electronics supply chain fired up again. I'm waiting to be wowed.
Innovations just need not be technically, developing simple improved supply chain process by making availability of all the parts without adding many inventory in the chain for eg FedEx made an innovation just by improving logistics for which the customers were ready to pay. any thing simple can also make huge differences.
Great Point. I wish I had an answer that would make sense. It seems like nobody wants to be the first company to take a risk and think outside the box. Innovation sometimes comes from the least likely of candidates. There needs to be some CEO and supply chain manager out there willing to step up and show some initiative.
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