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Gaining an Innovation Edge with Automation

Staying Ahead of the Curve

Just as it’s important to foster a culture of innovation, perhaps the same could be said of a culture of automation. Despite rising costs that every company must be aware of, we are not suggesting merely replacing workers with automated systems. But automation has become an increasingly important tool for companies to stay ahead of market forces. As Sunil Ranka, founder of Predikly, a data innovation company, and venture partner with Z Nation Lab, a startup accelerator, writes in a Forbes article, “How Automation Cultivates A Culture Of Innovation,” automation “can streamline processes, reduce cost and improve the efficiency of employees by freeing up their time to have them focus on more strategic tasks. Having automation in place can also help an organization provide real-time data and insights that can help workers make informed decisions and improve their decision-making process.”

The speed of response, and adapting to change, are also key factors in developing more automation efforts within the company. Ranka makes the case that it’s also not just about the technology but about the cultural mindset taking place in the company. “Bringing in automation creates a workplace that is open to new ideas and encourages employees to think outside of the box. Also, it means you are empowering your employees to take on risk and experiment with new approaches.”

A clear roadmap is essential, as is often setting up a “center of excellence” in the company to oversee improvements in processes and operations. “This would require setting up goals and objectives for automation, tracking progress toward those goals and regularly reassessing the strategy to ensure automation is driving the innovation as intended,” says Ranka.

Deploying the Right Equipment

In “The Future of Work is Reshaping Trends in Innovation,” All Things Innovation took a closer look at the diverse trends shaping the future of work, including automation and AI. Automation frees up employees from repetitive and mundane tasks, allowing them to focus on more creative and strategic endeavors. AI technologies can analyze vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and generate insights, providing valuable inputs for innovation. AI-powered tools can also support ideation, prediction, and decision-making processes, contributing to more informed and effective innovation efforts.

Looking forward to FEI 2024? The conference, which will be held June 10 to 12, will feature a session called “Innovation Means Increasing Throughput Not Reducing FTE,” presented by Donald High, Chief Data Scientist, Internal Revenue Service. Strategy, transformation and data science leaders know that the value from automation and/or AI is not provided through the reduction of talent. The value of automation and AI is provided by on-the-ground experts disseminating their tacit human knowledge so a new process can be put in place around new technology. That process, coupled with a strategy and a plan, provides the pathway for enterprise value in the form of collective (human and machine) intelligence. Register for FEI 2024 here.

Fueling Innovation

Automation can significantly benefit innovation within an organization in several ways. We asked ChatGPT to break it down into several advantages that automation gives innovation:

  1. Time and Resource Efficiency: Automation of routine and repetitive tasks frees up valuable time for employees to focus on more creative and strategic activities. This efficiency allows teams to dedicate more resources to innovative projects.
  2. Increased Productivity: Automated processes can operate around the clock without the need for breaks, resulting in increased productivity. This accelerated pace can contribute to faster development and implementation of innovative ideas.
  3. Data Analysis and Insights: Automation tools can process large volumes of data quickly and accurately, providing valuable insights. This data-driven approach enables organizations to make informed decisions and identify new opportunities for innovation.
  4. Consistency and Quality: Automated processes ensure a high level of consistency and quality in tasks, reducing the likelihood of errors. This reliability is crucial for innovation, as it allows teams to build on a solid foundation without being hindered by avoidable mistakes.
  5. Collaboration and Communication: Automation tools facilitate better collaboration and communication among teams. By streamlining workflows and providing real-time updates, these tools enhance coordination, fostering a conducive environment for innovation.
  6. Rapid Prototyping and Testing: Automation allows for rapid prototyping and testing of ideas. With automated testing tools, organizations can quickly iterate and refine innovations, reducing the time it takes to bring new products or services to market.
  7. Enhanced Customer Experience: Automation can improve customer interactions through chatbots, personalized recommendations, and other automated processes. By providing a seamless and efficient experience, organizations can retain customers and create a positive environment for innovation.
  8. Adaptability to Change: Automated systems are often more adaptable to changes in the business environment. This adaptability is crucial for innovation, as organizations need to be agile in responding to market trends and evolving customer needs.
  9. Cost Savings: While the initial investment in automation may be significant, the long-term cost savings can be substantial. By automating repetitive tasks, organizations can reduce labor costs and allocate resources to innovation initiatives.

Gaining an Edge

Automation can act as a catalyst for innovation by optimizing processes, improving efficiency, and creating a conducive environment for creative thinking and problem-solving within an organization. Creating the right culture—in both automation and innovation—can be critical to success. As Ranka notes, “Companies that invest in automation will be able to cultivate a culture of innovation and advanced thinking that would allow them to be better equipped to respond to the changes in their industry and scale their operations.” Strategies like that could very well shape the future of work.

Video courtesy of Fortra

Contributor

  • Matt Kramer

    Matthew Kramer is the Digital Editor for All Things Insights & All Things Innovation. He has over 20 years of experience working in publishing and media companies, on a variety of business-to-business publications, websites and trade shows.

    View all posts
 
 

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