Procter & Gamble Company’s Innovation and Theories

Main ideas and themes that are suggested within and across the readings

Brown and Anthony (2011) present the idea of innovation as the key contributing factor to Procter & Gamble’s rapid growth and success. Innovation is characterized by continuous development and improvement of new and existing ideas besides being a tool that organizations rely on to establish a pure environment for innovation. Martin’s (2011) perspective of innovation is based on idea generation, imitation, experiments, breakthroughs, and culture change.

One outstanding example is Scott Cook who worked hard to become another Steve Jobs. Hansen and Birkinshaw (2007) idealized innovation as a value chain addition process that differs from the traditional views and approach to innovation. Here, the theme is how innovation is practiced through collaboration and teamwork. Besides, innovation is viewed as a process that is managed by the appropriate use of a company’s resources and not merely as a collection of procedures. The theme is the significance of the different types of innovation, which include disruptive innovation and transformational-sustaining, which contributed to the success of Procter & Gamble.

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Here, the common drivers of innovation were an inspiration, motivation, a sense of purpose, and education. Brown and Anthony (2011) show how immense contributions in training and development strategies have made innovation a successful process. The strategic approaches include holding workshops to train managers and teams of employees on the growth of the business and how to develop better organizational structures that foster innovation. Also, it leads to better use of process manuals and how to use demonstration projects for innovation. Brown and Anthony (2011) present a summary of the types of innovation that companies should adopt to facilitate their growth.

However, Hansen and Birkinshaw’s (2007) theme on innovation focuses on the entire value chain of adopting and converting ideas generated within an organization into new and better products and services. The idea here is to consider innovation as a sequence of activities that involves value creation, idea development, and diffusion of development concepts. Idea generation can be in-house, external, or cross-pollinated. On the other hand, Martin’s (2011) discourse revolved around the idea of a stepwise innovation process. The theme here is how ideas are generated and turned into actual products. Martin (2011) and Hansen and Birkinshaw (2007) agree on the stepwise generation of ideas, but differ on who and how new the ideas should be put into practice.

Wessel and Christensen (2012), on the other hand, emphasize on the key theme of disruptive innovation that is based on the concept of the extendable core as a way of responding quickly to the rapid changes that organizations face in the business environment. The advantage is the key component that underlies the theme. Organizations are advised not only to innovate continuously but also to identify business models or technological changes where advantages lie.

Success in innovation happens where advantage matters and persists as it is embodied in the theory of disruptions and exemplified in the features prevalent on e-grocers. Here, Wessel and Christensen (2012) recommend that the “momentum, tech implementation, ecosystem, new technologies, and business model” (p.63) are the best barriers that can be used to enhance innovation.

Critical Analysis

Brown and Anthony’s (2011) main argument in “How P&G tripled its innovation success rate” can be simply interpreted to show how Procter & Gamble used the drivers of innovation to succeed as an industry player in the age of dynamically changing customer needs and expectations in a competitive business environment. Brown and Anthony (2011) accurately describe Procter & Gamble’s innovation strategies by amalgamating theory with practice to verify the claim that innovation can be successfully used in an organization by a leadership that is knowledgeable on various techniques.

On the other hand, Hansen and Birkinshaw (2007) in “The innovation value chain” conceptualize innovation as a process that starts with idea generation, then proceeds to idea development and terminates with the implementation stage. Here, the emphasis is on how to add value to different ideas to suit specific situations. The authors provide a succinct description of how and where ideas should be generated. Emphasis is on the type of ideas and innovations that managers should allow their organizations to work on to get the best results.

Martin (2011) accurately describes innovation as a process that must be used to generate an idea that is put to test before it is approved as being viable for adoption. Martin (2011) stresses that customers are the best sources of ideas and not organizational managers as traditionally thought. Phrases such as catalysts, customers’ greatest pain points, homes, offices, concept generation, and culture emphasize the rigors of innovation as evidence shows in Martin’s (2011) discourse on the subject. The entire process is about inculcating the culture of innovation into the minds of the people and the ability to see the troubles of the people and how to best address their problems. The author provides various examples where innovation has worked well based on the approach that has been mentioned.

In the article “Surviving disruption” Wessel and Christensen (2012) describe innovation as something that occurs in a chain where organizations survive by adapting to changes in the business environment. The approach is to identify where and what disruption should be done to existing processes or what to change to be more competitive. Innovation is about identifying and exploiting new and existing opportunities using better technologies and approaches to better address customer needs and expectations.

Learning Reflection

I have learned that innovation is not simply about generating new and unique ideas, but searching for solutions to problems that have persistently made organizations to underperform, fail to meet customer needs and expectations, fail to solve existing problems, and become unable to provide immediate solutions to difficult and sometimes urgent problems. Innovation is best viewed as a sequential process where ideas can be generated by the people and converted into products. Managers should not be seen as the only sources of the best ideas that can be adapted to change the nature of organizations, but employees and their ideas need to be factored into the innovation process.

Application to Practice

Evidence of the approaches used to adapt innovation into organizational processes and other corporate entities into being competitive in the business environment of dynamically changing customer needs and expectations, greater productivity, better problem solvers, and higher profit-making entities abound. In practice, Procter & Gamble adopted innovation and consistently applied the concepts of innovation into its organizational structures with much success. The UK technology companies Shell, Sara Lee’s Sanex soap, Tenco, Design for Delight (D4D), and Amazon are among those companies that have applied different principles and practices into the innovation processes to create products and services that address dynamically changing customer needs and expectations.

References

Brown, B., & Anthony, S. D. (2011). How P&G tripled its innovation success rate. Harvard Business Review, 89(6), 64-72. Web.

Hansen, M. T., & Birkinshaw, J. (2007). The innovation value chain. Harvard business review, 85(6), 121. Web.

Martin, R. L. (2011). The innovation catalysts. Harvard Business Review, 89(6), 82-87. Web.

Wessel, M., & Christensen, C. M. (2012). Surviving disruption. Harvard Business Review, 90(12), 56-64. Web.

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