Depending on what you read, it’s dooms day for the manufacturing industry or it’s performing at its peak.
Recent headlines such as ‘Australian manufacturing businesses warned they must innovate or face imminent collapse’ (ABC News, 31 July 2018) and quotes from industry professionals such as, ‘If they [manufacturers] don’t make the change in five years then then they won’t be here’ (Graeme Sheather, former University of Technology Sydney professor) don’t lend confidence.
According to the ABC, the number of manufacturers in Australia has fallen from 96,000 10 years ago to almost 84,000 last year and yet the Australian Bureau of Statistics says only 48 per cent of Australia’s manufacturers are innovating,
One thing is for certain, the manufacturing industry, along with many others, is facing major transformation. The only way through is innovation.
The toughest challenge for many manufacturers is knowing how to transform. When you are so ingrained in traditional practices, how do you even start to do things differently?
At G2 Innovation, we’re dedicated to helping businesses transform through innovation. We begin with innovation orientation - addressing the ‘Why’ and ‘How’ and then supporting clients through the journey to transformation.
A Success Story - Backwell IXL
One of our success stories, a classic example of effective innovation in the manufacturing industry, is Backwell IXL. Similar to many Australian manufacturers, the shutting down of car manufacturers posed a serious threat to their bottom line. As a 150-year-old company, they were no strangers to adapting to changing landscapes, but they needed an active and creative approach if they were to make it through the next 150 years.
When businesses are going through major transitions or upheaval, morale is likely low, with people afraid of losing their jobs. Risk-taking (no matter how educated), collaboration and creativity are far from people’s minds. It’s therefore imperative that as well as teaching the skills to innovate, it’s necessary to inspire a change of mindset.
Applying an empathy-led approach, we supported Backwell IXL to activate change by inspiring their people, providing a voice and sharing the journey with transparency.
The shift in mindset
It was necessary to shift the mindset from one of ‘this is our dooms day’ to ‘this could be our hey day’, from ‘playing not to lose’ to ‘playing to win’.
IXL employees used to be told what to make, now they independently research and develop ideas.
There was a shift from product focus to user focus, which led to a greater emphasis on service and experience.
They are designing and delivering new products such as outdoor heaters, bbq and grill products which are now on sale in major retailers.
They have identified niche market and collaborative opportunities in cable, pipe and architectural support systems, as well as potential new materials.
The Transformation Program and shift in Innovation capability turned IXL around. With new orders, moving into new markets and developing new products.
The IXL team are undergoing a major cultural shift from fear of failure to understanding that it’s a testing process that can lead to solutions.
“We thought we understood innovation,” says Bernard Brussow, CEO of Backwell IXL. “We thought we knew how to examine opportunities in the market and assess whether they were worth pursuing. I know now just how wrong we were.”
We are now getting new results from new ways, have a better engaged workforce and a new-found optimism. As a leader of this company, I couldn’t be more impressed.”
What happens in an Innovation Transformation?
G2 Innovation conduct an innovation audit to understand the needs of the business, ascertain skill levels, state of the business and key areas for improvement.
With you, we gain an understanding of your strategic goals and support you to develop your ‘Why’ for innovation, putting urgency and importance into perspective.
With top level strategic goals reached, our team designs and leads a program to meet the needs of the organisation and individuals on the project.
The program is supportive and motivational towards individuals whilst creating a clear course of action for the organisation.
Using a combination of training workshops, coaching and co-creative design sprints, we embed the skills and tools required for success, coach you to use these skills on your own projects, and together, we design and develop new ideas and approaches to your business.
As highlighted (in our Barriers to Innovation blog) we look holistically at the business, making changes and improvements to your strategy, culture and processes, in order to develop a robust culture of innovation.
In practical terms this means developing a meaningful and implementable strategy, embedding skills such as Design Thinking, business-model generation, trend and competitor analysis and forecasting, as well as developing your culture to match your aspirations.
Want to know more and watch the full Backwell IXL video? Visit Innovation Transformation and talk to us about how we can make your business the next success story.
Want to sample an element of transformation, whilst learning new, implementable skills? Our Innovation Strategy workshop is ideal for leaders looking for strategic support to innovate. This workshop is kept very small to encourage a coaching environment, allowing you to personalise the experience, learning from G2 Innovation’s co-founder Andrew Jones and networking with other like-minded professionals.