Posted by: shoji | September 29, 2007

Process innovation

Where does competitive advantage come from?

This NYT article highlights the unheralded “process innovation”. It focuses on tech companies (Apple, Google, and Intel), but the excerpt below reminds me of Jeffrey Liker’s The Toyota Way.

The Unsung Heroes Who Move Products Forward – New York Times
“Process innovation tends to receive less attention from the informed public for the same reason that incremental innovation tends to receive too little attention: it is more difficult to encapsulate in a press release or photo opportunity,” says David C. Mowery, a business professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and a scholar of technological change. “Process innovation, even more than most product innovations, also tends to realize its economic potential through a lengthy process of incremental improvement based on learning by doing and other types of learning,” he added. “So ‘breakthroughs’ in process engineering are, if anything, even rarer than in product innovation.”

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