Strategy Dynamics Briefing 82: Capabilities and business processes

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The mapping and deliberate design of effective business processes has become almost ubiquitous amongst larger organizations since business process re-engineering (BPR) came to prominence in the 1990s. At the time, many businesses were using information technology to automate activities that were pointless, rather than redesigning processes to incur the minimum essential activity. The result of redesigning or re-engineering the process would often be a considerable improvement in speed, reliability and cost efficiency.

In summary, BPR first identifies the activities involved ...

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Knowledge brokering in open innovation

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I strongly recommend a McKinsey article on using knowledge brokering to improve business processes, with some simple but powerful points. E.g. effective business processes are key to performance throughout a firm, and do not result from a random process of making-it-up-as-we-go-along-and-see-what-works, but a deliberate process of search and design. The article focuses on product-related and other simple innovations (not the over-hyped ‘strategic’ type), and includes some nice simple examples.

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Skills and capabilities

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Capabilities clearly enable performance – if your organization can do key tasks, faster, cheaper or better than others, then you will develop stronger resources in a more powerful system than they can. But academic strategy articles on the topic are mostly too abstract to connect with the practical appraisal of skills and capabilities in organizations. So it’s good to see a down-to-earth approach to assessing skills from McKinsey – asking people to evaluate their own needs. But there’s more ...

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