Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fuji Xerox - 'Creative Routine', Knowledge Management and Innovation

It was great to hear Naoki Ogiwara, Consultant, Fuji Xerox, Tokyo present a paper at the 'Technology for Innovation and Knowledge Management' Conference in New Delhi, 12-14th February 2008 entitled 'Knowledge Management for Innovation:- Embedding “Creative Routine” to Build an Innovative Organization'.

What's very interesting indeed about Naoki Ogiwara is that he is a Consultant "Ba" Conductor, based on his work with Professor Nonaka. He is also currently working, for some time, with Professors Tom Davenport and Larry Prusak at Babson College, USA until his return to Japan in July. So Naoki has a very interesting and rich perspective on KM indeed.

I enjoyed several discussions with him off and on-line and I guess the notion of identifying and embedding the 'Creative Routine' in an organisation is the most intriguing for Innovation. This came out of a very strong International collaboration over the years, and the work of a community of 60 Japanese companies sharing together.

The researchers looked for common characteristics of the best companies globally. Was it advanced IT?, Customer Knowledge?, Supplier / Partner Collaboration?, Strong Top Leadership?.

The answer was none of these were completely common, except one thing - they all had a 'Creative Routine' - a pattern of knowledge creation (called a Creative Routine).

It was found that in the best companies all systems (HR,IT, work process, work environment) supported the Creative Routine, which was shared by people throughout the organisation.

After presenting several case studies, Naoki concluded:

Find out your organizations own “creative routine”

- Look for “legends” or “stories” shared among the organization. It usually contains the essence of your own pattern of knowledge creation.

- It can be built on current one.

- It might need to be build from scratch.

Assess people’s ability and current systems if they fit your ideal creative routine

- Many systems (hiring, promotion, compensation, IT, workplace, business process) often conflict with each other.

Small Start, Achieve Success, and then Expand the Story

- The story has the power to change behavior of many people.

Over the three days presentations, panel discussions and individual questions and culminating in an APO workshop, I found that Naoki has this great ability to present some key messages in a very clear, very understandable, and very powerful way.

He has some good mentors / teachers too - Professors Nonaka,Davenport, Prusak.

Ron Young

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  1. Naoki is definitely an incredibly talented man and like you said, has a very interesting and rich perspective on KM indeed.

    He has been working for Xerox who is very big om Knowledge management and innovation. Xerox makes sure to keep this in check which is a huge reason why xerox receives a lot of attention not only from press.

    Innovation and Knowledge are probably the two most important factors within xerox and which they are greatly known for to have the two "under control"

    I was actually unable to be in dubai but had the honor of meeting Naoki and a few other managers from Xerox.

    Thank you fro this great article!

  2. It is inevitable for things of this sort to happen, especially in today's time. Whether you have a large company or not, I think product managers should really take a look into their Product Opportunity Gap (POG) and really see if they can make a difference or not. Many calculations have to be taken into consideration when looking at the company at an All-Around perspective. Judgment's cannot necessarily be made upon feelings rather logic. Being a business man and reading this, I sincerely think a better alternative could be formed. But, if not, then instead of worrying about losing money, unravel some sort of 'secret plan' to your organization to help boost confidence and productivity rate. That's my personal opinion.