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Be Aggressive in Seeking Out Future Best Practices Concerning Powerful Trends

Mar 31, 2008
Most people stop their searches for the future best practices too soon. They think once they've found a future best practice that it is the future best practice in their industry or that their enterprises will use.

Actually, what they've found is probably the best that any other organization will be doing in the next few years. To get the right answers you have to be thorough and constantly looking ahead.

Can someone fit all the pieces together for the first time?

In future best practice research, it is often true that many different companies and organizations will have useful practices that they are employing. You may find that most groups, however, are using only one or two of the dozens that you locate.

It may be possible to combine almost all of these best practices into a new, future best practice. You can be sure that if you can figure that out, someone else will, too. Plan on that combination occurring to someone else, and plan on being the first to come up with and apply it.

Can you make a cherry pie out of mashing a lot of cherries together?

In the last question, you were encouraged to combine individual elements of best practice in new ways. Doing that combining too literally can create a Rube Goldberg contraption that is ungainly and inefficient.

Whether you create your own solution or outsource this activity, you should keep involved to be sure that you avoid that inefficiency problem.

A better approach is to consider all of the individual elements to design how they might best be combined along the lines of the following tests:

-First, eliminate any duplicate elements.

-Second, take out anything that adds relatively little incremental benefit.

-Third, simplify what remains.

-Fourth, consider how what remains could be made more valuable by adding elements that no one has ever used before.

-Fifth, work with IT professionals (internally and externally) to create an automated way to do what remains using off-the-shelf software that is cheap, easy to use, and fast to install.

How can you test your new process to anticipate problems that may not arise for years?

The classic example of not thinking ahead is the Y2K problem that many computers and electronic devices could have suffered from at the end of 1999.

Earlier generations of computer programmers had allowed only room for the last two digits of calendar years to save space during the years when electronic memory was expensive and bulky. They assumed that someone would find a way to add the other two digits down the road.

Of course, in the year 2000, there came a risk that computer programs would think that "00" was 1900 rather than 2000. Tens of billions of dollars were wasted around the world fixing a problem that could easily have been anticipated and solved in the beginning at a far lower cost.

Some examples of problems you should anticipate include poor quality data being introduced, the loss of data elements due to the government changing its definitions, changing suppliers so that data series are no longer available to you, accidental errors in calculating with the data, new relationships arising between causes and effects, and misuse of the output by people who were not involved in developing the original process.

How are you going to improve your process in the future?

In a sense, every new process becomes obsolete the day you stop changing it. Improvements are no longer added, and the process gradually becomes less and less relevant. Be sure your process includes methods to keep it up-to-date and constantly improving.
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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