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Why It's Time for Proactive Operations to Invest in Research

, , , | August 17, 2017 | By

“A big waste of money or the engine of marketplace innovation? That's how some people see basic scientific research. Now a new study shows how basic research and inventions are connected,” according to Joe Palca’s recent All Things Considered podcast on NPR entitled “New Study Highlights Strong Link Between Basic Research And Inventions.”

All Things Considered host, Robert Siegel, explains in the opening comments of the report that “Scientific research can seem abstract or esoteric. But with time, it may turn out to have practical value. A recent study has uncovered a strong link between basic research and inventions that can be brought to the market.”

Palca first asks in the article, “What does the rideshare company Uber have to do with the research of a 19th-century German mathematician named Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann?”

He continues that “Benjamin Jones can tell you. Jones is an economist at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.”

According to Palca, Jones “and a colleague decided to make a more systematic study of how connected basic research was to future patented inventions. They looked at 4.8 million patents issued by the U.S. Patent Office and 32 million scientific papers. They focused on papers that had been cited by at least one other scientist.”

What do you think their findings told them? Would you say that even some basic research could lead to innovation?

We think it’s required, even at a minimum.

Keep reading; let’s see what Jones and his colleague discovered.

“We find that 80 percent of scientific papers that are cited can be traced forward to some future marketplace invention - 80 percent. It's a surprisingly large number. It was surprising to us,” Jones explains in the NPR podcast.

Now, this information offers two lessons to us:

  1. You probably won’t be able to pinpoint where the innovation stems from in your research. But, as these findings suggest – that’s ok. Your odds of an advancement are still greater, even if you don’t know how it links.
  2. You’ve got to conduct research, even if it’s minimal. Do it regularly to stay on the path to more innovation.

This ‘research’ is great news for Proactive Operations – so let’s take advantage of it.

4 Research Methods Leading to Innovation

Mixing research in your routine is important.

But, what do you consider research and how would you go about it?

We’re here to offer the insight – a few ways to get the innovation wheels moving.

The intricacies of research can be decided by your team. For example, your process for conducting research, reviewing, and applying the invention to your operation.

So, what are the four ways to carry out research (even if it’s the most basic)?

  1. Tap into your network.
  2. Develop insights at conferences.
  3. Study the data you own.
  4. Role-play in real life.

1. Tap into your network.

One of the best ways to build or “invent” anything is to look to the people involved in the same field.

For us, it’s asking why after why to our clients. That’s how we get to the root of what’s needed to know how to produce technology professionals need and use.

Connect with your colleagues and ask them why they’re doing what they’re doing. Then, you can determine what you need to alter in your operation.

This alone could lead to small changes with maximum impact on your operation.

Take advantage of the professionals around you to get the data that’s the most applicable to what you need to understand.

Try this: write down your thought-provoking questions, call up a colleague or many, ask them for need-to-know information related to your questions, and then compare it to what you’re doing and your own conclusions.

See a difference? Did you find any answers?

Did they offer any golden nuggets of wisdom?

2. Develop insights at conferences.

Conferences are uniquely different than tapping into your network.

You can be exposed to professionals from other industries and geographical locations. Large bodies of water might separate professionals, but conferences can bring them together.

Take advantage of them.

Access like this offers out-of-the-box thinking and information for you to consider.

Talk with others you generally wouldn’t. You might find yourself asking even more questions. That’s a good thing as your search for answers should never end.

Bring the people you meet together for a meal or coffee. From here, start questioning each other’s operation.

Did you discover anything?

3. Study the data you own.

There’s no greater advantage of using a unified solution than having access to your property’s analytics.

You can achieve massive innovation just by having real-time numbers at your fingertips.

  • Response times
  • Your number of issues, incidents, tasks, and guest requests
  • Schedule and completed work orders
  • Amount of lost items found, and then returned to guests

The list goes on for considerations.

But, the beauty of this data, which many will miss, is how all of the things tie together.

For example, did an incident that took seven minutes to respond to lead to a medical issue and a lost wallet?

We’re not sure, but your data might tell you something.

Conduct your analysis and see where the error is.

Did you find a groundbreaking opportunity for a new protocol?

4. Role-play in real life.

Tabletop exercises can be useful.

They help teams talk through scenarios. But, we think you can get more data from real-life role-playing.

Get everyone “suited up” and act out real-life situations. Monitor the role-play to identify opportunities for innovation.

Although this method is not the most common, we think this is the future of understanding your operations.

Yes, it requires time and man power. But, it forces staff to participate and communicate.

Can you imagine the data and insight gained from taking the time to act out certain scenarios?

Over to You

You might already utilize these methods for your research. That’s great because what we learned today is that it pays off. It leads to innovation throughout your operation.

Your operation must always innovate because that’s what the evolving operational environment requires.

So, which one of these research methods will you put into action starting today?

Learn how to employ Proactive Operations using strategy, infrastructure & technology.

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