In a recent interview with Paul who is the CIO of a 250 person company we discussed innovation and the cultivation of ideas as the CIO. I would classify him as an ‘employee-preneur’ in the classic sense because when we delved into his successes he gave me an idea of how he thinks and what has led to his success. During our conversation he explained how he was inspired by a think tank out of College Park, Maryland called The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) which is the largest society in the world for professionals in the field of operations research (O.R.), management science, and analytics.
What is Operational Research you might ask? Here is a link that explains in more detail what it is.
By sitting in and listening to meetings with this group he was able to listen to 3 major organizations fix critical operations challenges in innovative ways. He shared three examples with me:
Disney –They increased passenger throughput on their monorails system by DECREASING the amount of cars carrying passengers which decreased passenger wait times.
Fedex – They eliminated right turns from their truck routes which saved time with idling trucks and increased time efficiencies.
Southwest – They ‘time sliced’ every moment of the passenger boarding process to the nano detail looking for operational efficiency improvements
Paul’s true passion lies with predictive analysis. This concept isn’t new, but the previous three companies have teams dedicated to it. Paul has only himself and a few direct reports. He leverages some internal application development capacity and knowledge to help him. In a recent post I wrote about some inexpensive tools that you can leverage in case you have a light staff. The post is here.
The answer is found in learning how to leverage Big Data Analytics in a useful way. From a marketing point of view Paul cautions that Big Data is a product looking for a solution, but if we take the marketing out of it and focus on data analytics it is much more practical. Paul mentions that, “you need to dive deeply into the data to uncover the potential gems of innovation”. He says that he has 10-20 ideas each day related to bringing efficiencies to the business and products to help existing customers because of his desire to look at the data.
Building a Scheduling Application
A woman who was in charge of scheduling a major element of the resources of his company took 8 hours each and every day of the month to perform scheduling for the business.
By using Geospatial tools on the web coupled with predictive analytics his team built an application that reduced this process to :47 seconds per day. This is a radical reduction and is quite extraordinary, but it shows what is possible.
I hope this post gives you some good insights.
Warm Regards – Bill