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Weaving Continuous Improvement into the fabric of your business

weaving arrows.jpgBy:  Ian Church, Business Consultant, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services


I was at a client the other day analyzing the current state of Continuous Improvement (CI) within their organization.  What I found was a situation that is common across multiple industry sectors.  The organization claimed to have a CI process and framework but in reality what they had fell short of expectations.


Organizations usually fall short when implementing a true CI system because senior leaders don’t put CI in the framework of their business.  Sure organizations follow ITIL v3 models and have a service discipline in this model of CSI, but what about businesses that have more than  IT to worry about?  What about the business functions?  Business functions within client businesses often don’t address CI due to:

  • Lack of skills to implement process improvement
  • Lack of measures against which to set improvements
  • No capability to improve processes
  • No performance targets set to encourage process improvement
  • Lack of time for staff to focus on CI as they are distracted by their ‘day jobs’
  • Siloed approach to improvements causing the real benefits of CI to not be known.


These points appeared in the organization I recently analyzed.  So how can an organization build an effective CI process?  The answer is in three areas:


  1. CI Objectives – set these at a leadership level and then cascade to staff to ensure ownership of CI and behaviors that encourage improvement.
  2. CI Process – design and deploy a CI process which allows staff to raise improvement ideas and ensure coverage across all parts of the business to create an improvement culture.
  3. CI Skills – train staff in process improvement.


These three areas can be implemented by following a simple seven step plan to CI:


Flow - final.png 


These steps provide the basis for weaving CI into the fabric of your business. They provide benefits such as:

  • Building CI into all parts of the organization as a day-to-day activity
  • Putting in place a capability for all business functions to improve process
  • Building a mechanism for staff to raise improvement ideas
  • Moving from a siloed to a collaborative approach that encourages functions to work together, resulting in greater improvement benefits for the organization
  • Encouraging the whole organization to think and breathe CI
  • Developing staff skills in CI, enabling them to improve their own working lives
  • Providing staff with further skills to enhance their personal development.


By taking time to look at CI, organizations have an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage through continual enhancement of their organization and its supporting processes.   By following the seven step process outlined above, your organization can get that competitive edge.



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About the Author


Ian Church.jpgIan Church, Business Consultant, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services

Ian is a Business Consultant in the HP EMEA Industry Transformation Consulting practice. He has 13 years of experience in Project Management, Process Improvement, Business Analysis and Management of Change.  Ian has worked in several industry sectors including Financial Services, Defence, Manufacturing, Civil Government and Telecommunications.

Emily Smith | ‎02-15-2013 04:51 PM

Though I like to see multiple charts combined into one (when possible), Ian writes a really nice artcle here. It demonstrates how many different levers impact effectve CI in organizations.


Would love to see some data behind these bullets. For example, what is the average duration of implementing the seven step plan? How do various implentation durations impact organizational acceptance of CI?


Love the comment of cascading objectives. Unfortunately, some organizational leadership igore these.


Nice article, Ian!

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