Some businesses haven't grasped the idea of continuous improvement including a progression of small incremental changes.
These businesses don't do continuous improvement, they do one off improvements. Their improvements are small in number but large in terms of change. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't.
This is OK, I wouldn't dream of condemning this approach; after all, it is just an approach.
But, there are improvements all around - small and large. A simple conversation with a colleague can bring forth a whole range of improvement opportunities. Some will be quick to implement and give great benefits.
If you have ever read up on the subject of 'Kaizen' you will know that it is more than just another word for continuous improvement. It's focus on tiny steps helps many people along their journey to make improvements for their business.
On of my client's mentioned my touch typing ability the other day. They thought it was strange that I could do it, my response was that this was an improvement in my particular world (and probably for anyone who uses a keyboard during their day to day work!). I spend a significant portion of my time with correspondence and writing blog posts like this one. Why wouldn't I want to upgrade my ability to perform this task and in the process save myself a considerable amount of time.
Continuous improvement opportunities are all around us. Our ability to recognise them, capture them, evaluate them and then execute them is the trick. Continuous improvement should be, after all, continuous - and with an abundance of ideas and opportunities at our finger tips there is no reason why this cannot be the case.
So, if your continuous improvement activities are still focused on a few occasional large 'innovation' projects then it might also benefit you to see what else you could do with the abundance of smaller opportunities that are all around you.
Author of Business Process Re-Engineering