A continuous collaborative improvement process will become the next generation of a continuous improvement process, it is the incorporation of collaboration across your extended partner network to deliver continuous improvements.  In other words it is collaboration in the delivery of the improvements across your extended partner network.  This process will allow you and your partners to harness the powers of collaboration to increase the velocity and value in delivering improvements and initiatives.  The combination and incorporation of collaborative practices into your continuous improvement programs provides the opportunity to harness the strengths of your partners into the delivery of initiatives and the value for your network is the cross-network benefits that are shared across the network. 

This all sounds like a very optimistic case of ‘rainbows and unicorns’ in your business and partner network.  In order for this to be successful though it will require a great deal of communication, coordination and negotiations across your partner network in order to first develop the collaborative improvement process and then to maintain a collaborative improvement program.  This all starts with the definition of the concepts and the agreement from your partners regarding a set of collaborative principles that will guide the program.  The first step required though is the understanding and interest of your partners.  Once the interest is generated, the next step is developing the principles that will provide the guidelines and methods to working together, making decisions and more importantly to implementing modifications to the process.

The long term viability and success of the continuous collaborative improvement program requires a robust and set of principles that grow and change with the growth and changing requirements of your collaborative network.  This requires a process to review and modify the principles to meet the changing needs of the collaborative network.  This need not be cumbersome or overly complicated or invasive, you must though have a method for your network to evaluate and update the principles as necessary.  These principles are important because they provide the base reasons for your partners to participate and commit to the program.  These principles provide your partners with the assurance that their participation will deliver value and more importantly they also ensure your partners that their concerns and requirements will be taken into account when evaluating improvements.  Without these principles the network partners will be reluctant to participate and share in a manner that will deliver the greatest value.

Robust collaborative principles will provide the guarantee that participants will be heard and will have the opportunity to reap the benefits of the improvements.  This will start as a difficult exercise initially and will become easier to maintain as your partners accept and participate in the process.  This requires care and feeding to maintain though and your principles and guidelines should call this out to ensure compliance.  Your principles will encourage collaboration and your partner collaboration will improve your principles, this is the growth and maintenance objectives that you must support.

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?