The value of an innovation in corrective and preventive action (CAPA) management is completely dependent on its practical application as a solution. But the quality sphere has no use for innovation purely for innovation’s sake.
According to quality guru Ken Peterson, sometimes the best tactic for going beyond rudimentary CAPA management is to ignore the past and invent the future. In an enlightening white paper and corresponding two-part webinar series, Peterson shows how analytical thinking and creative ideas can be combined to develop new solutions that have practical applications. The key, he says, is not letting an investigation mindset take over the “innovation mind.”
Peterson, a veteran quality management architect who has dedicated decades of expertise to improving processes at companies like IBM and Pfizer, asserts that the bulk of quality event management efforts are too often focused on analyzing failures. He suggests that organizations are typically so busy conducting rudimentary CAPA investigations into the causes of problems that they ignore less apparent or unorthodox problem-solving options.
Innovation begins with a concise statement of intent that clearly articulates your objective, according to Peterson. It’s the inverse of the “problem statement” approach: instead of clarifying what has gone wrong, focus on articulating what you want to go right. Not until you’ve fine-tuned this central objective statement can you begin to refine the vision of your expected results and start shaping the criteria that will guide your prospective solution.
As human beings, our first impulse is usually to jump in and immediately slap Band-Aids on problems whenever they occur. In quality scenarios, though, this impetuous approach tends to backfire. Making a conscious effort to establish design requirements as the first phase of problem solving — before bias has any chance to creep into your analysis — is the initial key to the successful development of a deployable solution that can meet the demands of both management and the market. Any subsequent modifications or adaptations that may be required can always be made down the road if conformity or risk issues become apparent.
To avoid the pitfalls that commonly occur with half-baked quality management solutions, Peterson posits the following four questions to inspire innovation:
Peterson recommends implementing a mind-mapping technique to effectively categorize ideas into natural categories that make it easier to sift through mass quantities of data. This methodology begins by first asking critical, prescriptive questions that incorporate a holistic view of the matter for which a solution is needed. Once a framework for a viable solution has been developed, it can be compared with the established design requirements and further refined. If there are compulsory criteria, adjustments can be made to accommodate the solution’s critical elements to prevent potentially significant problems down the road.
Enjoying this article? You may also enjoy this White Paper:
Advancing Beyond CAPA Using Innovation for Growth and ImprovementDownload Free White Paper
To take an innovation from a seed of an idea to a full-fledged solution, Peterson recommends following six sequential steps for evaluating, categorizing and executing new initiatives:
To create an innovation-friendly environment and a reproducible practice for developing creative solutions, Peterson says organizations can successfully satisfy the “core principles of effectual innovation” by duplicating the following three-stage process:
Peterson encourages organizations to continually maintain a growth-focused mentality when attempting to develop innovative solutions. “Remember that you may just learn more through your efforts when you fail occasionally than you might have if you succeeded initially,” he says. “Not every solution needs a problem.”
For a further examination of creative tactics for enhancing the CAPA solution development process, you can access both parts of the “Advancing Beyond CAPA Compliance Using Innovation for Improvement and Growth” video series here. Audio recordings of the presentation are also available in podcast format (Part 1, Part 2). To fully explore Peterson’s six-phase innovation methodology and learn more about his pioneering CAPA advancement techniques, download the white paper.