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  • Writer's pictureArmin Honarasa

Value Innovation, the way forward! How utilise ISO 9001 to achieve this?

Innovation is a big topic for contemporary organisations if they want to stay ahead of the competition and go through instabilities caused by factors out of the organisations' control.

While many companies spend a lot of time and funds on new technologies in their immense R&D departments, only a few of those have actually become mainstream and something customers care about or use. Think about Google Glass as an example, it was a great technological innovation but had little value to customers as it wasn’t something they could see any value in. It was heavy, not practical and hard to use. So it was abandoned despite a massive amount of money and time spent on its development.


people have meeting to discuss customers needs

It takes us back to the point that organisations must focus more on value innovation.

This is not about overthrowing the technology research or its innovations. Yet, we try to say even technology-focused innovation should have a customer-centric approach that focuses on creating unique value propositions for customers by identifying and addressing their unmet needs and desires. It emphasises understanding customer preferences, pain points, and aspirations, and then designing products, services, or business models that deliver superior value.

By prioritising customer-centricity, value innovation ensures that technological advancements are utilised to create meaningful and relevant solutions that resonate with customers. In contrast, technology innovation may focus primarily on developing new technologies without a deep understanding of how they can be applied to meet customer needs.


How the Quality Management System/ISO 9001 can boost Value Innovation?

Companies, big or small, increasingly devise quality management systems or ISO 9001:2015 principles for their day-to-day operations. Whilst the main focus of these companies or even auditors is on the risk-based approach of the standard, there are other clauses in the standard that can lead to value innovation and Sustainable Competitive Advantage for those organisations. Let us look at some of these standard clauses that can prompt value innovation.

Clause 6.1 of the standard talks about Risks & Opportunities. Obviously, we are talking about the risks and opportunities relevant to the context of organisations. Although leaders and top management concentrate more on the risks part of this clause, it is necessary to identify opportunities that can lead to the companies’ sustainable growth. These opportunities are in line with clause 5.1 “Customer Focus”.

“Customer focus involves determining customer requirements and ensuring that processes exist to meet the requirements and achieve customer satisfaction. Enhance customer satisfaction by ensuring that customer requirements are identified.”

Hence, we can see the importance of customer input in the standard and how it shapes the organisations’ long or short-term objectives and overall Quality policies.

In addition to the above clauses, it is importantly notable that Clause 8 of the ISO 9001 standard is about customer input, understanding and implementing customers' requirements, designing and developing according to the customer's specifications, and in general putting customers first in the process of design and development.

Needless to say, the continuous improvement clause of the standard gives organisations a roadmap to always look for better opportunities and more value to their customers.

Undoubtedly, ISO 9001 brings lots of structure and sets a great master plan for companies, but the full context of this standard potential to enhance value innovation in the organisation occasionally be neglected by the companies' top management and decision-makers.

While technology innovation is undoubtedly important and can enable significant advancements, value innovation complements it by ensuring that technological advancements are leveraged to create meaningful value for customers. By prioritising customer-centricity, as described above and instructed by the ISO 9001 standard, value innovation provides a comprehensive framework for organisations to thrive in a rapidly changing business landscape.

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