Tag Archives: continuous improvement

The Marginal Gains Philosophy: How to Achieve Big Results Through Small Improvements

We all want to get better, some more than others, at whatever it is that we do. But, most fail and end up being average. Talent alone won’t make you great, but obsession will. Obsessing about the details, and focusing on getting better everyday.  How?

The case for continuous improvement

I think we can agree that continuous improvement is necessary for any kind of innovation. And, when you aim for continuous improvement, to the extreme, it is easy to notice those that don’t. Therefore, it also easy to notice strategies and approaches that won’t ignite innovation.

Case in point: The local newspapers in Tijuana.

Last week, we held a mini-conference in our office. We invited our buddy and Partner, Adrian Pedrin to come in and give us some insight as to what it takes to work in Hollywood. Before the event, to our surprise, we had inquiries from local newspapers to do an interview with him.

So, the next day after the event, we had El Mexicano interview Adrian. Here is the note:


Missing, is a lot of important details. It is no secret that the media will always publish what they think is important, not what you want. But, for the newspapers, this is also an area of opportunity. For those of you in the modern world who read WSJ, NYTimes, USA Today, Financial Times, BBC or any modern newspaper; what I’m going to tell you won’t be a surprise.

For example, why didn’t they post the interview in podcast format? Why didn’t they post the interview on the web? Having so much content available, why didn’t the use it?

These are all valid questions, and, in the modern world may be expected from a media company. Media companies can inform and shape people’s opinion with the content they publish, and, the way they publish it. That is why when I see local newspapers who haven’t caught up with the rest of the world, it causes me concern.

I’m not ranting about this because it was an event I organized. It isn’t about me, it’s about all of us.

Balance innovation and continuous improvement


All of us know that if you we want to make sweeping changes, we need to innovate. If done incrementally (in small improvements), it won’t attract much attention. FedEx became a success story as they changed people’s expectations (absolutely, positively overnight) of delivery services, delivered on their promise and charged a premium for it.  However, innovation projects are never “complete”.

Since then, FedEx has embarked on continuous improvement of their “absolutely, positively overnight” service. One such improvement is information sharing. Every shipper and receiver (or anyone with the tracking #) can find out exactly where the shipment is at a particular point in time. FedEx customers may not need all the information that they provide but making the information available will only enhance the credibility of the

One more point to note is that radical innovations are risky, too. Not all of them will succeed. So, you should ensure that there is a “tolerance” for failure at your workplace. Second, you should be willing to emotionally detach from this failure and embark on the next innovation project. Whenever an capm test succeeds, the next immediate step would be to put that project on a “continuous improvement” roadmap. Because no project is really “complete”.

In summary take a look at all the projects that are taking place in your life and it’s easy to categorize each one of them under “Innovation” or “Continuous Improvement”. If there are no innovation projects, there is a serious problem. If there are past innovation projects that are not  under a “Continuous improvement” plan, there is an issue too. The beauty is in balancing the Innovation and Continuous Improvement initiatives.


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