Benchmarking can be a very powerful tool for innovation. I use it very often and it has really to be mastered if you want to avoid falling in usual traps.
Why should innovators and/or project managers benchmark?
I think that most innovators and PM benchmark even without noticing it.
Good pratices identification, sharing of experience, identification of patterns etC… the goods of benhcmarking is not to demonstrate (and there are some more than the ones I have listed here)
As we all know, innovation begins with curiosity. When you benchmark you are actually the most curious woman/ma on earth.
Positionning you and your company among your peers is the most important thing both as an innovator and as a project manager as you have to understand wether you are in good shape and in a good dynamic or if you are close to fall down in the precipice.
What are the common mistakes in benchmarking?
I personnaly use benchmarking for several needs. Each of those topics have their own tricks and issues but one common should be named now:
It is not because it is Google that it will work at home
Meaning that it is not because one practice work perfectly in another company that it will make you the next worldwide leader on your market. Your organisation has its own culture and history, its own employees with their strength and weaknesses, it own processes and own clients. Never forget to take care of that when trying to import something that works outside inside your own company.
How to leverage on benchmarking efforts?
I used always the same approach when benchmarking a company or a internal project etc…
One has to be very humble when benchmarking, humble but visionnary. This very nice process seems to be better than yours but you are not bad and changing will certainly add more troubles than benefis.
- Brake, brake, brake.
Always try to espace/avoid/run far from the Wahou effect. A nice presentation, a friendly talk, amazing results on the bottom line are signs that you have to study the situation, not 100% to apply it.
- Always in question
The real question you have to ask yourself always and always is:
How will I create special value out of that
That is the only mantra you should have in mind.
Benchmarking is a tool that is very powerful to innovate within your company or your project. You should use it as much as possible with regards to the above issues.
And you, do you see more issues and good practices regarding benchmarking?