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In the world of today the knowledge, change, technology, innovation has played a very important role in the progress of almost all horizons and spheres of the world. It has played a key role and improving the standards of life in almost all parts of the world. The management of resources and manpower has made a difference in making the world more innovated, renovated, and mechanized. The outburst of inventions and different technologies has made this entire globe a wonderful place.
The quest and need for innovation have become ever more evident in today's corporate world. Innovation opens up for common organizational understanding of the concept, and hereby more understood reasoning for managerial decisions and allocation of resources (David, 2006). The challenge of making all parts work together is becoming increasingly harder which can sometimes hinder implementation of new innovative features (Joe & John, 2001).
An innovation means, the introduction of something new. In terms of business it can more intensely be explained as the continuous process of developing ideas and business opportunities into commercially viable initiatives (David, 2006).
Over the years, organisations have indeed become increasingly aware of the need for innovation. Several have tried to tackle the issue by introducing innovation programs, innovation work flows, innovation processes and other structures in order to take control of an area which was previously through of as something free-flowing and uncontrollable (Constantive & Patric, 2009).
The Old management maxim such as you can't manage what you don't measure, and what gets measured gets done" imply that it is vital to also measure innovation in order to manage it.
Change is very important in this modern world in order to achieve the goals and objectives of an organization. In a period of rapidly changing technology and shortening product life cycles, ability to develop and diffuse successful innovations had become a key of competitive strength. Organizations are seeing the importance of change in their business (Colin, 2007).
We live in an age of transition. One of the few things of real performance in our world is change. It has become an important fact of our life. Change is an inevitable in a progressive culture (John, 2007).
In the modern world, technology has revolutionized the life as a whole. The merger of general technology with computer software has given the competitive advantage of innovation to the organisation with initiative (Joe & John, 2001). Transport industry is no exception to this change. In this paper, I will make an endeavour to explore the connection between technological changes and innovation and how this has affected 'Network Rail' in particular.
When people think about travel they think of trains. They do not think about the infrastructure of the train network. This consists of railway tracks, signalling systems, countless bridges, viaducts, embankments, cuttings and tunnels and level crossing. Independent companies were able to build the first railways in the 19th centuries. The government took control of the railway industry in 1948 and British Rail managed it. The privatisation of industry took place in 1994, and its services were franchised to train operating companies such as First Group and Virgin. A new plc (private limited companies) called 'Railtrack' took the responsibility for the infrastructure.
"The government transferred business and assets of 'Railtrack' to a new not-for-dividend company - Network Rail. Network Rail is a company limited by guarantee with a Board of Directors but no shares or shareholders. Instead, it has unpaid members (stakeholder) who monitor performance and check standards of corporate governance" (www. Thetimes100.co.uk). These members are taken from the rail industry and the general public. These members do not have any financial or economic interests in the company. All the profits of the company are available for re-investment in rail network.
In October 2002 they took responsibility for running Britain's railway and at that time around 78.6% of trains ran on time.Â Â In 2007-08, the punctuality of trains reached around 90%.Â The joint communications process which established with the train operators was the main element in this success (www.networkrail.co.uk).
In this seven years since 2002, they have renewed:
Switches and Crossings
2627 full units replaced
Network Rail owns, operates, maintains and develops the main rail network in Great Britain. "When Network Rail was created, it needed to invest in the tracks and services. Since 2002, it has made many improvements. For example, in 2005, it replaced or repaired over 700 miles of rail"(www.thetimes100.co.uk). In 2007-08, a company invested £500m to improve capacity and reduce journey times. In March 2009, "the company had carried out £2.44 billion worth of development plan including the addition of new platforms, lengthening the platforms, laying new tracks, increase the line speed limits, and increase the capacity through main re-signalling scheme" (Networkrail.co.uk).
Network Rail is accountable to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) for compliance with the obligations under the network licence, which authorises the company to operate the main rail network. The ORR acts as the railway industry's economic and safety regulator and is independent of HM Government. The Network-Rail also work closely with other stakeholders like passengers, Environment Agencies.
Network Rail is a member of Rail Net Europe (RNE), which is an organisation of 34 (33 full members and 1 associated member) rail infrastructure managers across Europe. Its main aim is to facilitate cross-border rail traffic. RNE encourages its members to adopt a common document structure for their respective Network Statements. The purpose of this is to provide standards of user-friendliness, customer orientation and to assist those who need to consult more than one statement for their intended operations.
Network Rail represents a new beginning, a new vision and a new way of delivering Britain's railway. Company isÂ investing inÂ its workforce and introducing new technologies. There are around 35,000 of staff at Network Rail and they are working hard to improve every aspect of the railway. The company have made enormous progress over last seven years.
Approach Adopted and the Implementation Mechanism
In 2003, "Network Rail introduced the 125mph New Measurement Train, a significant engineering breakthrough, which provides data on the condition of the track, overhead power lines and signals using advanced monitoring systems including scanners, lasers and cameras.
The introduction of the Train Protection and Warning System has reduced the risk of signals being passed at danger now by over 90%"(www.Networkrail.co.uk).
In 2008, "company began pioneering a new signalling and train control system which relays digital information directly to the train driver's cab, avoiding the need for drivers to check trackside signals.Â We are hoping this will allow more trains to operate by reducing the time delay between trains" (www.Networkrail.co.uk).
Recent Innovation Adopted by the Company
Security is very important part of any business and organisation and in this world and in the present conditions security became necessary. EMS is the Electronic Monitoring System which is being used by the network rails to ensure that they are well aware about the customer's security.
Electronic Monitoring System replaced the old manual security system which was using by staff of the network rails before. The old system had lots of lop holes in that and all the staff was very much aware of that lop holes and they were always taking advantages from the system they were not performing their tasks according to the manuals they even did not visits the sight and just sign the register that they have petrol the sight and everything is ok some time some of the staff was signing twice or three time that they don't want to come again and petrol the sight. So that was all happening there which was not acceptable by the management. So they changed their system by bringing the Electronic Monitoring System, now after this system has been installed staff has to do the petrol around the stations and every staff is register with their finger prints so where ever they go, they have to give their finger prints by that system can easily access the person is doing his job properly.
Triggers for Change in Technology at Network Rail
Advancement in technology is necessity of time. Same like other companies all over the world, Network Rail is also doing the same thing, enhancing the technology. Network Rail's business is very sensitive and risky because it deals directly with the general public. There are many internal and external triggers which are triggering Network Rail to make advancement in technology.
Internal changes can be seen as responses or reactions to the outside world are regarded as external triggers. There are also a large number of factors, which lead to what are termed internal triggers for change. Organization redesigns to fit a new product line or new marketing strategy are typical examples, as changes in job responsibilities to fit a new organizational structure (Parton & Calman, 2008). Following are some of the internal triggers:-
Prevention of Accidents
Reduction in Operational Risks
Work Force safety Risks
Managing Change Safety
Introduction of New Technology
Risks Associated with Changes to the Timetable
Improvement in Infrastructure
External Triggers of Change
Change is playing a main role in the development of all kind of business world especially in technology and innovation. In some situations the change is very important element within the organization such as technological advancements which are being utilized by different organizations in order to cope up with the competition.
Why organization does make change and what are the factors for undertaking it. According to (Parton & Calman, 2008) the most influential factor in changes in organizations is the external environment which instigates reaction. Following are some of the external triggers:-
Weather and seasonal preparedness
Change and innovation strategy
Change in the communication media
Changes in societies, value systems
Change and Innovation Management
Change is the only constant process, which exists in organizations. An effective organization is one that takes deliberate steps to manage change smoothly. The most important aim of change management is to achieve commitment to change. (Bernard, 2009)
The change process starts with an awareness of need for change. An analysis of this situation and the factors that have created it leads to a diagnosis of their distinctive characteristics and an indication of the direction in which actions needs to be taken. It is necessary to decide how to get from here to there. During the change process, there are many problems emerge and have to be managed. These problems can include resistance to change, low stability, high levels of stress, misdirected energy, conflict and loss of momentum (www.planetpaper.com)
Strategic change and Innovation
Strategic change is concerned with wider, vast and long term issues of organization along with purpose and mission of an organizations, strategic change also cover other matters such as growth, quality, innovation and values concerning people , the customers need served and the technologies employed. Strategic change takes place within the context of external competitive, economic and social environment. (Armstrong, 2008)
Operational Change and Innovation
Operational change relates to new systems, procedures, structures or technology that will have an immediate effect on working arrangements within a part of the organisation
Opportunity, Threat, Crisis, Clarify,
Define the Future
Challenges, Excitement, Innovation
Persuade, Recruit Disciples,
Detail the Structure
Maintenance and Renewal Layer
Sustain and Enhance Belief
Reinforce and Justify
Regression Avoidance (Ritual)
(Puton & McCalman, 2008)
Trigger Layer: (Analyse what is trigger, what is causing change)
"Concerning the identification of needs and openings for major change deliberately formulated in the form of opportunities rather than threats or crises" (Randall, 2004). For example, poor trigger communication and identification processes are best seen, first of all employees knows of the difficulties facing the organization is when employees are called in to talk over redundancy terms (Puton & McCalman, 2008). When people are generally wants to deal with change, many managers cannot understand this because they are scare that change is connecting with some organize of failure and they want to hide the change (Puton & McCalman, 2008). However, these triggers need it for expressed and communicated during the organization in clear terms and identifiable terms. For example, "the trigger in many organizations is often a crisis, but it does not necessarily have to be a threat and people will respond to the challenge of a crisis but may react negatively to a threat" (Puton & McCalman, 2008).
Vision Layer: (Analyse what are solutions)
"Establishing the future development of the organization by articulating a vision and communicating this effectively in terms of where the organization is heading" (Randall, 2004). The vision must be clearly and communicated (Buchanan & McCalman, 1989). Management has three criteria about the future. The first, "change is seen to provide an effective response to the events triggering change" (Puton & McCalman, 2008). Second, management wants make a plan about future condition of the organization in terms of its design, products and goals. Third, management wants to change is assisted by a climate of enthusiasm and participation; "resistance is a result of fear, prejudice, anxiety and ignorance" (Puton & McCalman, 2008).
Conversion Layer: (Make the change)
"Setting out to mobilize support in the organization for the new vision as the most appropriate method for dealing with the triggers of change" (Randall, 2004). "Everyone involved in making change work has to feel part of it and accept the reasoning for the vision and how this is to be realized" (Puton & McCalman, 2008). Managers have needed to get involved in two criteria. First, the planning team is there, the main core change unit. "The most appropriate mechanisms here will depend on the organization and its consultation systems" (Puton & McCalman, 2008). Second, managers need to talk people about the change at every opportunity, formal or informal and this establishes a shared understanding of the change programme during discuss (Puton & McCalman, 2008).
Maintenance and Renewal Layer: (Ensure the changes are made)
"Identifying ways in which changes can be sustained and enhance belief, reinforce and justify change and avoid regression by using, say, ritual" (Randall, 2004). This layer has four main examples. First, the events starting change in the first place fade in the memory or lose relevance over time (Puton & McCalman, 2008). Second, when the originators move on, articulation of the vision becomes less expressive and "some are likely to leave the organization, or to progress to other divisions" (Buchanan & McCalman, 1989). Third, who feel less committed to the ideas and have to be taken through the reasons for, the triggers, and responses to (Puton & McCalman, 2008). Fourth, this factor mean, radical change "settles down", as it becomes accepted and "normal" and people with increased expectations and aspiration levels start to anticipate further developments (Buchanan & McCalman, 1989).
Resistance to change
Resistance is a usual and predictable companion of organisational change. Resistance is always rational, though it can be expressed emotionally or irrationally. It is often resisted at both the individual and organisational level. Resistance to change can take many forms and it is often difficult to point out the exact reasons (Joe & john, 2001).
Conclusions and Recommendations
A larger organization has added new challenges such as communication and knowledge sharing between departments and groups causing the innovation power to decrease. Most innovations that have been created despite of the internal problems are deferred or cancelled since there is no way to cope with the increased complexity of the system caused by it. Without innovation organizations will lose market shares to competitors. Another effect of a more complex system and more people working with it is that change in technology and change caused by innovations have been harder since more people needs to be involved in decisions and it affects more parts. Although the ability to be able to change with new technology or with new innovations is important it has been identified in the organization to be less important than to be able handle complexity of the system (Blundell, 1999).
Large changes in technology are rare and when it happens there is usually a new project dealing with it rather than changing the existing system. As stated above new innovations rarely make it to the final product. This is likely why it is not experienced to be a problem.
The organizational structure, tools for development and development model used in the research and development department of the organization studied here have its' roots in a time before computers were used. It was ok for some time but has now been identified to be an area of improvement. A development model can be described as a high level view of the steps that are taken during the development from requirements to the final product.
Development department of the organization to handle complexity of the system and innovation better.
Puton & McCalman, (2008), Change Management, Sage Publications Ltd, London, England. P-10
Armstrong, (2006), How to be an even Better Manager, Kogan Page Publishers, P-144
Mullins J. (2007), Management and Organisational Behaviour, Pearson Education Ltd, London, P-737
(Buchanan & McCalman, 1989).