Critical aspects of the Collaborative Innovation Framework

This week a collaborative innovation framework venture has been launched by Jeffrey Phillips at and myself, Paul Hobcraft at

They have opened up a wiki for anyone to join with the intention of building on these frameworks. This is at

This effort is seeking contributions, we want your engagement. It is deliberately open to be used, to be improved upon and to form a platform for a standard thinking through for innovation providing it works under the creative commons license it has.

For far too long innovation has been left to chance. We are interested in explaining the many facets that make up a successful innovation endeavor but it can be extremely tough to capture and explain the complexity of innovation. Innovation is dynamic and throwing open this set of models allows for it to be constantly improved for all to benefit.

Four Critical Slides

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The thinking behind creating an open collaborative innovation framework

I often get very frustrated at the huge loss of energy by many organizations on piecing together a more robust innovation structure.Somehow they lose it. They forget to think it fully through, rush to build some of the component parts and then spend a lot of their time, back filling or bridging the gaps they created in the first place.

I really would like to reduce this diffusion of spent energies, so these efforts are directed at the critical points of understanding within the innovation process, to drive through new initiatives in a sustaining way. If we can gain this depth of understanding by all, then there is this greater identification to the whole. Also we gain a better appreciate of the parts we are playing within the system to make a more positive contribution to growing your innovation activities in a clearer environment. It would improve innovation identification and outcome results.

So with this thinking behind us, Jeffrey Phillips at and my organization through, we began to talk through and exchange ideas and concepts for building a collaborative innovation framework. We wanted any end result to be open and freely shared with anyone. We wanted others to build on these early attempts to move, if we can, to a better standard. We recognized whatever we produced needed adapting to meet different circumstances but was generic enough to be recognized.

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A beta version of a Collaborative Innovation Framework

Jeffrey Phillips of Ovo and Innovate on Purpose fame, based in the US and viewed on , and I have combined to share a view of an innovation framework that aims to reduce many of innovations mysteries. We describe and prescribe to a set of innovation methods that we believe can greatly simplify the innovation process. Here we lay out the beta version of a collaborative innovation framework.

Jeffrey has commented on his blog, “We believe that framework can help reduce the mystery and develop a “standard” for innovation which enables more firms to innovate and accelerates adoption of innovation.  This is not to say that the model we are developing will be a “cure all” for every situation.  Any firm starting an innovation effort will need to adopt the model, then adapt it to its needs.  But by exposing the model and examining the different innovation “types” (business model innovation, open innovation, design-led innovation, service/experience innovation, etc) we can establish the validity of the approach and demonstrate that the model is a starting point for any kind of innovation effort.”

Over the next few days we are unveiling the approach at , with the article opening this discussion at: and also at coming out later in the week.

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Managing roadblocks within open innovation

I always find thoughtful lists as extremely helpful to prompt my thinking on different issues. It often helps to unblock my own thinking. This one is for open innovation.

One such list I compiled from mainly two sources on roadblocks to open innovation. The main source was Dr Brian Glassman. He wrote a paper “Open Innovation’s Common Issues & Potential Roadblocks with Dr Abram Walton. ( and different thoughts that I found as well worked through. The other source to make up this list was from P&G’s experiences gleened from different sources. Together I feel they make for a solid list of roadblocks or issues to think through. Let me share these:

Firstly the core need or use of open innovation

  1. Generating ideas for new products and services
  2. Solve technical problems that are vexing or to complicated or expensive to solve internally
  3. Co-development of difficult problems, services, products, technologies

Issues & Potential Roadblocks

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Walking that narrow innovation pathway.

Walking that narrow innovation pathway needs some rethinking.

The narrow innovation pathway

Innovation is the pathway to travel and seek out our future”

Today there is as much a gap between the aspiration to innovate and the ability to deliver on this. We still continue to ignore the constant suggestion that innovation should be systematic so the organization can provide some degree of reliability to innovate in a continuous fashion.

We often allow the concept of ‘holistic’ to simply float over us and ignore the intimate connection between strategic thinking, innovation and their alignment. It is still sad we seem not to go beyond a certain point in our innovation thinking, it continues along a narrow path of limited understanding. Will it ever change?

I appreciate the statement, I think made by John Kao: “Strategy is useless without innovation, innovation is directionless without strategy”. Innovation can be strategies catalyst but is it still? I really do believe we need a new sense of the scale and scope of innovation; we do need to get a firmer grip on its complexities.

I would certainly suggest we do need to align it far more to the organizations strategic imperative and recognize innovation’s role in this for this to be successful and to be repeatable. We must strive and push for more of a complete understanding of the innovation process to manage this thoroughly. Firstly innovation is never linear; it is iterative with lots of trial and error to learn from it. Continue reading

The new extended innovation funnel

The ideas funnel has been with us a long time. We put our ideas into the funnel and then through a process of elimination out ‘pop’s’ finished products. Henry Chesbrough’s famous depiction of the Open Funnel has continued that concept, that ideas enter the more ‘open’ innovation process and go through a more ‘staged gate’ or equivalent process to emerge as the finished product or even spun-out- all well and good.

In the past few weeks the funnel has been constantly coming back in my life. It has been bugging me. Recently I was at a European Innovation Conference and we got into a roundtable discussion on managing ideas and up pop’s the fuzzy front end and the funnel and putting ideas through this. To be provocative I said “well ideas are actually in the middle of the innovation process” and we got into a significant debate on this and concluded that we all did not share a common language on this or understanding of what I was struggling to articulate.

So let me lay out my view. Firstly this was not as inspired as an insight I can  fully lay claim too as mine. I had read somewhere this very point, ideas lie more in the middle of the innovation process but just could not remember where I had read it- grey cells are my excuse.

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The Antibodies Sitting in the Innovation Petri Dish

For many years I’ve been fascinated by these ‘Corporate Antibodies’ that we find in that classic management pathology that instinctively rejects and refuses to alter its ways, so as to protect itself.  The internal immune system somehow identifies and neutralizes often far too many foreign objects, ideas, concepts or solutions. In the medical world the antibody is a protein produced to protect the body’s immune system when it detects harmful substances, called antigens. Innovation to be successful has to immune itself from many ‘antibodies’.

Last week I was remind of this. I attended a good, insightful conference (  on open innovation and new business creation, along with 200 practitioners from large mostly European organizations. What struck me was the consistent reference to stopping the ‘culture’ of rejection; ‘killing off’ projects, the fear of not-invented here. I often felt some of the speakers themselves were actually reinforcing this antibody culture, yet they were leading the charge for more open innovation, the very force to eliminate this.

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