Developing talent to drive innovation

Talent for innovation visual 1I recently participated in a survey for APQC that was looking to identify the hot topics within product development and innovation. One or two hot spots surprised me, others less so.

In the round-up of results almost two-thirds of survey respondents have placed refining the identification of customer needs and remaining competitive in terms of profit at the top of their product development agendas. I like the increasing emphasis on identifying customer needs

Among the potential research areas respondents were asked about, they felt that developing talent to drive innovation was the most important. The second one was around rapid product development: How to Move Products to Market Faster.

The one that really caught my eye was organizations have allocated the most funds to improvement in developing talent to drive innovation. This is heartening but also a worry.

We need to really stop and think about this before spending further funds

I think before we jump into spending more funds on developing talent to drive innovation are our organizations that clear on what they want innovation to achieve? Growth is one but how? What type of innovation is needed, what are the implications? Have we created the right conditions? I could go on but spending to develop your talent to drive innovation you do need a good understanding of the what for and where this needs directing.

A second voice of concern also caught my attention

Also this week a conversation caught my attention that confirms this growing concern I have had that innovation is becoming a major strategic issue. It does seem Strategy and Innovation concerns have converged.

Recently Rita Gunter McGrath a Professor at Columbia Business School and certainly globally recognized expert on strategy in uncertain and volatile environments was discussing the three top hot button concerns at the leadership level of large organizations. She discusses this here with Booz & Co.

So what are hot button issues keeping our leaders up at night according to Rita McGrath?

The three hot buttons she is constantly hearing across organizations are firstly leaders feel their organizations have not got the right talent or skills in the right place to lead projects.

The second is around the struggle of innovation and growth, and they are simply struggling in how to do innovation. In Rita McGrath’s view the organizations do not have systematic systems in place, when organizations do innovation it tends to be ‘one offs’.

The third and final hot button at present at the strategic level is a lack of line of sight and worrying about what is actually going on. These are leaving leaders not comfortable to make clear, confident decisions.

So are we seeing the effects of how our organizations have been managed over the last few years?  Is it all coming home to roost? The leadership may worry over innovation and poor growth but it is in really in their hands to do something about it. Spending funds on developing talent to drive innovation is part of the equation but it is only part.

So how are we going to develop our talent for innovation?

Does the leadership of organizations ever listen or read about innovation in enough detail to understand all the implications, constraints and pieces to put into place? Have they recognized their role within developing innovation as a core discipline within their organizations?

To care about developing a clear, strong innovation set of capabilities you need to observe and reflect on what is causing poor innovation results. A significant portion of the blame is because the leadership, for whatever reason, simply does not get fully involved. They need to determine and build the innovation capabilities into the core of their organizations day-to-day operations. It needs to be recognized as a core competence alongside all others.

How often do we hear about the constant time spent on validating innovation, arguing the innovations corner, the pleading for more resources, the layering on of unnecessary structure, demanding impossible ROI’s and the intense focus on the short-term. Innovation is often just failing to connect into the mainstream of organizations, yet we are told our leaders are worried about growth, not having enough developed talent to manage innovation and the projects yet innovation is in their top priorities.

 Yet they worry over ‘line of sight’. Their third hot button

Of course they do, innovation is constantly being driven into the dark corners of the organization, it is being treated as opportunistic, like a light bulb you can turn on or off when it suits the whims and fickleness that our organizations leaders often seeking to respond to a crisis expecting innovation to dig them out of it. Innovation needs to become systematic.

Innovation needs far more serious attention at the top of our organizations, it needs strategic innovation leadership. Until leadership leads by focusing back on the longer-term, innovation is going to deliver continued disappointments. Also leadership in organizations requires stability to sustain and deliver on their initial promise.

Aligning leadership, the strategy needs with innovation activity.

Leadership needs to recognize their role in making innovation a more sustaining discipline. They need to give this a focus where they initiate and provide the essential strategic inputs into a well-designed innovation framework and ensure this is put in place.

To develop the talent to drive innovation you have to put into place all the conditions, structures and guidance this needs. I’ve written consistently about the need for this by suggesting the value of the Executive Innovation Work Mat approach.

Setting the strategic innovation framework through this work mat approach allows for the structure to be put into place that will develop the talent to drive innovation. It provides the conditions and strategic innovation guidance.

Resolution for innovation starts at the top.

If our business leaders want to resolve the present hot buttons of poor growth, sporadic innovation and achieve a clear line of sight as Rita McGrath is suggesting, then I’d suggest you take the time to read what I have written about this, here on this site by entering ‘work mat’ into the search box for starters.

Gaining better understanding of structuring and building innovation capabilities

Building innovation capabilities to drive innovation takes time. I would suggest you find the opportunity to read the ‘White paper’ or the foundation document on this innovation work mat. Also some of the supporting articles over at my Issuu dedicated page here, where you can find different papers that can be visually picked out by the one to six billiard balls to understand the thinking behind this framework further.

Try to answer the seven parts to the innovation leader’s litmus test or exploring the ten great intractables for innovation resolution.  Each prompts the thinking. Innovation needs to challenge prevailing organizational thinking. Innovation surprisingly enough does needs to be justified so as to build its sustaining business case . it is through this structuring you gain the serious attention of senior management for them to address the role they play within this innovation framing.

I would argue you need to make the innovation value proposition afresh

Then, and I am being deadly serious here, you need to go and actually sell what systematic innovation really means as a real value proposition to the leadership.

This VP needs to focus on what needs to be done to turn innovation into the engine of growth and through its strategic design, put in place the vehicle to attract and develop this innovation talent. You are tackling the leaderships hot buttons of concern.

Any development of talent needs a well-structured approach but you need to put in place an awful lot to really give the type of returns these ‘driving innovation’ needs. If leaders are worried about poor growth, disappointed with innovation and worry over ‘line of sight’ then innovation capability needs radically redesigning. Much of the present innovation is caught in a legacy trap, this needs overhauling. How will you think about addressing this?

Do you want to really develop the talent to drive innovation? If so then talk to me, I believe I can deliver a clear return on your investment of allocated funds.

Approaching innovation through fitness dynamics needs a structured approach.

This post follows on from my recent one of “the Innovation Journeyman.”  We do have a real journey still to travel to understand the dynamics within innovation. Here, I want to lay out a possible path that might advance us towards achieving this. This includes a fairly ‘intensive’ nine step approach outlined below.

The innovation fitness dynamics

The innovation fitness dynamics

What we do need to do is constantly evolve our innovation capabilities to perform in more dynamic and flexible ways. We need to acquire that consistent aim of achieving a more adaptable and adjusting approach to innovation in all its parts. We need to meet the changing circumstances and challenges  we are all facing to regain the real growth needed from our economies and organizations, making what we do at the same time, more sustainable. Delivering better innovation outcomes is central to this task.

Are we in a more Darwinian world perhaps?

I’d suggest that today innovation is caught up in the survival race, where the bolder ones are more innovation fit. We need many more organizations to get out of this survival trap and exploiting innovation in bolder ways.

So much of what we do is ‘static’ work, activities that are simply repeating what we have done time and again and gaining us little new knowledge. These activities on their own keeps us happily ‘treading water’ and does the job of locking us comfortably into the efficient and effectiveness clan mindset that most business organizations like to be constantly working in.

The harsh reality is this is becoming a very crowded, increasing uncomfortable place to be, as we reduce our capabilities to take risk, too invest, to take those decisions that create more radical innovation. The more we play ‘safe’ the more we run the risk of being disrupted. We are failing to leverage much of the liberating power within innovation. Is our business world today is it so predictable?  No, it is well and truly ‘dynamic’ and evolving.

There is an awful lot of creative destruction going on and I’ve also written previously about the Innovation Era: Creative Destruction or Destructive Creation where the replacement rate is constantly speeding up, we are facing more uncertainly and incoherence than ever.

We need to place the emphasis back on the “creative” innovation part and not the ‘destructive’ nature we have been moving towards recently. To achieve this we need to understand innovation far better than we currently do. This is partly where my exploring the dynamics of innovation through fitness landscapes comes in.

Knowing your innovation ‘stock’ and  ‘capital’ potential

We need to know our ‘innovation stock’, a large part of our wealth generating capital and where it can be best put to use. We are valuing the knowledge perspective far more and with this we are increasingly recognizing the importance of the intellectual capital that makes up the organization.

We certainly need to re-think many of the old world value delivery systems to assess organizations and make much more of a concerted effort to make innovation that renders different, unique value outcomes, that keep pushing the boundaries of strategic advantage within any business.

We need to ‘master’ our understanding of the skills, processes, routines, organizational structure and disciplines that enable firms to build, employ and orchestrate innovation as this is increasingly needed for participating in more complex open collaboration efforts. To achieve this, we first need to know ourselves and our capability to innovate, both the strengths and weaknesses.

So I’ve been busy mapping out a pathway to Innovation Fitness

Knowing your innovation fitness capabilities does provide a good understanding of your existing position and can, through a structured approach and programme, ‘point’ you towards the ones that you need to have that put you into that place of leveraging unique strengths, that clearly improve your innovation capability. These are the ones that are far more valuable and potentially dynamic.

The issue is today, do we know what are the critical capabilities to focus upon to improve the chances of greater innovation success? Each organization has limited resources to offer and it is becoming increasingly important to know where and with what these resources to maximise the capability to deliver a better set of innovation outcomes.

So within my own innovation ‘walkabout’ I made a significant step forward.

Sometime ago in one of my research phases, exploring around this subject, I came across a book written by Kim Warren on “Competitive Strategic Dynamics.”  Although I struggled on much within the content of the book, I did find the chapter headers as a useful ‘engagement approach’ for what I wanted to describe in my approach to identifying and working through the dynamics of innovation.

So after some adjustments and reworking of the activities within my ‘engagement approach,’  I came to nine steps within this process. These might change as I progress and learn but do lay out a process towards explaining, engaging and exploring how an organization can achieve an innovation fitness.

Included is a working through of the methodology to navigate and focus upon the appropriate capability points needed within each specific organization. This step process I believe gets you to the point of understanding what innovation capabilities  are a better ‘fit’ for purpose, to deliver on your innovation needs on a consistent, repeatable and evolving basis.

The Nine Steps needed for developing an understanding of your innovation capabilities to make them more dynamic.

1. Getting Started – Understanding the Needs & Imperatives of Innovation Fitness

  • Why we must travel this critical path for Innovation.
  • The meaning of dynamic capabilities and innovation fitness landscapes
  • Merging  the theory with practical reality to produce new outcomes and positive results.
  • Focusing on resources and performance – why is this important
  • The problem is knowing what we have and what we really need

2. The Fuel of Innovation Performance – the dynamics of innovation

  • A sharper, clearer focus on innovation resources to meet strategic need
  • What is known about resources to sustain, enhance performance
  • Knowing and aligning  your strategic criteria – for sound innovation approaches
  • Getting innovation within the right context of your business
  • Moving your resources in the right direction

3. Getting even more specific – quantification and qualification

  • Recognizing the building of scale, change rates and dynamics that happen over time and why we need to constantly build our innovation capabilities.
  • Developing the resources to meet the need – structured, focused, clarified by bringing out the necessary discussion.
  • An illustrative scenario for a directional innovation fitness landscape map
  • Recognizing resources can come beyond the firm and bringing these in successfully. Managing within a more open environment.
  • Achieving  mutual dependencies to support; recognizing the hindering ones
  • Being aware of  the impact of different scenarios in the management of innovation

4. Building the Innovation Fitness Machine – reinforcing feedback, identifying needs

  • Recognizing the current status, spotting emerging patterns, seeing spaces and gaps and identifying solutions.
  • Beginning the ‘adaptive walk’ to get to higher fitness points needed to compete.
  • Clarifying the complementary resources, looking to embed new routines quickly and set up follow through approaches.
  • Introducing natural tensions into the system to trigger ‘step change’
  • Resource dependence climate, culture, diversity, intensity and uniqueness
  • Reinforcing feedback – watching for dangers, managing the machine capacity, removing the brakes selectively
  • Shifting your resources need not deplete or force other people to compete for them – working through the tensions within teams and silos.
  • Matching resource dynamics with the innovation value chain & life cycle stages
  • Simulation modelling the ‘what ifs’ and ‘why’

5. The Strategic Architecture – designing the system to perform as needed

  • The step process for designing and executing the architecture design
  • Diagnosing performance challenges and road blocks – resolving, moving on
  • Lining up the solutions is not a linear process and needs careful management
  • Addressing the effects of intangibles in the Strategic Architecture.

6. The Hard Face of Soft(er) factors – the hidden power of intangible resources

  • Clarifying the impact of the intangibles and recognizing time, climate and conditions are significant contributors to innovation activities.
  • The different rivalry types: internal and external, inter department, inter projects and working through resolutions to these.
  • Reflecting feelings and expectations, addressing all the different needs
  • Measuring the tougher parts of intellectual capital
  • The real value of your intangible resources
  • Recognizing the value of hidden innovation and spotting its occurrence

7. Entering into Competitive Battle – the Dynamics of Rivalry, the Uniqueness of You

  • Recognizing, developing, capturing, transforming, avoiding and out – manoeuvring
  • Your point of choosing what, where, how and when to compete.
  • Building capabilities that are unique to you and hard to replicate
  • Building sustainability into the innovation equation as ongoing
  • Extending the turf, exploiting the situation, pushing beyond, seeking partners.

8. Building and Testing Capabilities to Perform

  • Measuring capabilities through different fitness levels and scale.
  • Learning to build capabilities as ‘ongoing’ and evolving for changing needs
  • Re-Structuring the process for dealing with the dynamics of change
  • Knowing the points of impact on performance to enable recognition and reality
  • Managing innovation performance progressively across the spectrum of business need through testing and extending capability learning.
  • Building from personal to team to organizational learning in measured steps
  • Recognizing the role of leadership, achieving strategic alignment and working on broadening out innovation competence at different organizational levels.

9. Keeping the innovation fitness wheels turning, keeping your eyes on the road

  • Resolution of conflicting goals, control and structure
  • Dissecting conflicting positions, resolving impasse
  • Knowing the limits of human engagement
  • Goals, controls and measurements can dominate and strangle
  • Keeping the measurements simple and clear
  • Managing innovation as a critical strategic resource
  • Merging the results into a greater alignment to Strategy and Approaches

The end result is looking to generate your fitness landscape

As you can see this is applying a very comprehensive approach, a fairly ‘intensive’ one. The parts within the structure might change, depending on circumstances and experiences. It is one that is more than likely an organizational wide applicable one. This might alter after some clear piloting, learning and experimentation.  Building innovation capabilities takes time; they are complex, highly structured and multi-dimensional. Any structured approach to tackling innovation takes time and considerable commitment.

Any learning involves sensing, seizing and then transforming. This is for me, still a work-in-progress, and what I outline here is not the ‘done’ deal but more a “beta” framework approach. What we do need to do certainly is to push innovation beyond the existing as innovation is today, as it is falling to live up to its promise. Knowing the critical dependencies for establishing a sustaining, successful innovation performance is somewhere we should strive towards in its understanding. I’m certainly moving down a decent pathway here I feel.

Each organization does needs to know its innovation fitness to thrive in the future

We are searching for what makes up the present system and what needs to be part of the future to create a ‘best’ innovation capability environment that is sustaining into the longer-term. Those that can be continually ‘orchestrated’ and constantly adapted to meet the strategic need.

We are striving towards a true ‘innovation coherency premium’ in design, knowing what makes up your core dynamic components. The outcomes are to know where to invest, what to dampen down and what aspects can evolve naturally and be ‘taken along’ as you focus upon the ones that are more dynamic and relevant to your innovation needs.

No journey is without pitfalls.

Finding the dynamic capabilities of innovation that ‘fit’ with the strategic needs of each organization will be different based on their own respective challenges and position. We need to stop simply copying others and create our own ‘dynamics’ to strengthen our own unique advantage points for sustaining our future. Do you want to become innovation fit?

The Innovation Journeyman

Continuing the innovation journey

Continuing the innovation journey searching for the framework to deliver the dynamics of innovation by focusing upon achieving a certain innovation fitness.

My  personal innovation journey started way back in 2001 when I got ‘hooked’ on innovation and what it could deliver in it’s impact into a business; for greater engagement within the organization and increased identification through their people, with the potential for learning and improving their capabilities.

Progressively I learnt about innovation, studied it as part of my Master’s degree and began to practice the parts others were prepared to pay me for, either to listen too, or offer advice.

This innovation journey took on a shape that eventually became 100% of my focus within my advisory practices at Agility Innovation Specialists and Hoca Consulting by systematically building my understanding of innovation and providing this knowledge to others through advisory, coaching, writing and mentoring services.

It still is a long continuous journey twelve plus years later.

I’m constantly learning, reading, absorbing and interpreting what I understand and then attempting to provide my thoughts to others, those willing to listen!

I’m comfortable in much, totally restless in so much more out there to explore and work through, so as to achieve potential solutions, through experimentation and prototyping until they become recognized as relevant and applicable.

Investigating, researching and reading all required a significant amount of time, all alongside needing to practice innovation, working to clients’ needs or pushing for their attention to changes taking place within the field of innovation management and what they needed to do about it.

Dynamic capability applied to innovation gained my increased attention

One area that caught my attention, many years back was the notion of “dynamic capability”, the organizations capacity to change its operation and adapt them to the environmental requirements in systematic and fruitful ways. Academic papers by Teece, Pisano and Shuen, by Eisenhardt and Martin and finally for me, Zollo and Winter, all fuelled my thinking at that time.

Winter suggested that organization change happens in two ways; the first is ad-hoc problem driven in our searches or the second is through the action of “stable patterns of activity aimed at creating or changing operating routines in pursuit of enhanced organizational effectiveness” offering the initial definition of dynamic capabilities. I’m up for the second, most organizations still often practice and treat innovation in ad-hoc ways.

What are dynamic capabilities?

These are the skills, processes, routines, organizational structure and disciplines that enable firms to build, employ and orchestrate intangible assets relevant to satisfying customer needs and which cannot be replicated by competitors. Enterprises with strong dynamic capabilities are intensely entrepreneurial, they adapt around business ecosystems, and they shape them through innovation, collaboration, learning and deep involvement.

I was really hooked. This started me on my hardest journey that began in 2008 around my pursuit of building a way to understand what makes up innovation capability and capacities within organizations. I needed to find a way to build, to integrate and configure internal and external competencies to address rapidly changing environments.

Much as Teece, et all, had outlined some years early the notion of this, there continues to lack decent, coherent solutions. Any suggestions I researched were often a little thin on the ground, in practical application but some of the concepts had a richness about them to sustain real interest in my continued pursuit to find a practical, enduring commercial solution to managing the dynamics within innovation. So this became part of my challenge and growing interest.

Moving from intent to cognizance and then application

So I was looking for designing something that gave a sustaining competitive in innovation advantage, that was shaped by the individual organizations specific asset position and where it needed to go and develop to get it to that stated strategic goal they required. This hinged on identifying the value points where resource configurations needed advancing once the gaps could be identified.

This journey has taken me all over the place. I have studied increasingly dynamic capabilities, innovation landscapes, absorptive capacity, where open innovation fits and then increasingly in this more open environment the need for collaboration, for networking, for orchestrating innovation to deliver what is needed, into the markets advancing on existing offerings.

My often interrupted journey was partly by design but also by lacking essential parts.

Since  the 2008 and 2009 period, where I had an incredible burst of energy into this whole area, I found I had to leave it, put it to one side for eighteen months or so. Sometimes you have to stop your searches and reflect a little. Any journey you do need decent resting and reflecting periods.

In 2011 I took up this quest again, yes quest is the right word, as it has both been long and a difficult search. I designed a framework, the innovation fitness landscape model and set up a dedicated web site for managing this at innovation fitness dynamics. This has bubbled along but was not the platform I expected or able to launch in the ways I’d ideally like. Something was still missing.

In this time I’d concluded that to identify the “dynamics” needed for innovation I’d need at least two levels of evaluation – the internal one where it seemed nine descriptors gave the necessary ‘thrusts’ to find the critical internal related aspects and the external one – more as the level of ‘degree’s’ of engagement for evolving the external related need. I was happier with the internal part, not so much with the external one.

I’ve completed some limited testing but by no means feeling I’m yet ready to really push out on this so a short period of digestion and thinking led to another hiatus until a few weeks ago.

So in mid 2013 I have taken up my innovation journey again, relating to innovation dynamics and fitness landscapes. There was a realization I was missing something. The innovation system I had been focusing upon was simply made up for the single organization and although I was consciously working on the external environment and recognizing their degree of importance, I was not  actually reflecting the really big changes going on in innovation today and in the near future, as I should have been. The changes taking place through more open, collaborative innovation. I was writing about it but not taking it fully into this dynamic framework of mine.

My recent ‘trigger’ has been the one word of “Orchestration”

I had not recognized the incredible power of “orchestration” needed in innovation. Of course it was there but it was not as ‘loud and clear’ in my thinking as it should have been. The blind spot had been my focus on pursuing this continual need to organize around innovation within an organization. Although this is as essential today there has been continued and rapid shifts taking place outside the walls and I was not capturing the dynamics of this well enough .

When we begin to want to orchestrate across external innovation networks we not only need to know ourselves extremely well, we also need to know what others can bring and what is missing. Networks are dynamic, the flow of knowledge, of capabilities and competencies all need somehow capturing. Recognizing this shift in my thinking, allowed me to pick up the baton again and begin to conduct all the different fragments and pull them together, into a different result.

I learnt also that innovation needs this growing orchestration, due to this increasing move from firm-centric to network-centric innovation. In my understanding of a orchestrator, he needs to manage the tempo, knowing where and when to cue in the different players (learning) and to inject the intensity into the performance. I was back on my journey recognizing the different passages and movements I’d been on, where all contributing into a final result. “Something” was coming together and I need to work through the new ‘score’ being played out.

We need to learn to identify, assimilate and exploit far more than ever, the value of knowing your innovation fitness, your dynamics and the terrain you wish to traverse in new innovation activity becomes even more critical. To create and to extract does clearly need to understand the what, why, where, when and how it needs to go about this.

The orchestrator needs to orchestrate.

To do this you must orchestrate the capabilities, to purposefully build what is needed to deliver the final result. I have reconfigured my thinking around what will influence the evolution leading from internal innovation capabilities to a whole ‘network’ of these. It still lies in how you purposefully build these capabilities and competencies up. Orchestration is fundamentally dynamic, full of uncertainties but the need is still to connect the parts.

The four dimensions for building capability to innovate are at the individual level, within teams, within the organization and within the dynamic set of networks needed at given times to solve innovation challenges. These capabilities need to possess mobility, appropriability, certain stability and the willingness to learn and build on the existing dynamics. Internal capabilities still need building but we also must work to identify those complementary capabilities across a fluid set of stakeholders to deliver a more complex innovation challenge.

Orchestration has for me become very important to my ongoing work on the dynamic innovation capabilities for recognizing your innovation fitness landscape and the gaps. These become even more of a challenge when different perspectives and competencies enter the mix.

We urgently need to understand the ‘dynamics of innovation’ even more. What is the local maximum, what can we work upon in transition, what we need to bring in for any future co-creation and what needs working upon within specific networks within the innovation capabilities and capacities needed to be applied.

The dynamic view of orchestrating is needed

The orchestrating of open innovation challenges is dynamic and we increasingly need to know the critical factors and their dependencies for delivering a collaborative innovation success. We need to not just know the appropriate resources, we need to work on the skills, processes, routines, organizational structure and disciplines that enable firms to build, employ and orchestrate intangible assets relevant to satisfying customer needs and which cannot be replicated by competitors, that delivers the new innovation needed through collaboration efforts.

My journey continues and I plan to outline in two separate and future posts, my journey approach for organizations to build dynamic innovation capabilities and a deeper outline of the growing importance of orchestration within managing innovation today and the future. Then I need to re-test my innovation fitness landscape framework to see if it does deliver the ‘dynamics’ in capabilities needed to extract better innovation outcomes.

At least I see an end in sight or is it a false ‘peak’ hiding the further journey I have to travel? Let’s see.

Using visuals to understand the business offering and its evolution.

I do so enjoy doing a wordle (www.wordle.net), they make you feel a whole lot clearer on what and where any focus might be, or has been, from a perspective of my business and how it is evolving in content and areas of value for any innovative offering to clients.

Towards the end of a calendar year I like to always look back and reflect, to see where my innovation activities have headed. Did they add value, did they move innovation and my thinking forward? I think initially exploring these within a wordle does help make the critical focal points stand out. So here are mine that reflect where I am in what I am exploring and looking to increasingly work with clients upon. I thought I’d share the evolution of how this is evolving, I hope positively for all concerned.

Firstly the primary focus within my innovation offerings

What does this say to you? For me it keeps reminding me to keep pushing and searching for unique differences, it constantly recognizes it is the relevant jobs-to-be-done that should make up the activity I investigate and want to engage with through my advisory and consulting work. All clients do have unique issues to resolve as their circumstances are always different yet there are common framing points to engage around.

Where I place my present advisory focus to offer innovation value to clients

The other wordles I put together is on the blogs I’ve written during the course of the last three years to see if i can detect an evolution. These have seemingly gone through three critical phases, in 2010, in 2011 and to-date in 2012.

Starting with the latest year of 2012- seeking engagements and the work mat

The focal points in 2012 that I worked upon to provide a unique innovation perspective

This has been far more about engagement, in seeking out through the executive innovation work mat and other activities. This work mat approach is an extension on earlier work on exploring different types of innovation and recognizing organizations continue to struggle in aligning their innovation activities to the strategies and goals and these frameworks are trying to reduce this often series of mismatches and then not delivering to the needs of both the organization and the final consumer, innovation that makes a valuable difference.

2011 was more a focus on collaborative, building and exploring options

More collaborative and framing innovation to take forward

Then in 2010 we put in some of the building blocks around understanding the client’s business and the solutions for these

Much more focused on the value of the Business Model and putting innovation in its appropriate context

I think this reflective view in visuals helps me formulate what comes next, in 2013. What patterns can be seen, what needs to be developed even further? That needs to be worked through in the coming month so early 2013 I can begin to explore the new aspects drawn from this and other analysis I’m undertaking. These then should ‘translate’ into a new vein of blogs and articles that continues to explore the DNA of innovation.

Anyone got some observations from these? I’d like to hear them.