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.

The aim of attempting a collaborative innovation framework came from this opening exchange between us.We are keen to have a growing contribution so we can establish the validity of the approach and demonstrate that the model is a starting point for any kind of innovation effort.

To this end we have set up a wiki for this and encourage anyone wanting to contribute or simply be involved to register and join in any discussions to advance this collaborative effort. This is at

We submitted these concepts for unveiling our approach at, with the opening article on this discussion at: and also at that is found here We want to engage also our own network of practitioners and draw in the broader innovation community wherever we can. We want the ‘wisdom of the innovation crowd’ with your help.

Outlining our approach

We decided that it has to remain as simple as it can. The results published initially are a series of PowerPoint presentations not dressed up as ‘sexy, all bells and whistles’ but basic in delivering the appropriate message. We broke down the thinking into three slide decks as we felt you can become overwhelmed and lose the many separate messages that make up the total collaborative innovation framework. Let me explain the three decks briefly:

The first, Innovation Business Architecture, starts by “peeling” the innovation onion.  We recommend starting at the strategic level, and working down through several other “layers”, including people and processes.

The goal of this first model is to deconstruct the important drivers and influencers which will direct innovation activities. What is important is to recognize your anchor points for ‘doing’ innovation. The strategic need and what we call the orientation points or anchors. The purpose of the IBA deck is a deconstruction that will suggest an innovation framework.

The second presentation, Core Innovation Reference Framework, builds on the first presentation by using the deconstructed model to identify five “areas” of focus for innovation success: Strategic Context; Trajectories, Discovery and Insight; Systematic innovation Process;  Go to Market; and Enabling and Scalable Infrastructure.

These five “areas” of focus for innovation detail how the firm sets strategy (Strategic Context) for innovation, how it gathers insights and trends (Trajectories), how it prepares products for the market (Go to Market), how it enables and scales innovation activities internally and externally and how it conducts systemic innovation activities consistently. Any innovation process must map back to these suggested five focus areas and fully considered.

The third presentation, Examination of Innovation Types, examines a range of innovation “types” within the context of the innovation framework defined in the Core Innovation Reference Framework deck. Using the framework we can establish which focus areas are critical for innovation success in the different innovation types.  For example, we can see that Needs-based innovation relies on Trajectories, Discovery and Insight for success because of the importance placed on customer needs.

Investigating the innovation “types” within the framework provides more detailed and careful examination of the actual work involved when innovating using that “type” or approach. There are really numerous key differences between the different ‘types’ of innovation, distinct attributes to successful deployment.

These can be also viewed at slideshare as well as on the two leading innovation sites of and and we suggested best viewed in this ‘given’ order:

The importance is in the potential takeaways

We believe that creating a common innovation model or framework will have a number of benefits, for innovation practitioners, for companies and for innovators.  It can become the common reference point to build from. It can be used repeatedly to refresh and validate changes in thinking and can allow us all to move on from focusing on the process of innovation to the leveraging of the innovation process- a huge step in our opinion.

Who gets value from this?

For a corporate innovator or practitioner, a common innovation model provides a clear starting point for innovation, developed and validated by a number of innovation experts.  This common model accelerates acceptance internally and reduces the work necessary to clarify and implement an innovation approach.  The model also demonstrates what factors must be considered when innovating, which helps define the investments and constituents involved.

For a company or organization considering an innovation initiative or program, a common innovation model removes uncertainty around innovation, provides more clarity, and helps establish the parameters of the effort. It highlights the areas of the business impacted by an innovation effort, and dives specifically into the needs and requirements by innovation “type”.  A common model also eliminates the confusion caused by competing consultants, theories and philosophies.

For innovation consultants or advisors, a common innovation model creates more business since clients can articulate their needs more easily through a common innovation model.  Reducing confusion and uncertainty more firms will conduct more innovation work more frequently, leading to more business and more innovation.  Work moves from process to outcomes, giving better returns.

What we are asking of you- the next steps

We ask that you review and think through the innovation approach we’ve documented.  As you consider these models, please recommend updates, edits or additions to the model, with special focus on the Core Innovation Reference Framework and the Examination of Innovation Types.

You are encouraged to send your feedback, updates or enhancements to any part of the model to:

Paul Hobcraft of Agility Innovation                                 


Jeffrey Phillips of OVO Innovation                                  

We will publish updates to the model and we encourage active discussion and commentary on the Collaborative Innovation Reference Framework at the dedicated Wiki:

We encourage you to visit, join and comment so we can build on this further. Innovation needs to move on, we do need to rethink how we can leverage innovation more, not spend the present enormous amounts of resources, energy and debate on achieving a basic understanding.

We must leverage innovation for our collective futures and not stay bogged down in deciding the innovation process on a piecemeal basis.

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