The four framing technique for critical innovation questions

Often we do get a little muddled on  our framing assessments for any innovation activity we are considering, and we then often don’t ask the appropriate questions at the right time.  I think there is a neat four box approach to this which hopefully you might see has value to your rating and judgements of the innovation opportunity.

The four framing criteria

  •        Formulation Principles
  •        Formulation Risks
  •        Execution Principles
  •        Execution Risks

So the need is to ask critical questions in given boxes of enquiry.

The four frame methodology for asking the right questions for new innovation activity

Short Descriptors of what makes up the questions within the different boxes

Let me provide a short description of each framing blocks briefly. I feel you can expand within these for your own four-framing approach.

Formulation Principles

These deals with a range of questions that should be asked at different stages of any innovation activity but are set out to establish the guiding approaches and scope.

  1. The Boundaries– how often do we set the boundaries for the way innovation should proceed, this question seeks the potential scope that can be explored.
  2. The Big Picture– often we miss the bigger picture as we delve straight into the problem or solution, having one can really help others see the potential and draw encouragement to expand on their ideas and contributions.
  3. Existing Demand– questioning what is currently available, getting a feeling for its present demand and what additional demand will be gained by you participating, if any
  4. Sequence and Clarity– the understanding of the sequence that innovation initiative should run through and providing the clarity as best as one can early makes for a more effective project.

Formulation Risks

These deal with the different stages of risk investigation so it is better understood early enough.

  1. Search Risk– the amount of time, energy and commitment needed to undertake any search
  2. Plan for Risk– the robustness of risk, outlining the minimum and tolerant points of any risk
  3. Scale Risk– addressing the additional cost of any subsequent scaling highlights issues early
  4. Business Model Risk– what impact does it have on the existing business model, what might need to be changed and the effect this can have

Execution Principles

These deal with the execution guiding structures and beliefs

  1. Overcome Diverse Hurdles– within any innovation there is complexity and diversity and knowing the possible options available to you early on allows for structuring the rules and governance
  2. Resolve Inhibitors– these need to address resources, time and clarify how the approach should be conducted
  3. Clarify Fit– if we don’t know the potential fit then we can make some real mistakes in execution
  4. Build execution into the thinking– knowing how you are likely going to execute can often determine the way you set about the task of innovating your solutions. Knowing the market capacity, channels, customer’s tolerances all come into play here

Execution Risks

These focus upon the risks associated with the different aspects of execution

  1. Organization Risks– the what are they as best as we can antiscipate and ideally updated as we learn more.
  2. Personal Risks– often we stick our necks out but it is sometimes wise to pause and reflect first
  3. Combined Risks– be this with a team group in loss of time, energy, reputation or in the partners you want to engage with for developing any innovation
  4. Lack of Uptake Risk– the downsides are often ignored as innovation is hyped up. By making a ‘reasonable; assessment of the risks of the effect of a poorer uptake and a range of scenarios’ allows for some deeper reflection and need to attempt a better forecasting range early enough.

So within each of these frames you are askng for a clarity on different critical questions that need clear seperation. I think it makes sense to ‘frame’ your questions from these different perspectives. What do you think?

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