Are you engaging with all the different voices around you?

How do we manage future discussions

Having different perspectives and voices will enhance your innovation activities, they provide diversity, stimulus and greater options for you to consider the future innovation journey. How do we set about engaging with all these different voices surrounding innovation?

Have you ever worked with the three horizon framework?

It is really useful for managing your innovation activities, drawing out the often conflicting voices within the organization on how to take innovation forward. The approach can unlock you from just being caught in the present, to one of envisaging a future that then allows you to begin to build different capabilities, competencies and capacities.

Find out more here and here and here on the three horizons or within this blog site put “three horizon approach ” into the search box. You will find  I have provided a considerable overview in different posts thoughts on the 3H thinking and why I place such value in it for innovation’s evolution.

The 3H framework offers a perspective that accepts the need to both address the multiple challenges that occur in the first horizon, foster the seeds of the third and, allocate appropriate focus and resources to manage the transitions from one to another.

What makes the model valuable to innovators is that it ‘accepts’ that competition is restless, markets are evolving, and that change is a constant. The three horizons approach offers the methodology for constructing plausible and coherent innovation activities projected out into the future. It looks for emerging winners.

The 3H not a planning tool; it is providing a valuable evolutionary perspective that dialogues can be formed around, so decisions on where to focus and what resources to apply can be based on a more plausible and coherent set of activities projected into the future, searching for emerging winners, those that can potentially change and challenge your existing business but evolve it in clear ways. The 3H is a dialogue mechanism to help frame the evolving journey and allow you to move towards it in a better structured way.

The need is to discuss the challenges in horizon one and nurture the seeds of the third. It is not an either/or, good/bad discussion. You need those robust discussions to form fresh perspectives. The key is in listening out and becoming adept at managing these conversations between the ‘voices’ of the three horizons.

The three voices that need to be in the same room

• You have the voice of today, the voice of the manager(s) responsible for delivering todays result that are more concerned with managing the existing, maximizing returns and keeping the organization going efficiently and effectively.

• Then you have the second voice, the voice of the entrepreneur, the one eager to experiment, try out new things, explore and extend, accepting some aspects will not work

• Last we have the third voice, the voice of the aspirant, who is looking to build a different vision, believing in different, more pioneering ways and visualize things in their ‘mind’s eye’, far more aspirational, that can seemingly on first ‘take’ look to be totally incompatible to the reality of today.

The different voices involved can be highly engaged, all wanting to add their perspective, you need to listen to them. You need to search for common ground, growing recognition and sometimes realization, that these are not so much separate voices, but actually ones that can all be combined, to provide a far greater outcome when they can ‘see the same future’ but through their own specific voice.

It is the combination of these different three voices that need to come together and help frame the innovation journey. It is by applying and using the three horizons framework and its methodology you can draw out and advance better outcomes for your future innovation activity.

There is this powerful need to look towards the future

Based on what we know today and what we can set about building and exploring, does hold the exciting promise of the future. Look out of ourselves offers a more rewarding prospect. Valuing the often conflicting voices around us or even seeking them out provides for richer promise.

We need to keep reflecting upon what is dominant, prevalent and seems to be pattern-changing, as these positions are constantly shifting. Scanning the horizons and what is simply all around ‘us’ offers those ‘pockets of the future’ to invest in, explore and experiment, to be open to change, to shape and prepare for, to become far more “future ready”.

Initially these pockets of the future may seem a long way off, often just really weak signals, but are indicating different, perhaps far more radical and perhaps disruptive changes for our organizations to re-equip for. The earlier yon can spot and organize for changes ahead the greater the chances of building the different capabilities and competencies these are more likely to need.

Technology clearly comes to mind with wave upon wave of change is crashing against the established rocks, beginning to weaken the existing structures and form new ones. Innovation gains from this constant flow, if you are ready to receive it.

Change does come from different experiments and explorations

It is partly through the treatment of innovation, feeding into the system a rising wave of future innovations that alter positions. Staying stuck in ‘just’ incremental to serve the existing conditions in the market seriously constrains you for the future, you stop growing, exploring, being curious and experimental.

You need to encourage experimentation, testing, prototyping, accelerating the learning and then being ready to scale what holds promise and abandon what seems not too. For this you need all the voices within your organization seeing the future, so they can consciously work towards it, even when it might seem vague and not fully clear. The 3H framework draws out discussions, it helps project into the future.

Just always remember, the present is already in decline.

Look out, do not stay locked in.

Entrenchment limits your options to break out, as much as you might feel it needs defending, as its providing your present day core yet it is ‘holding you hostage’ not able to break free and embrace the future in the planned ways you can achieve.

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