Exploring the Drivers of Innovation Change

ChangeI always show a particular interest in statements claiming to have identified a relevant driver of innovation change, then to think through these. Can these be valuable and be associated to the portfolio situation within an organization’s need, in seeking different viewpoints of product or service change?

Opening up our thinking to change can drive our business offerings very differently.

Often within these drivers we do need to explore what is the underlying force behind them, it allows us to pause and think. As you think through what these different change drivers on what it might mean to extending your new product or service developments, these can prompt radically different and  imaginative solutions to consider..

Using the different drivers can give you new insights into your innovation activities plus also can prompt significant changes to freshen up your innovation portfolio. They are certainly a good place to start to get the creative juices flowing even more.

It is worth constantly working around different drivers of innovation change.

Periodically I would suggest you work through each of these and see if this changes your thinking or approach and you can then see a different angle or opportunity that might emerge that changes the thinking.

So let me share my opening nine identified drivers for innovation change:

Emotional Drivers – as we learn, dream, create and get into a ‘freer’ spirit, it often opens up our thinking. I sometimes associate heroes and champions or relate recognized mentors and facilitators and look for what makes the emotional connection, then I ask: “can I use this or be inspired by them” to drive something within my innovation activities or not? What triggers different sentiments, warmth, excitement or feeling?

• Social Drivers – The more we seek interactions, they become (or should become) meaningful and enduring. These connections allow us to think and relate, deepen the association. As we also seek out others accomplishments, can this trigger ideas, principles or actions that we can apply in what we are doing. What can we offer that meets  different desires, aspirations, prompts dialogues and might reflect for instance, a more caring and sharing viewpoint. Drivers that make us more socially relevant and connected.

• Technology Drivers – These tend to be better leveraged and understood, in collaborative methods and techniques, ones where we can demonstrate, connect the physical and virtual world, that moves us to better, clearer, even faster transactions. Technology is a really powerful enabler of innovation if you tune into the four fast-moving disruptive forces of social, mobile, cloud and analytics that are all driven by an explosion of data and fuelling a new era of innovation for many. Imagine if you can harness technologies application and ‘raw’ power, there becomes a higher chance of  finding the needle of useful innovation insights that lie within in the binary haystack. As you learn to analyse and sort these technology drivers, can give you new insights into different trends, patterns and needs, that might even radically alter the meaning within your business and how and what you offer, with even new business models emerging from the evaluations.

• Environment Drivers – these become critical. The more we encourage the right environment the more we create a culture that others can relate too. A climate that encourages, and underlines the determination of bringing in diversity, collaborative and distinctly different behavioural patterns that encourages even more to join in, to relate and participate in generating ideas and solutions. By providing a welcoming environment you can drive growing awareness, trust and shared understanding that build a very powerful set of innovation drivers if the Environment thinking is right and tuned into the world of what needs to be reflected within your products and services..

• Measurement Drivers – We are all familiar with the classic input, process, outputs and outcomes we strive to find measures for, good or bad. I tend to look for measurement in the knowledge that is being driven through an organization in its absorptive capacities of accessing, anchoring and its eventual diffusion. If we measure actual utilization or assimilation then can we explore these in deeper ways to draw out the aspects that makes up both tacit and explicit outcomes. We also need to keep focused on time related activities, speed of innovation to market as well as project deliverables and make different connections on what this might possibly mean. Measures can drive change if they are well thought through and connected, both into the business need but more importantly, into the individual’s own understanding of its relevancy. Make your measurements more dynamic, less static by ‘seeing them differently’

• Marketplace Drivers – Today it is all about speed and pace, accessing the changing conditions and pressures coming from the market place. The constant need in understanding the rate of change dynamics to work out your fit in new innovation offerings. We need to become far more tuned into pattern recognition, contexts of the forces at work. We need to appreciate the rivalry and competitive hunger. Above all it is figuring out the customers unmet needs and non-stated ones, so all these market force complexities can be worked through in your mind and ongoing evaluations.Tuning into the market forces gives an abundance of new thinking to work into your products and services.

• Design Drivers – approaching issues and challenges with more of a design thinking hat can help identify a number of hidden drivers. The more we experience and experiment, the more we tune into the power of stories, narratives and experiences. This heightens our awareness the more we practice looking ahead. Equally looking back it can reveal much more in our designs and what made up our thinking (at that time). Fashions and traditions, how we work today, how we worked in the past – and how differently in the future – will influence much in our innovation thinking. We need to open up to experiences far more. We need to look for improving flows and reducing barriers, making different combinations of potential richness and innovation promise, we need to focus on function and form far more, that more human centred need and always look for improving the ‘degrees of freedom’ and easy of purchase. For example, working towards the ‘one click away’ concept for our customers in making their transactions easier.

• Rational Drivers – Organizations survive by their rational drivers, be these strategic architecture, management systems and innovation processes. Those processes and procedures are where you are always looking to achieve and drive execution and results through improving productivity and creativity as well as working constantly at clarifying the interventions, controls and monitoring. The rational drivers, if well set up, can make such a difference to being ‘in control’ of all the innovation activities or not and should constantly be challenged for redundancy or improving upon. Innovation Governance is a classic place for constantly working through the rational drivers and keeping faith in the decisions made and guidance given. Having the rational opinion within your team has great value in keeping random thoughts more ‘grounded’ to the task at hand.

• Intelligence Drivers – The whole focus on knowledge generation and recognition, in awareness, competences needed and seeking diversity of interpretation. The underlying collection of intellectual capitals, our intangible source, that needs to keep feeding in the knowledge stock to allow ideas, concepts and outcomes to flow. Ones that drive to transform intelligence into tangible outcomes is so important to yield fresh value and lead to improved commercial outcomes. Sadly it is often under-appreciated and not allowed ‘it’s’ right amount of digesting time to allow all the connections to be made to piece together something completely different and potentially valuable in new innovations.Listening to different peoples views values intelligence.

To look around these drivers of change can yield very different thinking, prompt different actions and produce different innovation results. Get your team to discuss each of these change drivers to unearth new innovation possibilities.

Why not go and give these a ‘team test drive’ in exploring, focusing around each of these individually. Ask what can they do to alter your current thinking on your approach to your products and services.

By getting into this regular habit  of working around these different drivers of change will keep your innovation engine in much better shape, more in-tune to accelerate away with better innovation outcomes. These can be designed to stimulate and really trigger the imaginations, often with the result of you making some unexpected connections.

Finding new spaces that differentiate your product or service offerings as radically differently perhaps, that improve on the ones that are presently within your existing portfolio and development process. The end result is a significant improvement in both the quality as most important but also the quantity of your options, so new concepts can emerge from this exploration around the different drivers of change.

Perhaps you just even simply ‘drive away’ leaving everyone else just watching you pull away in new competitive ways, with you knowing where and why you are making real change within your innovation activities and what prompted this. Recognizing the need for different innovation evolution is a big part of the ongoing battle we are all needing to discover..


Publishing note:  This blog post was originally written on behalf of Hype and has been significantly revised. With their permission I have republished this original concept by deepening the thinking on this within this post here.

I recommend you should visit the Hype blog site where they have a range of contributors writing about a wide-ranging mix of ideas and thoughts around innovation, its well worth the visit.



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