One great visual paints a thousand words
This visual I came across some years back, and for me, is outstanding in providing the feedback loops that go into developing the right innovation vision. To get to a definitive endpoint of having an innovation vision, you are faced with some complex challenges. These are well shown here.
Each influences the other and constantly loop back, making an improving vision success hopefully.
The different challenges seen in this terrific depiction provide the sort of dialogue and efforts that needs to go into ‘crafting’ the innovation vision. It is hard, thoughtful work. Let’s look at each of these a little more.
The Time Challenge
We get caught in annual planning cycles that often leave little time for ‘considered’ opinion and debate. The annual plans all come in a deluge, and this is plainly wrong. Creating a vision needs a lot of time to consider all the aspects. The ‘time gap’ seriously impacts the vision’s success and clarity of purpose.
The Diversity Challenge
Within the same board room do you have a diversity of opinion; you have that up and down any organization. Getting the views first out in the open, then managing the conflicting aspects and dealing with the ‘polarization effects’ all is difficult. This is where a dedicated focus, a Chief Innovation Officer, can really make a difference. To get people to talk about the vision, what it should stand for, what needs to happen leads eventually to greater clarity.
The Relationship Challenge
Managing the relationships both within and outside the organization when it comes to the right thinking on innovation is hard, converting doubters, drawing out differences, improving the quality of any conversations around innovation (ideally with facts, not conjecture) and raising the enthusiasm to engage is crucial to moving towards the right vision.
The Vision Gap Challenge
There is a reality to what and where you are and the perceived gap that needs addressing honestly. We tend to be very poor at this, is, holding a ‘creative’ tension that can stimulate and create a vibrant and exciting innovation vision. We try to dampen the divergence in opinions far too early so we can (quickly) got to convergence. This ‘keenness’ to take away the ‘creative’ tension tends to replace it with a potential set of ‘destructive’ ones, which often creates much of the beginnings of the barriers to innovation. People resent not being well listened to or allowed time to develop their arguments.
The Vision and its Success
If you get people to ‘freely’ talk about innovation, its importance, its impact and can ‘paint’ the future in broad brush strokes, they achieve a growing clarity and enthusiasm. They often miss a critical component of a sense of shared identity.
Innovation is complex; it deals with formal and informal mechanisms. There is an awful lot to constructing a solid innovation vision but believe me, it is even harder to understand the right components that make up the innovation strategy, so it eventually becomes a well-articulated innovation strategy. This visual makes up for the thousands of words you would need to describe how and what makes up an innovation vision.