The Critically Important Innovation Narrative

Whatever we do, we do far better when we become emotionally connected. Often understanding a good story builds this emotional connection or simply puts you off. Stories can inspire and spark even greater ideas. The art of storytelling and making connections with the listener or reader has incredible value. Yet, a story has limited value. For me, it is the more powerful narrative that drives innovation, inspiring and gaining identification in multiple ways.

A story is linked to a series of events that take a character from one state to another. In contrast, a narrative is a system of stories that links values and events to establish a broader and often new cultural meaning.

Let’s drawdown on so much of John Hagel’s work on narratives. It has shaped my thinking. John ran the Deloitte Center for the Edge. Alongside an extraordinary group of people, they progressively built up a growing understanding of differences between stories and narratives and take out narratives to a clearer institutional level.

I would like to quote some of his writing here as it gives me, and I hope you, the reader, a richer understanding of narratives and why they are so important to us.

“Narratives have great power, but their power increases dramatically when building on other narratives.”

“Context and location are critical to enhancing the power of narrative.”

“Stories are self-contained (they have a beginning, middle and resolution), and they are about the storyteller or some other person; they are not about the listener.”

“In contrast, narratives are open-ended, they are yet to be resolved, and their resolution depends upon the choices and actions of the listener” It becomes the choices you make, and the actions you take will determine the outcome”.

John rightly points out story have such emotive power, but he points to “it is the narrative, throughout history that people give their lives for. Every successful social movement in history has been driven at its core by a narrative that drove people to amazing and new things”.

“Narratives have an extraordinary power of pull”. They shape. John quotes Apple where they condensed their narrative into the slogan “think differently“- that means you, the listener, has to think differently. He then offers Nike with their condensed narrative of “Just do it”, so it challenges you to be willing to step up and perform, think differently and challenge yourself, where you need to find the time to break out of your personal barriers and achieve something better.

So defining stories and narratives, you see the growing potential of having a good narrative for your innovation activities. They are a call to action and engage those listening to the narrative to make a difference. The care within designing the narrative is you do not want contradictory narratives; they need to be in pursuit of complementary narratives.

My favourite point here offered by John is “stories are about plots and action while narratives are about people and potential.”

So for innovation, narratives do become vital.

They help us to orientate and can profoundly inspire us to shape the future. We need narratives of the explorer rather than narratives of the true believers. “We need to seek the opportunity to learn and grow, the possibilities of things to be discovered, not the certainties to be recovered.”

So narratives attract, engage, motivate and call people to push and achieve their potential.

Growing faster by changing your innovation narrative

George S. Day, a Professor Emeritus at the Wharton School of the University of Pennslyvania, along with Gregory P. Shea, an adjunct professor of the same school, wrote a great article back in December 2018, “Grow Faster by Changing Your Innovation Narrative” undertook some research and suggest that companies that grow faster than their industry rivals articulate a coherent, compelling innovation narrative and rely on four powerful levers to make it a reality.

Let me outline these here and some of their observations of why the innovation narrative is so important.

Within this view by Day and Shea, they point out that managers are never short of advice. Prescriptions are focusing on best practices, adopting popular concepts like design thinking, lean startups principles, having innovation boot camps and working through co-creation with customers. They point out, “these have merit but if you have no understanding of your company’s innovation narrative is tantamount to going from symptoms to surgery without a diagnosis.”

The value of the innovation narrative is it should offer beliefs about the company’s ability to innovate. They suggest these narratives are growth-affirming or growth-denying. Spending time with growth-affirming company’s they typically found the refreshingly upbeat, constructive, ambitious character to their innovation narratives.

The research identified different possible innovation levers, but four were identified as the most relied upon by organic growth leaders to stay ahead of their competitors: 1) invest in innovation talent, “) encourage prudent risk-taking, 3) adopt a customer-centric innovation process, and 4) align metrics and incentives with innovation activity.

So let’s explore these four primary levels of growth-lead innovators to develop and maintain such an innovation narrative.

The following four levers — and associated behaviours — can support a growth-affirming innovation narrative:

  1. Invest in innovation talent: The leadership team signals a strong commitment to innovation through visible and sustained investments of resources and time. Two specific traits deemed difficult to develop, such as conceptual thinking and a consistent focus on end-user needs, were sought in recruiting.
  2. Encourage prudent risk-taking: Innovative companies foster tolerance for risk throughout the organization by accepting internal cannibalization, endorsing a fail-fast approach, and learning from innovation disappointments. The level of careful dissection of failures and cues from rapid prototyping, frugal experimentation, and lean methodologies was strong. They shared accountability to contain and manage innovation risks by making small, staged bets on a “share to gain” approach.
  3. Adopt a customer-centric innovation process: The process used by growth leaders starts with deep insights into customers and anticipates emergent needs. The constant asking of “what do they need?” The important blend of outside-in (what’s needed) and inside-out (what’s possible) approach to innovation converge on the best growth opportunities from both directions.
  4. Align metrics and incentives with innovation activity: The innovation dashboard emphasizes learning over scorekeeping and creates a credible link to rewards and recognition for innovation accomplishments. The lack of confidence in any measures tracked in the innovation dashboard lies in the paucity of metrics. The lack of real depth or insufficient innovation means new, lacking hard data. The focus is more on day-to-day innovation activities.

So we need to avoid the story as it is tended to be told for an explicit purpose. The need is to encourage engagement for them to see their possibilities. Narratives are different.

Narratives need differentiation, tap into unmet needs within us all, have the ability to be leveraged, mobilize resources to be the connector in a network or ecosystem, seek out distributed innovation, sparked in very unexpected directions and ways. A narrative needs attraction to pull people in, attracted by the possibilities, opportunities and the challenge you are offering that needs a new dimension of innovation and the ability to offer long-term, trust-based relationships.

A good innovation narrative drives business success; it provides the stimulus for achieving more of our potential. It gives dynamic motion to what we need to achieve.

Going beyond the known of today

There are so many places where innovation is essential within the Energy Transition, due to the magnitude, size, and complexity of the change needed to achieve a decarbonized world. There is a world of innovating possibilities

One of the most important catalysts for changing the energy system into a sustainable green one is by taking our thinking beyond the known into the possibilities we need for a sustaining future, of energy based on the ability for renewables to generate all our electrification needs.

We need to build out all our renewable possibilities that include solar, wind, hydro, green hydrogen and nuclear energy.

It is in this combination of pursuit, nurturing, and expanding our thinking through the thoughtful constructing of a vision built on knowledge, exploration and understanding, that we can mobilize the changes needed.

My energy journey is being navigated across the three-time horizons.

For many years I have been a powerful advocate for applying the three-horizon framework and the thinking that should go into it, to offer a highly effective way to “translate change”, to gain a shared identification and common pursuit of purpose. My opener for relating to the three-horizon framework Opener to the Three Horizons for Innovation

Can we move beyond what we know, into what might be possible?

 

To achieve that we need to create the environment of discovery, through research and developments.

We need to pursue, nurture, and see beyond as our three points of delivering change within the Energy transition. The combination of all three gives us the potential to navigate the energy transition we need. This energy system needs to move from today’s reliance of fossil fuels and antiquated infrastructure into one based on clean, sustainable and renewable energy sources, delivered through a highly distributed infrastructure, designed for the final consumer of the energy.

The powerful need is accelerating and consistently lobbying for the required changes and offering a consistent clear demonstration that the innovative solutions can make the changes necessary. An energy system to provide affordable, sustainable, reliable and modern energy systems in design that met consumption needs, greater choice and a world rapidly de-carbonizing as the point of urgency to reduce the global warming effect we face.

I see innovation as my critical supporting part of transforming the energy system.

Much of my focus is on building out the value positioning through what innovates and changes the energy structure we have in place today.

The need for a rapid learning, knowledge sharing, and leveraging approach has become an increasing “sense of mission” for me, this is why I position myself as a transition advocate for innovation, ecosystems within the energy system.

It is how I leverage, approach, and explore, that is my current “struggle” to get right. I know clearly, we do need to mobilize innovation capability for the energy system, and I want to be part of that transformation.

Also, I know I can influence and shape by offering a “collective” perspective from research, knowledge, and practical understanding.

My Value Proposition is always focused on content, that links the context in concepts and solution to be applied, and mobilize the expertise, experience and knowledge to back it up from those seeing that possibility in the future.

I have within my constant “Northern Star” the following thinking:

“content is free and abundant, constantly available, yet the time we need to read it, to absorb it and then finally translate it into our personal need or requirement is not! My Northern Star mission and goal is to invest my time and offer this set of insights and knowledge to others, so they keep pointing their resources towards concepts and solutions keeping innovation top of mind in this Energy Transition.”

The translation I seek to provide is to give appropriate meaning, it is a large part of my job, to translate information and knowledge into tangible value and provide impact and validation to make a compelling case for change.

To provide support in generating the thinking towards innovating energy solutions I have established three focused points of posting or reference sites on energy to build out my contribution towards the Energy Transition.

www.innovating4energy.website

www.innovating4energy.com

www.digital4energy.com

I have been building a blend of services around the Energy Transition.

I want others to truly recognize the value of innovation within any energy transition, this has become my own transformation in what and where I want to focus:

Opportunities and conceptual change need a focused innovators perspective.   There is a real gap in building a robust innovation capability, capacity, and competency to accelerate the Energy Transition journey to provide the external view.

What I am aiming to offer: Fresh knowledge and insights that based on in-depth research and know-how, a corporate understanding of over twenty years of advising and transforming innovation activities, providing a great resource to “tap into” from the advisory role, connecting the Energy Transition needs by looking from the Innovators perspective.

What drives and motivates me in this focus on innovation within the Energy transition?

We need to provide a more sustainable future for all living things on this one planet of ours, including ourselves, in exploiting the use of clean energy from the more sustainable, renewable sources of wind, solar, water, and fusion that does not burden or have an impact on our “living” system.

The present entrenched fossil reliant energy system must migrate towards a clean energy future, one that is urgently required. We need to take decisive action to allow for our planet to return to a balanced one.

If we as humans want to lead healthy lives, we do need this balance this with what this earth offers, to live alongside other creatures, plants, and in what nature provides, and value this in new completely different ways. It is not simply trying to constantly extract or be the ultimate judge over parts of the ultimate ecosystem, we need to stop imposing just our human needs and recognize this is a shared planet that needs a balanced ecosystem.

Ecosystems can change, evolve naturally, or recover given time, but we presently do not have the luxury of allowing one to develop we much (attempt) to manage this energy transition ecosystem as quickly as possible. Having a robust energy system is so essential in our lives, we are increasingly dependent on it, to connect us into a sustainable future where we grow from having this incredible “energy” resource.

To get to this robust, new sustainable energy system, innovation must be at its core. It provides the “fuel” for changing. I want to catalyze it wherever I can.

Leadership Alignment Work Mat for making Innovation fully connected.

I do believe the value of working the seven domains of this framework, named the Leadership Alignment Workmat has significant value within and across any organization. It brings innovation together, a unifying point for the activity and momentum of innovation to become central to the core of the business, in its future investment and value impact.

The Leadership Alignment Workmat provides a unique examination of the executive’s role in innovation, it offer a framework that the leadership of the organization can adopt to ensure linkages and synergies between strategy and innovation, innovation and capabilities, innovation and culture.

Often they lack the communicating medium to help clarify and shape the innovation story to tell, so as to provide the guidance necessary for achieving that essential engagement and encouragement they would like, to align organizational efforts required from innovation to the strategies envisioned.

Benefits of applying the Leadership Alignment Work Mat

From an investment in an executive work mat exercise you receive four significant benefits.

First, as an executive team you will create cohesion and a consistent innovation framework that reduces barriers or uncertainties for innovators.

Second, you demonstrate your engagement, which increases visibility and lowers risk, which encourages more and better ideas.

Third, you create work-flows and encourage innovation skills and capabilities which accelerate ideas through your internal processes that increase the opportunity to be more self-organized under this framework.

Fourth, you influence compensation, provide motivations and promote the cultural and climate to innovate which progressively reduces barriers and creates incentives for innovation to thrive.

These benefits add up to more speed, more agility, clearer flexibility resulting in new, relevant products and services that can increase organic growth and provide solutions that differentiate you.

We believe C.E.O’s and senior executives play a vital role in the success or failure of innovation. Unfortunately, those roles have often not been well-defined and sometimes they are rarely well executed. We call this the engagement- alignment gap. Only an engaged, committed senior executive can create the means for building a sustained innovation capability or disciplined approach through defining innovation’s role.

The Leadership Alignment Work Mat resolves the litmus test. It provides a compelling structured approach for senior executives to build, extend and sustain an innovation capability. Starting with the most strategic goals of your business, it links and aligns innovation to strategy; it explores the critical aspects of any senior innovation strategic framework. It addresses the critical aspects so as to provide a holistic approach to innovation, reducing uncertainty, reducing risk and increasing your chance to help your company innovate consistently.

The end outcome of this Leadership Alignment Work Mat approach provides the innovation leadership and guidance to your organization to ‘frame’ the innovation activity to your strategic goals. This allows you to articulate and communicate the alignment through the innovation work mat throughout the organization. It will provide the necessary understanding needed to perform the innovation tasks more effectively under this framework umbrella.

It offers the strategic ‘frame’ your innovation future requires, it forms the emerging common language and communication necessary across the organization, that provides guidance, inspiration and clarity to your innovation vision and goals.It allows innovation to ‘cascade’ throughout the organization to achieve that close alignment innovation requires with the strategy to achieve a meaningful and sustaining set of results.

To find out more or request a detailed White Paper on this, please contact  paul@agilityinnovation.com or explore more here by clicking on the tab insights and resources“or on the re-luanched site of www.agilityinnovation.com under the tab toolbox

Mapping Out Your Innovating Way Forward

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

 

Mapping any innovation journey can be complicated. There is a fairly detailed journey needed to be undertaken for mapping out your future direction of innovation.

Let’s get straight into it, and the process and sequence needed within any innovation journey.

Firstly you have to work through the Strategic Needs– this needs to cover the type of approaches, the scope and intent, the assessments of the required impact for the end customer and organizational value, the understanding and outlines of this becoming organizational-wide in its integrated needs.

This approach does need a systematic approach, continuous up-dated toolboxes and visible metrics and tracking. Lastly, to build and quickly test, adopt and scale as knowledge and understanding are gained.

Second, there is the need to build reference points for future innovation activities, so duplication and learning can be built into understanding. Here it is vital to have gained the continued support and engagement of high-level participation, where we recommend the Leadership Alignment work Mat approach,

We need to ensure transparency for all stakeholders; the design evolves into a highly usable and integrated set of modular interlocking designs that allow for learning and flexibility to adapt to different conditions of needs, budget, and resource considerations. That collaborative mindset enables innovation to progress and eventually emerge from all the dialogues, exchanges, and contributions.

Then thirdly, we go into the process design stage shown.

This is the validating, evaluating and forecasting the future innovation state. This then needs to be well planned out in a roadmap of initiatives, identifying and resolving the key components and establishing a framework of how this will be moved forward. You have the choices of any work going to be internally developed and alternatively having a consortium or network of collaborators. I would argue here is one of the most valuable contributions an experienced innovation facilitator can participate in.

The final stage is the implementation and momentum building stage. This includes a dedicated programme management need, approaching any roll-out through initiative testing, piloting and exploring steps to move towards the organizational design options that work from this validation. A growing need is to build supporting technology and structure requirements, provide consistent internal communication of progress and applying for the associated screening and approval.

Ending in a ‘living and dynamic’ innovation touch and value map that evolves in time

Finally, throughout this journey, a consistent focus on building the appropriate capabilities and competencies. Over time and experiences, you clarify and deepen your innovation proactive principles and make this a constant “living and dynamic” touch, reference and value map.

The level of mapping out your innovation pathway gives significant dividends where there is any collaborative environment. This provides identification and reference.

Happy to talk about innovating mapping some more if it interests you for applying to your organization’s needs.

 

Fitness Landscape Dynamics for Innovation

Fitness Landscape Dynamics

Innovation is not so easy, there are so many dependencies that you need to work through.The importance of recognizing innovation needs a systematic approach becomes clear when you begin to work through all the needs and issues to understand and translate. Here are some thoughts:

By exploring and modeling the mutual dependencies you get to see how the existing and alternative future innovation system will behave as you begin to map out and recognize the different emphasis points that make up your innovation system.

You can begin to identify what are the more important dynamic ones that require a more dedicated focus and placing more of your resources behind, while others can evolve at their own pace or simply improve as they are far more dependent on the dynamic ones than you realized initially. These can get simply get ‘pulled along’ and rise equally in their performance.

The real need is to pass through different stages of understanding what makes up a dynamic fitness innovation landscape.

There is a complementary set of forces; improving one often triggers improvement in another. What you have to guard against is possibly ignoring one might equally impact negatively on others. Recognizing dependencies is critical and their triggering effect makes innovation evolution even more dynamic.

The combination effect to gain a greater innovation fitness effect comes from managing this over four stages of the journey of innovation fitness towards the dynamic capabilities stage and fitness landscape outcomes.

The four stages within each part of this journey are briefly:

  1. The goal within these stage is to identify the key dependencies relevant for improved innovation within your organization to discover
  2. What are the mutual dependencies that will have a more dynamic impact on your innovation system so you understand
  3. What consequences come from this and how the changing environment will behave so as to consider the effect, that then leads to
  4. What recognition and implications this has so as to put in place an ongoing, evolving set of innovation dynamics that keep you fit to perform innovation on a sustaining higher performance basis.

Again I want to emphasis here, this is an evolving journey but the critical recognition here is, for innovation to continue to be the driver of future growth and wealth, it clearly does need to have a greater understanding and recognition of its management potential within organizations.

This site I’ve made as a dedicated one to the innovation journey. Go to www.innovationfitnessdynamics.com if you are determined to push beyond today’s accepted, often ‘lagging’ performance from innovation activity, and raise the innovation performance engine up within your organization’s efforts.

I believe we do have this critical need to have in place a growing clarity of the factors needed to consistently deliver a more ‘leading’ position of knowing what does actually have a real dynamic impact, both on an organizations innovation performance and the individual contributions that contribute towards the required strategic goals and objectives.

This I feel states any journey and how we are planning this out to traverse across the terrain towards better innovation solutions, that make up the dynamics of innovation and provide a ‘fitness’ solution that is unique to your needs.

Care to share and join the journey? We can discuss how I can join you on your own innovation journey and enable that greater innovation fitness we all need to achieve, as innovation is a hard road to travel without the appropriate recognition of all it entails.

The crucial role Innovation must play in the Energy system

Innovation is vital to the energy system’s integration and operation design, and we need to further recognize its crucial role. I believe we undertake a radical transformation in the way we supply, transform, and use energy. This requires a profound transformation in technologies, systems, and infrastructure.

Innovation is made up of many enabling technologies that support energy. This complexity requires innovative approaches to be built in highly systematic ways. Its ultimate result is to offer innovation that can continually look for re-imagining new market designs and business models to stimulate the changes and solutions for our future energy transformation.

Innovation needs to be transformational, offer greater value than what it is replacing, show the real advantage, set out to achieve competitive gains and offer a higher level of sustainability, value and impact.

We need an innovating mantra for energy.

Energy is a vital part of any country’s ability to be competitive. Today half the world’s capital is invested in energy and its related infrastructure as it is the backbone of any industrial and urbanization strategy.

Our need is to keep pushing for discoveries, for experimentation, for demonstrating. We must nurture innovation, and we must continuously look for ways to facilitate its pathway.

Our economic prosperity will be determined by transforming the energy sector, and it is through innovation we will achieve this. To avoid the predicted consequences of climate change, the global energy system must rapidly reduce its emissions.

The vast majority of global CO2 emissions come from the energy production sector, from our buildings or transportation systems. They all need a purposeful design of a new, cleaner energy system.

Innovation needs to be at the top of its game, to be accelerated and scaled.

The energy transition that the world is undertaking is one of the most critical areas where innovation needs to be at its absolute best, top of the game, to make the level of change necessary. We need to deploy every innovative tool to leverage ideas and discoveries and then accelerate the validation into a commercialization path sooner than later.

Innovation needs to get out of the laboratories, moved from theory to application, and off the desk of those executives who fail to see the urgency of change we need to achieve the energy transition.

Innovation has risk always associated with it, but that imperative to push the boundaries does need always to be constantly in our minds; global warming, pollution, and resource finite are our “burning platform.”

We need to ramp up our need for solutions to reduce greenhouse gases, redesign energy generation, transmission, and distribution and bring a balance back into our environments.

Pushing our present understanding, looking beyond the knowns.

  • Today the solutions are centred on decarbonization, applying digitalization, and switching to an energy system that is more decentralized than at present. It is finding imaginative, innovating solutions that become essential to achieve this climate change through the energy transition we are undertaking.
  • Each organization within the energy transition looks at its own position and applies any changes to advance its competitive position. Quite rightly, but in focusing on one specific perspective, you can lose the bigger opportunity.
  • We need to extend the reach of electricity; we need to focus on Hydrogen, validate carbon capture and storage (CCUS) as well as bioenergy and take them out of the lab, out of the realms of theory and validate the innovation concepts into scalable ones that deliver the gaps we have in our energy transition.
  • We must find innovative solutions to reduce local air pollution, strengthen energy security, and develop a more significant energy system that is resilient to minimize the shutdowns and power outs. We need to find solutions to reliable and sustainable energy solutions that deal with heating, lighting, cooking, and cooling. Any change needs to find a way to create local economic value and jobs, as others in any change of this magnitude will be displaced.
  • As we search for enabling technologies, we need to constantly facilitate the integration of renewable energy, accelerate storage, explore sector coupling, introduce new ways to operate within the electricity system, seek out new power generation, design the grids for increased flexibility and digitalize solutions to provide further services, tools and distributed generation deployment knowing how to diffuse innovation in these general five approaches becomes valuable.
  • We need to continue to de-carbonize challenging industry sectors like steel, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, or our transportation systems if we wish to achieve any positive outlook of curbing carbon emissions and moving onto a pathway towards a zero-carbon future.

Innovation and showing progression give market confidence and encouragement that the innovation story is designed to take decisions through this innovation adoption approach.

Everything we are looking at in energy solutions faces a scalability challenge. 

It will be the ability to harness the existing with the new, and this is the role of innovation to deliver the changes by being the bridge and being the catalyst of change with new technology and innovative solutions.

Innovation adoption in the technology lifecycle for Energy Translation

Technological innovation has a central role to play in the Energy Transition currently being undertaken throughout the world. The shifts need to take the different parts of the energy system through a lifecycle approach to any future energy system.

The six critical focal points of the energy transition.

The six main thrusts for technological innovation within the Energy Systems for today’s energy transition are:

  1.  To accelerate the deployment of renewable energy technologies throughout the system.
  2. There is a real need to find innovative solutions that focus on the end-user sectors of transport, industry, and buildings.
  3. The technological and digital innovative solution needs to focus on the overall system design and the operation needs.
  4. Innovation needs to increase electrification through emerging solutions on the grids’ digitalisation and provide grid-scale energy storage for resolving variable renewable power and building out further energy storage.
  5. To push, nurture, and facilitate different energy sources to provide solutions to scale them up. These include solar power, geothermal, biopower, hydropower, onshore and offshore wind and finally tidal power.
  6. Lastly, innovation needs to achieve an affordably decarbonize industrial transition.

Many new innovation solutions need to continually unlock the system’s flexibility.

Besides technological innovation, there is growing potential for redesigning operational systems through new services, tools, and distributed generation deployment. There are opportunities to find fresh market designs that have demand-response models central to then provide new, more tailored services and then the exciting potential of designing new business models that look to greater co-creation, more flexible power purchase agreements and bring the consumer into the system as contributors, aggregators and highly energy aware.

My focus is on innovating energy.

Innovation must be at the forefront of the energy change; otherwise, we will fail to deliver on the 2050 commitments and goals, and that will have consequences for our very existence as we know it.

Besides writing about innovation and energy on two dedicated blogs of innovating4energy.com and digital4energy, I recently launched a complimentary website of innovating4energy.website, one that is laying out my business positioning and offerings to help in accelerating innovation within the energy system. That “open for business” sign.

I set out to offer the external perspective to those busy inside organizations focusing on mapping out the future of energy and where they fit to support, compliment, and provide different value points to this thinking and eventual work. I see this as more advisory to complement their insights, more feeding into and complimenting their expertise with different points of value.

** published simultaneously here and on my innovating4energy.com site relating to “all things” in the Energy Transition.

Designing Unique Workshops is hard work

Finding opportunities for Innovation and Growth is hard work. It is the value of having good, interactive, highly particpative workshops breaks much of those initial barriers to allow the hard work to begin in a more cohesive and collaborative way.

I believe any design of workshops must meet your needs, to push the thinking and to generate new returns in innovation understanding.

Boilerplate designs might look initially attractive but knowing your needs, limitations, concerns, and ambitions can transform a workshop into one that lasts in the participant’s minds as they felt it was “clearly” designed for them

Which end of the innovation spectrum do we need to go?

  • Workshops can mean different things to different people. Find ones that are 100% focused on engaging with and accelerating innovation. They need a couple of simple rules
  • Conducting ‘open’ dialogues or focused conversations should always have a sound context so the contributions slowly build-out and hold real promise
  • Discoveries can start with different ‘fields of enquiry’ to achieve different connections and deepen our perspectives

A great book, written by Bill Sharpe, explaining the Three Horizons often comes to mind. I wrote about it here “Three Horizons- fields of future, full of foresight”

Then I find the Divergent / Convergent approach in thinking as highly valuable

We need to always challenge ourselves and taking you through a set of lenses of discovery that go from ‘divergent to convergent‘ is important.

You need both to explore and exploit the multiple possible solutions. Divergent thinking is the ability and opportunity to offer different, unique or variant ideas adherent to one theme, while convergent thinking is the (eventual) ability to find the ‘correct’ solution to the given problem.

You encourage and ideate many solutions, both possible and impossible, and then use convergent thinking to move towards a realizable resolution or solution.

I use this ‘divergent and convergent’ structure for many of my workshops, it allows for broader engagement and involvement and that eventual drawing together from this process. Once or twice you have to be nimble on your feet to move from one to the other but the discipline comes from timing these as shared spaces but giving each a clear discipline of dedicated time as you do need a very different mindset to think openly then begin to narrow the options down.

Creativity makes use of divergent thinking, which is solving problems with many possible solutions, as opposed to convergent thinking, which is solving problems

The process of figuring out a concrete solution to any problem is called Convergent Thinking. Divergent thinking is the process of thinking that explores multiple possible solutions in order to generate creative ideas. It’s a straight forward process that focuses on figuring out the most effective answer to a problem.

Divergent thinking” is the process of coming up with new ideas and possibilities. We are more in a creative and intuitive mindset. We explore lots of possibilities and stay more at this point on the conceptual abstractions.

We work this through then we go more into  “Convergent thinking”, this is associated with analysis, judgment, and decision-making. We become more analytical, rational, sequential and objective. We begin to explore constraint driven issues. It is the process of taking a lot of ideas and sorting them, evaluating them, analyzing the pros and cons, and making decisions, and exploring options that reveal, over time and discussion emerging value

These journeys are personal ones as well as team forming opportunities and form the backbone of good workshops.

 Understanding innovation requires a deep awareness- through a variety of tailored or purpose-designed workshops, dialogues or discovery trips you can rapidly enhance your awareness and grasp of what ‘makes up’ innovation. 

Innovation is our 100% of our focus and we can, without question, advance your knowledge and insights across all of its complexities to be simplified through our workshops, dialogues and discovery approaches.

Building the workshop it is deliberately designed to help you need to think through many areas of productive innovation opportunity. For example:

1. Understand the trends and drivers in your industry as well as explore alternative perspectives allows you to look at not just ‘best practice’ but leading and emerging practice.

2. Look constantly outside your organization to ‘see’ and collaborate from the values of applying open innovation principles and techniques

3. Fostering the culture and climate for Innovation to workinside your organization can create the environment you are looking for but it takes a real understanding.

4. We all need to be aware of the way we earn our profit and where and why and it becomes absolutely vital that our innovation activity fully aligns to the strategic needs

5. Complete differently in the value chain- what it gives from new Business Models and discovering new opportunities to energize your business in different ways

6. When we stop and look at customers in different ways so as to listen to their needs we can discover new innovation opportunities and then how do you discover those unarticulated ones?

7. Expand into new markets and customers thoughtfully using the core within your business, in exploring the adjacency spaces and probing those ‘white spaces’ needs careful consideration.

8. Develop new product, services, structures and processes needs debate and understanding

9. Pursue a range of degrees of novelty to generate a greater sense of innovation possibility

10. Being able to sustain your momentum and make innovation repeatable does needs a broad identification and set of discussions to raise awareness, and build those capabilities and capacities well.

These journeys are personal ones as well as team forming opportunities.

 Understanding innovation requires a deep awareness- through a variety of tailored or purpose designed workshops, dialogues or discovery trips you can rapidly enhance your awareness and grasp of what ‘makes up’ innovation. 

Innovation is our 100% focus and we can, without question, advance your knowledge and insights across all of its complexities to be simplified through our workshops, dialogues and discovery approaches.

Building the Innovation Business Case

The building always the Innovation Business Case offers a unique approach to tackle one of the real problem areas within innovation- making the case compelling.

One of the toughest aspects within Innovation is making the Business Case. Much of the information is imperfect, the returns are often fuzzy and the doubters ready to block and deter new ideas from entering the commercialization process.

Knowing the issues, reducing often the ‘noise and distractions’ and making the professional case is what we need to do to attract commitment to the projects we are working upon.

How can you reduce down uncertainty? By ensuring the innovation business case takes a clear methodical approach to this and builds the arguments up in a sound structured way, that shows the areas of clear discussion and conclusion and reduces down the more ’emotive parts, so as to allow the ‘idea or concept’ to firm up and be seen for its real merits.

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