Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation

“Without a major acceleration in clean energy innovation, reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 will not be possible.”

A groundbreaking report, “Net-Zero by 2050: a roadmap for the global energy system“(referred to as NZE here) by the Internation Energy Agency (IEA), has been emphasising that this decade is pivotal to reaching net-zero by mid-century.

This 2050 target is in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement, the foundations of global consensus to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5c. This requires nothing short of a total transformation of the energy systems.

The report is the world’s first comprehensive study of how to transition to a net-zero energy system by 2050 while ensuring stable and affordable energy supplies, providing universal energy access, and enabling robust economic growth.

The report sets out a cost-effective and economically productive pathway, resulting in a clean, dynamic and resilient energy economy dominated by renewables like solar and wind instead of fossil fuels. The report also examines key uncertainties, such as the roles of bioenergy, carbon capture and behavioural changes in reaching net zero.

The role of innovation has a crucial one to play.

In the near term, the report describes a net-zero pathway that requires the immediate and massive deployment of all available clean and efficient energy technologies, combined with a major global push to accelerate innovation. Continue reading

One great visual paints a thousand innovating words

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 critical feedback needs for constructing an innovation vision

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
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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 draw down on so much of John Hagel’s work on narratives. It has shaped my thinking. Continue reading

Leadership Alignment Work Mat for making Innovation fully connected.

I 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 offers a framework that the organisation’s leadership can adopt to ensure linkages and synergies between strategy and innovation, innovation and capabilities, innovation and culture.

They often lack the communicating medium to help clarify and shape the innovation story 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. Continue reading

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, Continue reading

Designing Unique Workshops is hard work

Finding opportunities for Innovation and Growth is hard work. It is the value of having good, interactive, highly participative workshops that breaks much of those initial barriers to allow the hard work to begin more cohesively and collaboratively.

I believe any workshops design must meet your needs, push the thinking, and 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. They felt it was “clearly” designed for them.

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

  • 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. Continue reading

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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The art of “Back Casting” needs care

Backcasting is a planning method that starts with defining a desirable future and then works backwards to identify policies and programs that will connect that specified “future to the present”. The fundamentals of the method were outlined by John. B. Robinson from the University of Waterloo in 1990. The fundamental question of backcasting asks: “if we want to attain a certain goal, what actions must be taken to get there?”

While forecasting involves predicting the future based on current trend analysis, backcasting approaches the challenge of discussing the future from the opposite direction; it is “a method in which the future desired conditions are envisioned, and steps are then defined to attain those conditions, rather than taking steps that are merely a continuation of present methods extrapolated into the future”

I have collected different views on “Backcasting”.

Those are from assorted references like Wikipedia, from past work on water and energy systems, from Natural Step, from Innosight, discussed and promoted in Mark Johnson’s book “Lead for the Future” and a really recent one from Roxi Nicolussi and her Backcasting; Creating a Strategic Roadmap for the Future” or finally here, this one “All Roads Lead From The Future Back — A Vision and Spoke Model” by Aidan McCullen. I am looking to further explore the applications applied in water, energy and climate work.

So exploring backcasting as a method

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