Seeing Your Innovating Future Across Different Horizons

The three horizons offer us much to frame our innovating future

IFD Mountain ViewFollowing a couple of recent posts on reflecting on the three horizons methodology, firstly here and then here, I wanted to come back to where I see real value, in managing innovation into the future.

The 3H methodology enables us to look out into the future, across three different horizons that can manage the transition between short, medium and long term in our innovation activities, something often badly lacking in most organizations thinking.

It allows us to gauge  the challenges, adding aspects we are beginning to gain a sense of, transitioning from one position to another. It allows us to deepen our evaluation of the innovation portfolio of activities, resources and skill sets across different delivery frames of short, medium and longer-term.

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Three Horizons – fields of future, full of foresight.

Three Horizon Book Bill SharpeI’d like to relate to parts of a book that came out in late 2013 from Bill Sharpe. His book, or actually more a booklet, called “Three Horizons: The Patterning of Hope”, published by Triarchy Press, has some really helpful insights.

In this book, Bill outlines his distinct ways of creatively working through many of the unknowns, by framing and connecting though the Three Horizons, (3H) as his contribution to the patterning of hope for all our futures.

I draw out a lot within his thinking, experiences and approaches within the book. Some of these initial thoughts outlined here, re-affirm my own thinking and focus on the 3H, specifically for innovation and its management.

Here are some of the ‘triggers’ I connected with strongly from his book:

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Reflecting on the Value of the Three Horizon Model for our Innovating Future

Business as usualThere is that prevailing sense that we are just managing for ‘business as usual’, leaving many increasingly uncomfortable and feeling exposed. Why?

Our businesses are not adapting fast enough to changing conditions in the market, often lagging in the competitive race to update and keep relevant.

Businesses are struggling with conflicting knowledge flows and incoming intelligence, just simply managing their talent to keep them relevant, engaged and outwardly orientated.

They need to constantly adjust and adapt to the demands and challenges within the societal conditions, environments and markets, grappling with constant shifts in consumer demand and coping with the declining natural resources and of what all of this might mean.

We are often short on foresight and certainly struggling with growing complexity.

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Correcting an innovation oversight sometimes hits you hard!

I’ve had one of those weeks where a certain realization took hold, something that had been nagging away at you suddenly surfaces and slaps you in the face. Ouch!

I have just completed my own gap-analysis on how I have explained the Executive Innovation Work Mat methodology and its value.  It actually was a bit of an eye opener. I was surprised in this audit of all associated posts, articles and papers written by myself or in collaboration with Jeffrey Phillips, that there were some very glaring gaps in my posts on explaining this methodology.

The Seven Components that make up the Executive Innovation Work Mat

The Seven Components that make up the Executive Innovation Work Mat

The Innovation Work Mat has seven components or domains

What was crazy here is the fact I have the research, the component parts all worked through, structured and being used in actual engagements to prompt the essential discussions, yet I had not been publishing these enough through my posts to underpin the methodology.

I had been missing essential domain component messages that are the very essence of why you need to work around the entire work mat as essential. I was missing the opportunity to publically talk about ALL the parts as it is the combining of these that does provide its value as an integrated approach to innovation that can cascade throughout the organization.

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The Role of Governance needed in Innovation

Questions for GovernanceLater this month a book I have looked forward too, is finally being launched. It is called “Innovation Governance: How Top Management Organizes and Mobilizes for Innovation” written by Jean-Philippe Deschamps & Beebe Nelson.  Jean-Philippe Deschamps is emeritus Professor of Technology and Innovation Management at IMD in Lausanne (Switzerland).

Innovation Governance is promising to provide a comprehensive framework to help top management develop the overarching values, policies and initiatives needed for a corporate innovation constitution. The authors are providing a framework for encouraging and focusing innovation by explaining what innovation governance is, the various models for governance and their advantages and disadvantages, how to assess and improve governance practices, and behavioural tactics for maximizing the effectiveness of governance.

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Innovation’s Deepening Linkage

For me, 2012 was a defining year. Much of what I wanted to achieve in bringing together a growing but fairly comprehensive innovation tool set has seemingly materialized. The collaborative work that Jeffrey Philips and I undertook has been a significant contributing factor, and I owe him a big thank you for being such a great collaborating partner.

Also during the year I have tried to keep a consistent update on the flow of this work through this blog: paul4innovating.com and wanted to keep publishing selected aspects in association with the recognized leaders in innovation knowledge. I often like to think out loud and it is specifically motivating when others respond positively to what I’m thinking – thanks for that, it is motivating and encouraging.

You may not know but I work through two organizational structures, firstly www.agilityinnovation.com that is 100% focused on innovation and also www.hocaconsulting.com that works on subjects important to growing organization’s capability in today’s world but keeping innovation central to the framing solutions. These combine and underpin my advisory, coaching and consulting work. These need more shaping but do have all the essential content, perhaps too much! Continue reading

The Innovation Pathway Curve of Understanding

One of my recent articles outlined a three horizon framework for innovation. Let me extend this a little further. I’m sure we all agree Innovation needs to be worked at, it needs to be understood and often many people do get confused by not taking a more measured approach to the need to break innovation down into its manageable parts. Innovation does not just have a time axis that the three horizons framework refers too but it has a complexity and scope axis in learning as well.

By taking a more systematic approach to any innovation you achieve a greater understanding over time of what is involved.

Firstly you have to ask what you are trying to achieve, is it incremental innovation, distinctive, disruptive or even radical white space innovation? Do you approach innovation differently for each of these? I would argue you need to learn and build from one to another as you learn on the way, this is my going up a curve that increases in complexity and its scope/ outcome. Continue reading