The Innovation Intensity needed in the Energy Transition

The level of innovation intensity within the Energy Transition is a fascinating one and one I continually place more and more a focus upon.

One really critical source of reference for tracking clean energy progress comes from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The recent reporting back on the development of the energy transition we are undertaking seems depressing reading. We need to accelerate innovation and technology adoption.

We are so off track for much of the Energy Transition. if we are going to get anywhere near the Paris Agreement, and the below 2-degree climate goal set by 2050, we need to focus even more on transforming our energy systems globally.

The IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS) offers a pathway for the global energy system to reach three strategic goals: the Paris Agreement’s well below 2°C climate goal, universal energy access, and substantially reducing air pollution. The IEA assesses the status of 46 critical energy technologies and sectors and offers some general advice on how to get “on track” with this SDS approach.

Presently there is a rising concern the Covid-19 has knocked us off a path.

In the short term, the dramatic economic downturn has given rise to seeing air pollution levels drop during the “lockdown” months, but as was seen after the 2008 /9 financial crisis when the economy came “roaring back,” so did the carbon emissions.

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Seeing the Energy Transition in Different Horizons and Innovative Ways

The majority of my recent work has been in investigating and building a comprehensive understanding of the #energytransition.

It is, to say at the very least, complex and challenging, but for me, satisfying and rewarding. Let me briefly explain how I am going about this and why. Why am I seeing the energy transition in different horizons and innovative ways?

My research ‘intensity’ (If I can call it that) had to become well structured, and I turned to some of my favorite, perhaps old fashion tools to capture my learning and give me my points of reference.

Included in this structured approach is different tools to capture and translate my progress. I have been building out extensive energy mind maps, constructing a dedicated posting site set up under “innovating4energy- a transition in all our lives” to ‘reflect’ some of my learnings and then to test that translation of my thinking, hopefully for others to relate too. Then building up the content within Microsoft’s One Note. Finally, lots and lots of saved files in an extensive folder on “the energy transition”.

The Energy Transition and building the new Smarter Infrastructure and Systems is a fascinating area within my present focus and future work. Here is why and how I am going about it:

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How do you apply the three horizon framework in your thinking? Steve Blank you are limiting your thinking.

Presently the three horizon model is argued as no longer applying to innovation as it has been suggested, or I feel so, in a recent article written by Steve Blank.

Now I am a terrific admirer of Steve and his thinking but he does, I feel, rush to an assumption to fit one specific problem area, most coming from the start-up world. I apply the three horizons from the more mature organizations perspective and in a much wider lens framing approach than clear he does.

Steve Blank, no less, wrote about the problems with applying the three horizons as his view recently. You can read it here. He changed the title from “the fatal flaw of the three horizon model” to “fast time in three horizon high” mainly due to the push back he received from one of the original creators of this framework. It got even further dampened down into a more observational under “McKinsey’s Three horizons Model defined Innovation for years. Here is Why It No Longer Applies” in a Harvard Business Review posting that digs him further into his specific business focus corner that little bit deeper, as his title assumes.

Steve, I have news for you, the three horizons frame is healthy and fit for use, maybe not in your specific application (although I know it can be) but in multiple applications. I am not sure he decided why he became so dismissive on the 3H. “Fatal flaw, fit for use” can confuse a wider audience, many living off his pronouncements, when the value of this 3H frame is even more compelling today than when it was first proposed. It has moved on, not regressed. Continue reading

Exploring the Rich Tapestry within the Three Horizon Framework

3H Halley Comet and Bayeux TapestryWithin our ‘business as usual’ attitudes, there actually lies the seeds of destruction. Today there is a relentless pace; we are facing stagnation in many maturing markets if we don’t evolve.

Yet we actually subvert the future to prolong the life of the existing. We need to frame our innovation needs differently for exploring and exploiting innovation across different time horizons to move beyond the usual.

Commonality within innovation is becoming increasingly important. We need to build clear common languages of innovation, frameworks, methods and approaches.

There is a pressing need to frame innovation in different ways, to meet change that lies in the future. We are in need to clarify our options and this requires multiple thinking horizons to work through to deliver a richer tapestry of innovation discovery.

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Applying innovation thinking in different horizons

Forming a common view of 3HIn the past few days, I have had some exchanges on twitter with Jairo H Venegas and Ralph-Christian Ohr on different thinking around the three horizon methodology. We share similar views on its value and partly how it can be applied.

Ralph and I exchange constantly and occasionally meet up together. Actually, we need another meeting Ralph to catch up and explore these mutual innovation value points.

Ralph in a reply to Jairo suggested this: “That’s why a portfolio approach is so important” – with his take here: bit.ly/1Rn5Svq  under his excellent Model for Integrative Innovation article.He ‘talks’ of cornerstones and offers different premises to anchor these a little more. Continue reading

Innovating: So What Is Possible?

Often we forget to frame what we want to really achieve in our innovation activity, instead we simply dive in and start innovating. I believe until we know what solutions we feel we need or the market wants, we will more often than not, end up disappointed in our innovation solutions. Simply generating ideas, for ideas sake, just does not cut it at all.

In recent years our innovation understanding and its management have significantly changed, due to numerous factors that have been happening. These have been advances in technology, methodology or design- thinking and we do need to stop and think about how we could do ‘things’ differently by asking “what is possible?” This should be asked not just on each occasion of an innovation concept design but within the total innovation system we are presently operating under.

Perhaps by asking three critical questions on “what is possible?”  we might produce better innovation answers (and solutions) than in simply not bothering to, at least, scope out the real possibilities, where we can miss so much.

The aim of asking is to reduce the constraints, free up resources, leverage the techniques available, and equally, push the boundaries of your thinking to want to generate “great” innovation, not just the mediocre, incremental stuff, so often produced and labelled “innovative” that we end up doing.

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The Compelling Value of the 3H for Innovation Management

The Value of the Three Horizons of Seeing Beyond

The Value of the Three Horizons of Seeing Beyond

Following on from my suggested Common Language approach to the Three Horizons, I would like to outline here its significant value, within any innovation management thinking.

Clarifying our options requires multiple thinking horizons – seeing beyond for all possibilities by listening to the different voices

For me, the three horizons have great value to bring together and  map all the different thinking and possible innovation options over changing horizons.

You can frame innovation in alternative ways by using this approach. Innovation has multiple evolution points and working with this framework allows you to significantly improve all of your innovation contributions.

It goes well beyond the present value of ‘just’ fitting your existing innovation portfolio and directional management into a typical one dimensional view of just working in the present.

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The Three Horizons – Providing a Common Language in its Innovation Use

Forming a common view of 3H

Forming a common view of the Three Horizon for Innovation

As you may know I have been writing significantly around the Three Horizons in relationship to innovation.

Initially drawing on the foundation within the McKinsey initial papers, updated here under their enduring ideas, and in particular based on by its original authors of the book “The Alchemy of Growth” by Mehrdad Baghai, Steve Coley, David White and Stephen Coley

Then I discovered the work of the International Futures Forum, based in Scotland, where a group of members have extended the 3H significantly, well beyond McK’s initial work from my perspective, into a broader, more robust methodology tackling complex problems.

It was this IFF work that excited me, it opened up my thinking to find better ways to deepen the innovation connections and framing that could be suggested in the use of this three horizon frame in exploring and expanding different techniques and approaches.

Connecting the innovation thinking dots

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