Innovation – Our force for change

Innovation has become a major buzzword of our time, often with almost mystical properties ascribed. This essay is my attempt to demystify that buzz – in 500 words.

Seeing possibilities

At a global scale, how do you perceive the path of mankind? Getting better? Getting worse? Getting nowhere? Listening to our instincts, we are inclined to hold a gloomy, even bleak view of the current state and our future prospects. But is such pessimism at all justified? Should we rely on our guts? And what do the facts tell us? The big trends that shape the development of populations and define their health and wealth, these drivers of societal progress are the focus of Hans Rosling’s lifelong mission as a public health practitioner, researcher, and teacher.

Where’s your innovation focus? – Part 1: Harmony

Innovation is never easy. Regardless of its purpose, you’ll always have a lot to take into account: needs and expectations, resource implications, rules and regulations, the state of the art as well as technical limitations of legacy systems. Wrestling with all these constraints can easily distract you from your ultimate goal. To help you find your innovation focus, I’ll revisit two conceptual maps I’ve discussed earlier to develop a hybrid navigation aid that combines the best of both concepts.

Embrace the seemingly paradox!

Let’s face it: your problems are like spoiled brats, just too willing to misbehave. And they can easily afford to be ill-tempered, irrational, incoherent, inconsistent. However, you cannot. Not as an individual, not as a leader, not as an organisation. For you must uphold some level of coherence and consistency to maintain your credibility (and I would add: your self-esteem). How can you achieve that goal if your problems obviously don’t play fair?

Reading the map – East or West?

The Cynefin framework is a sense-making model that can serve as a map to give you some orientation in challenging situations of decision-making or problem-solving. Recently, I took a closer look at how you could read this map and why it is prudent to avoid the Southern domains. Today, I’ll investigate the main differences between the Eastern and the Western domains and how those will affect your chances of success.

Reading the map – Keep to the North!

Over the past few weeks, I introduced you to a sense-making model developed by Dave Snowden. His Cynefin framework can serve as a map to give you some orientation in challenging situations of decision-making or problem-solving. Today, let’s take a closer look at how you can read this map, and why it’s advisable to avoid the South.