Exploring the adjacent possible – Next steps

Steven Johnson investigated the types of environment that nourish fledgeling innovations, and presented his analysis in “Where Good Ideas Come From”. In his conclusions he explores the available data on about 200 of the most important good ideas of the past 600 years and derives some insightful advice for fostering innovation in the 21st century.

Exploring the adjacent possible – Conditions for success

What makes innovation flourish? Which types of environment let new ideas thrive? Science author Steven Johnson delves into exactly these questions in “Where Good Ideas Come From”. Here’s what he found.

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 seeming 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.