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.

The efficiency mindset – appealing, but treacherous

Much of the public debate about innovation is centred on the corporate world, where share-holder value still rules supreme, and where innovation is the key avenue to keep the competitive advantage required to excel in the market. In this environment, efficiency is the prime driver. However, his mindset asks us to implement solutions quickly. The result can be too much emphasis on solutions with too little concern for the underlying problems; too much doing with too little thinking. And that has some unintended, hideous side-effects and long-term implications.

The entrepreneurial mind – upgrade

We live in a VUCA world: it’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. These global conditions are the same for everybody, for every organisation. But different types of organisations show different kinds of responses to these circumstances, in particular in the business world. While small entities like start-ups seek to draw their competitive advantage from agility […]