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.

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.

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.

Rethinking trust – in technology

We are engulfed in technology in our homes, at our workplaces, in our spare time: every moment of our everyday lives. We rely on technology such much that the question whether we trust it doesn’t easily come to our minds. And there was little need to ask that question – until recently. But with information technology pervading literally every aspect of our lives today, we cannot evade that question any longer.

Rethinking trust – in humans

Trust is the essential currency in human interaction, it is the indispensible basis for the many unwritten contracts we enter every single day. Trust is the glue that keeps social groups together and the grease that lets these groups act, and interact, smoothly. Trust is so foundational to human society that we take it as just that: the eternal fundament of our culture. I’ll argue that digital technologies are gradually eroding that fundament, causing cracks in the foundation of our society.