Issue 31 – May 3, 2013
Interactive Packaging: Here it Comes!.............................................…….. Donna Sturgess
Apple’s Innovation Problem ……………………………….………….………….... Greg Satell
Every Business is (or should be) a Social Business ……..……… Deborah Mills-Scofield
Leadership and Simplicity……………………………………..……………..…...... Mike Myatt
25 Things Successful Educators Do .…………………………………..……… Julie DeNeen
Pain of Skeptic Executives – An Open Innovation Challenge …...…. Stefan Lindegaard
Business Models, a Canvas for Growing Innovation Convergence …..…. Paul Hobcraft
Love is the answer – how innovation & love play same game ….…….. Juan Cano-Arribi
Learning to Play the Lean Start-Up Way! ………………………………...….. Janet Sernack
Mapping Innovation Across the Three Horizons ……………………..…..…. Paul Hobcraft
Your hosts, Braden Kelley, Julie Anixter and Rowan Gibson, are innovation writers, speakers and
strategic advisors to many of the world’s leading companies.
“Our mission is to help you achieve innovation excellence inside your own organization by making
innovation resources, answers, and best practices accessible for the greater good.”
Cover Image credit: Outside the Box from Bigstock
Interactive Packaging: Here it Comes!
Posted on April 28, 2013 by Donna Sturgess
We are on the cusp of transformation in the way that packaging engages consumers. Interactive packaging is advancing with Near Field
Communication (NFC) technology and pilot projects are underway in a variety of industries as companies vie to capitalize on the first mover
Today we are living in an on-demand culture as we interact with technology that surrounds our everyday life—pads, pods, phones, computers,
homes, autos appliances, lighting and more. The smart phone, enabled with NFC, is growing at a rapid rate and by 2016 is estimated to
capture over 50% of the market. As market penetration increases, NFC will be the driver of opportunities such as the mobile wallet and
interactive packaging beyond QR Codes.
Consumer goods and technology companies, like Avery Dennison, are aggregating the supply chain partners necessary to advance interactive
packaging. Currently pilot project are running in numerous industries, ranging from beverages to pharmaceuticals. The leading companies
involved are learning, adapting, re-engineering and re-testing to evaluate the full potential of the technology and the opportunity to build
relationships and unique interactions with customers. According to Jay Gouliard, vice president of innovation at Avery Dennison,
“Interactivity between the package and the consumer is the next avenue to build the romance
between your brands and your customers”.
If you want to join the upcoming conversation, there is a web chat hosted by Avery Dennison and The Dieline on May 2 nd at 1:00 EST.
You can register here: http://bit.ly/interactivepackaging
An important question for businesses is how will you capitalize on this technology when it becomes available? Many of the leaders I have talked
to view it as just another way to deliver a price incentive or coupon between the aisle and the register. If that is your view, think again. NFC will
create a big opportunity to connect to your customer in the store and in the home.
Here are a few ideas to stir your thinking:
1. Product information for health conditions such as diabetes, heart
disease, peanut and gluten allergies or weight loss.
2. Better Product Labeling for older eyes is an opportunity through NFC ; it
may also offer a new level of communication to satisfy FDA label
requirements to facilitate Rx- to –OTC switches
3. New ideas for recipes or how to tips, matching wine and food, or asking
an expert opinion in many categories either before or after product purchase
4. Entertainment is a wide open opportunity with NFC, ranging from a brand engaging customers with a great joke (my favorite idea!), to
offering suggestions on how to have fun with the product
5. Gaming could involve participation in a challenge or adventure (whether in the store or out in the world) where tapping with your phone is
part of the activity
6. New Voices of real people or communities with something to say can be connected to customers –Mom bloggers speak out on baby food
7. Track & Trace counterfeit products or diverted product outside of the intended market
As the number of interaction opportunities expand, it becomes critical to develop a unified brand story across the various devices and
technologies, rather than simply creating “pieces” of interaction. This shift represents a need for brands to develop content that engages
customers, not just creative communication that will be pushed to them. It challenges the basic brief process to open up big enough territories
for larger brand stories to be created.
I encourage you to pull out the current brand brief and ask yourself whether the insights or elements on it are leading to big, chunky stories that
customers can engage in across many touch points. If you have one that does I would love you to send it to me. The briefs I come in contact
with are using the same structure they did before the explosion of technology. Most brands have simply created a digital brief as a separate
document from the communication/TV brief.
Interactive packaging will push this issue up another notch. NFC technology will make interactions simpler and faster than QR Codes. The time
has come to rethink the elements of a strong brief if you want to build a relationship with customers to drive your business. Interactive
packaging will be another big opportunity to engage with them, but you will have to have strong story content and a unified strategy to leverage
it rather than chase it.
Donna Sturgess is the President and Co-founder of Buyology Inc and former Global Head of Innovation for
GlaxoSmithKline. She is also Executive in Residence at Carnegie Mellon University. Her latest book is Eyeballs Out: How
To Step Into Another World, Discover New Ideas, and Make Your Business Thrive. Follow on Twitter: @donnasturgess
Apple’s Innovation Problem
Posted on May 1, 2013 by Greg Satell
Apple CEO Tim Cook has a very tough job. Not only does he have to run the most
valuable tech company on the planet, but he has to follow one of the greatest chief
executives in history. Is he up to it? I’m beginning to think he’s not.
There have been some missteps, of course, like some earnings releases that
disappointed investors, the maps debacle, the continued lack of Near Field
Communication (NFC ) or an Apple TV, but that’s not why I’m having doubts.
I find it easy to believe that those things would have happened if Steve Jobs were still around (well, except for maps, maybe). Apple’s
legendary founder had more than his share of flops, but he had a great sense of what technology could do. Without him, Apple will have to
learn to innovate differently and Tim Cook doesn’t seem up to it.
Focus or Tunnel Vision?
I first began to have doubts when I read Mr. Cook’s remarks in a Businessweek interview, which I will quote here (with my own emphasis
Creativity and innovation are something you can’t flowchart out. Some things you can, and we do,
and we’re very disciplined in those areas. But creativity isn’t one of those. A lot of companies
have innovation departments, and this is always a sign that something is wrong when
you have a VP of innovation or something. You know, put a for-sale sign on the door.
Everybody in our company is responsible to be innovative, whether they’re doing operational work
or product work or customer service work.
In just a few sentences, he encapsulates both why Apple has been so enormously successful and also why its future is so precarious. Steve
Jobs’ legendary focus can easily manifest itself into blindness about what’s going on outside the company.
Many successful companies have innovation departments (such as Google X, the supersecret division responsible for Project Glass,
autonomous cars, and who knows what else?). Why would Tim cook want to dismiss innovation teams out of hand?
Innovating The Apple Way
In Walter Isaacson’s acclaimed biography of Steve Jobs , he recounts the story of how Steve Jobs decided to build the iPad. He was having
someone from Microsoft over for dinner who showed him a prototype for their new tablet computer. Seeing that it included a stylus, Jobs flew
into one of his characteristic rages. (Jobs hated the idea of a stylus).
He didn’t dismiss it though. He thought it was stupid, just as he thought that the way MP3 players and countless other products were stupid
(“sucky” was his adjective of choice), but rather than write it off, he went off and built something better and that’s what made Apple the world’s
most valuable company (for a while, anyway).
While Apple has gained a reputation as a disruptor, in truth, its products generally don’t meet the definition of disruptive innovation (except
for iTunes, which does). The thing that has set the company apart is that its products have been so “insanely great” that, even in established
categories, an Apple launch has felt like something completely new.
A Model For Long Term Success?
I think three factors account for the company’s success innovating this way. One, is the discipline that Tim Cook spoke of above. The second is
world class talent like Jony Ive and lastly, of course, is Steve Jobs. It was his ability to see the incredible possibilities of technology along with
his “reality distortion field” that drove Apple to create such wonderful products.
But that last crucial element is gone now and Apple will need to adapt. Steve Jobs was a unique talent, one that might come along once in a
generation. He simply can’t be replaced. To succeed going forward, they will need to develop a new model for success.
That doesn’t mean the company’s core values, such as quality and design, have to change, nor does it mean that it is in crises, with over $150
billion in cash and strong positions in rapidly growing categories like smartphones and tablets, Apple is in an enviable position.
However, what it does mean is that Tim Cook needs to look to the future rather than the past and that Apple will need to expand its vision and
learn to innovate more broadly.
Innovation Across The Matrix
Apple, of course, is not the world’s only innovative company. Google, IBM, Procter and Gamble and many others have consistently been able
to develop new products and services that keep them ahead of the competition. However, when you delve a little deeper, you find that they
each approach innovation in a different way.
To add some clarity and structure to innovation, I developed the Innovation Management Matrix, which asks two questions: How well is the
problem defined and who is best placed to solve it?
I’ve put a version of the matrix below, along with organizations which excel at the type of innovation represented by each quadrant.
Apple, much like Toyota, has thrived in well defined areas. They make important improvements to existing products, which is why Tim Cook’s
approach of getting everybody involved in the innovation process works well there.
However, when it came to deciding which new directions for the company to develop, Apple had a committee of one: Steve Jobs. Now that he’s
gone, it’s imperative that they start exploring other innovation methods.
Basic Research: In 1993, IBM research achieved the world’s first quantum teleportation that will form the centerpiece of the next digital
frontier of quantum computing which will begin to take hold sometime around the year 2020. It’s that kind of long term thinking that has
enabled them to build products like Watson, today’s most impressive computing platform.
As I noted in an earlier post on Forbes, Apple spends very little on research and development and even less (or nothing) on basic research.
Investing in completely new paradigms, rather than simply improving existing ones, might be something that Tim Cook and Apple may want to
Breakthrough Innovation: Another thing that Cook highlighted in the interview is how tight knit Apple’s senior management is. That’s great for
running operations, but inevitably people who spend a lot of time together end up thinking a lot alike.
That makes it difficult to overcome tough problems when you get stuck as well. Breakthroughs, after all, happen by synthesizing across
domains and that is very hard to do in a very focused environment.
Many companies are achieving great success with Open Innovation platforms like Innocentive or P&G’s internal program, Connect +
Develop. However, for Apple to create truly collaborative relationships with outside entities they will have to make serious adjustments to their
famously prickly culture.
Disruptive Innovation: Google and 3M have been able to consistently come up with truly disruptive innovations that have created new
categories. Products like Google Maps, which funds a satellite imagery service by selling ads to hardware stores and the like, isn’t the type of
idea that thrives in a centralized structure.
Both companies have versions of the 15% / 20% rule which encourages experimentation on a massive scale, rather than a laser like focus on a
few blockbuster products. Other organizations pursue disruptive innovation with internal VC arrangements, innovation jams, hackathons,
innovation days and yes, innovation departments.
So while Apple’s approach has worked magnificently in the past, that’s no guarantee that it will succeed in the future. Before Mr. Cook
dismisses workable approaches that other companies have adopted successfully, he might want to look around a bit more.
Which brings me to something else Tim Cook said in the Businessweek interview about what Steve Jobs told him when he handed over the
He said, ‘I want to make this clear. I saw what happened when Walt Disney passed away. People
looked around, and they kept asking what Walt would have done.’ He goes, ‘The business was
paralyzed, and people just sat around in meetings and talked about what Walt would have done. He
goes, ‘I never want you to ask what I would have done. Just do what’s right.’He was very clear.
Perhaps Jobs knew that, after him, Apple would have to become a very different company, that they would have to find their own way, set their
own mark and operate differently.
And maybe even get an innovation department…
image credit: allthingsd.com
Greg Satell is an internationally recognized authority on Digital Strategy and Innovation. He consults and speaks in the
areas of digital innovation, innovation management, digital marketing and publishing, as well as offshore web and app
development. His blog is Digital Tonto and you can follow him on Twitter.
Every Business Is (Or Should Be) a Social Business
Posted on May 1, 2013 by Deborah Mills-Scofield
I believe the distinction between social and non-social
business is a false dichotomy. And yet, it’s one we continually
want to make. We talk about “social businesses” — those that
are mission-led and focused on creating positive social change
— and “non-social businesses” — those that focus on revenue
and profit. Social entrepreneurs launching ventures may ask
themselves if their business models need to be different. Does
pursuing a social purpose require something unique to
describe and structure your business?
As someone who works with a variety of organizations in my roles as strategy and
innovation consultant, venture capitalist, professor, and mentor, this question intrigues to
me. To answer it, I evaluated a few years worth of business models created and implemented by clients (usually established, mature
businesses), invested companies (early stage), entrepreneurs I’ve mentored, and college students starting new ventures. The results? I found
that both social and non-social businesses focused on making sure revenues were greater than costs, either through selling something, raising
money or getting grants. The differences were more along traditional business characteristics: virtual vs. physical product or service, B2B vs.
That said, this initial evidence showed that social businesses focus more on achieving a positive impact in each of the nine business model
elements — value proposition, customer segment, channels, relationships, key partners, key activities, key resources, costs and revenues —
as well as the whole model. Many of the non-social businesses in my sample also focused on the impact of each element and interestingly,
they are very successful businesses (might there be a correlation?).
All businesses are social. All companies have people as customers, employees, and suppliers. At some point, in deciding which supplier to use,
in engaging your workforce, and in getting your product into users’ hands, relationships with people matter. Improving these their experiences
always improves the outcome for your company.
If a business isn’t providing valuable, meaningful solutions to real customers’ problems or delivering outcomes that both make a positive
difference in the customers’ lives and support the company’s mission, the business won’t have to worry about profits or outputs for long. The
market has a way of taking care of that.
The historical division between social and non-social business and “purpose” vs. “profits” is artificial and antiquated. Almost exactly two years
ago, Michael Porter and Mark Kramer called for a new definition of capitalism — “shared value” — to unify this false choice. I think this is how
Adam Smith envisioned capitalism; we just redefined it to serve our purposes. In fact, our financial crisis in part stems from non-social
businesses divorcing impact from profit and the outcome will haunt us for a long time.
To further test what I had learned, I turned to business model guru and friend, Alex Osterwalder (I’ve used his Business Model Canvas since
2009 because I believe it’s one of the best methodologies out there). He has vast experience creating business models all over the globe, in
almost every industry sector, and he came to the same conclusion: There is no significant difference in the business models themselves. In
fact, we agreed that for-profit social businesses are a powerful way to increase impact. For instance, Sun Edison’s business model
demonstrates that increasing impact doesn’t decrease profitability. One of Alex’s favorite businesses, PeePoople, is implementing a similar
model to provide basic personal sanitation to the 2.6 billion people who don’t have it today. As Alex says, “The most amazing business models
are those where profit and impact live in harmony. Business models can be designed where impact doesn’t diminish revenues or profit and vice
Does this answer the question about needing something different for a social business? I think so and the answer is clearly no. It’s time we stop
talking about “social” vs. “non-social” and encourage all entrepreneurs to focus on impact in every element of the business model as well as the
whole. We read about companies, like Patagonia, Virgin, Cemex, who profitably and purposefully balance doing well and doing good. If they
do it, why can’t you?
There are also some quiet, under the radar companies, like 6th generation family-held Menasha Corpin Wisconsin’s Fox Valley. The 164-yearold corrugated packaging firm has over $1B in revenue. Despite being in a commodity-driven market, it has experienced seven consecutive
years of remarkable growth, even during the recession. Menasha’s plants use heat from the corrugators to warm the buildings; they’ve reduced
water usage while increasing production; their culture is collaborative; and their people are active in their communities, serving on school
boards, supporting art and music, and having plain old fun in the Muscatine Great River Days boat races. The result is synergistic growth of a
company and its communities.
By focusing on each individual business model element and the model’s overall impact to create outputs that support sustainable outcomes,
perhaps our social entrepreneurs can help society break down this tired, man-made wall between social and non-social businesses.
Follow the Scaling Social Impact insight center on Twitter @ScalingSocial and register to stay informed and give us feedback.
Originally published in Harvard Business Review
image credit: dhiyafaris.com
Deb, founder of Mills-Scofield LLC, is an innovator, entrepreneur and non-traditional strategist with 20 years
experience in industries ranging from the Internet to Manufacturing with multinationals to start ups. She is also a partner
at Glengary LLC, a Venture Capital Firm.
Leadership and Simplicity
Posted on May 1, 2013 by Mike Myatt
One of the most effective ways to order your world is to simplify
everything you encounter. However the problem for many is keeping
it simple often becomes very difficult when our basic human nature is
to over-complicate everything we touch.
In thinking about the people I respect the most, to the one, they
possess the uncanny ability to take the most complicated of issues
and simplify them. You will find that the best leaders, communicators,
teachers, innovators, etc., have a true knack for taking extremely
complex, dense, or intricate content and making it engaging and
easy to understand. In fact, it was Leonardo Da Vinci who said:
“simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.” In today’s post I’ll take a look at the often overlooked benefits of keeping it simple…
While simplicity may have become a lost art, understanding the importance of simplicity is nonetheless critical to your success. Consider all the
presentations/meetings you’ve attended in the last few weeks; was it the people who were able to articulate their positions in a simple and
straight forward fashion, or the individuals that made things complex and tedious that got traction with their ideas? It has been my experience
that the more complicated, difficult, or convoluted an explanation is, that one or both of the following issues are at play: 1) the person speaking
is a horrible communicator, or; 2) the person speaking really doesn’t possess a true command of their subject matter. It is one thing to toss
around the latest buzz-words or to have the most complex flow chart, but it is quite another thing to actually possess such a deep and thorough
understanding of your topic that you can make even the most complex issues easy to understand.
It is almost as if business people have come to believe that complexity is synonymous with sophistication and savvy. It has been my experience
that the only things that “complexity” is synonymous with are increased costs and failed implementations. There is an old saying in the software
development world that states “usability drives adoptability” which tends to lend support to my observations. Those of you that know me have
come to understand that I prefer to cut to the chase and get to the root of an issue as quickly as possible – this requires the ability to simplify,
not complicate matters. Complexity is precisely what plagues many businesses. You don’t solve complicated matters by adding t o the
complexity. The most effective way to deal with complexity is to strip it away by addressing it with simplicity.
The truth is that simplifying something doesn’t make it a trite or incomplete endeavor. Rather simplification makes for a more productive and
efficient effort that is often more savvy than other more complex alternatives. Another benefit of simplicity is that it serves as a key driver of
focus, which enables greater efficiency, productivity, and better overall performance. Keeping things simple allows you to focus on one thing at
a time without the distractions that complexity breeds by its nature alone. I would suggest that you break down every key area of your business
(operations, administration, marketing, branding, sales, finance, IT, etc.) and attempt to simplify your processes, initiatives, and offerings.
As a C-level executive you must focus on simplifying your day in order to maximize your effectiveness. By simplifying everything from the
information and reports you view, to your communications protocol, to your agenda, to your decisioning structure, you will be better able to
operate in today’s unnecessarily complex world. I’ll leave you with this quote from Longfellow: “In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the
supreme excellence is simplicity.”
What say you?
Mike Myatt, is a Top CEO Coach, author of “Leadership Matters…The CEO Survival Manual“, and Managing Director of
25 Things Successful Educators Do Differently
Posted on April 30, 2013 by Julie DeNeen
If you ask a student what makes him or her successful in school,
you probably won’t hear about some fantastic new book or video
lecture series. Most likely you will hear something like, “It was all
Mr. Jones. He just never gave up on me.”
What students take away from a successful education usually
centers on a personal connection with a teacher who instilled
passion and inspiration for their subject. It’s difficult to measure
success, and in the world of academia, educators are continually
re-evaluating how to quantify learning. But the first and most
important question to ask is: Are teachers reaching their
Here are 25 things successful educators do differently.
1. Successful educators have clear objectives
How do you know if you are driving the right way when you are traveling somewhere new? You use the road signs and a map (although
nowadays it might be SIRI or a GPS). In the world of education, your objectives for your students act as road signs to your destination. Your
plan is the map. Making a plan does not suggest a lack of creativity in your curriculum but rather, gives creativity a framework in which to
2. Successful educators have a sense of purpose
We can’t all be blessed with “epic” workdays all the time. Sometimes, life is just mundane and tedious. Teachers who have a sense of purpose
and who are able to see the big picture can ride above the hard and boring days because their eye is on something further down the road.
3. Successful educators are able to live without immediate feedback
There is nothing worse than sweating over a lesson plan only to have your students walk out of class without so much as a smile or a, “Great
job teach!” It’s hard to give 100% and not see immediate results. Teachers who rely on that instant gratification will get burned out and
disillusioned. Learning, relationships, and education are a messy endeavor, much like nurturing a garden. It takes time, and some dirt, to grow.
4. Successful educators know when to listen to students and when to ignore them
Right on the heels of the above tip is the concept of discernment with student feedback. A teacher who never listens to his/her students will
ultimately fail. A teacher who always listens to his/her students will ultimately fail. It is no simple endeavor to know when to listen and adapt,
and when to say, “No- we’re going this way because I am the teacher and I see the long term picture.”
5. Successful educators have a positive attitude
Negative energy zaps creativity and it makes a nice breeding ground for fear of failure. Good teachers have an upbeat mood, a sense of vitality
and energy, and see past momentary setbacks to the end goal. Positivity breeds creativity.
6. Successful educators expect their students to succeed
This concept is similar for parents as well. Students need someone to believe in them. They need a wiser and older person to put stock in their
abilities. Set the bar high and then create an environment where it’s okay to fail. This will motivate your students to keep trying until they reach
the expectation you’ve set for them.
7. Successful educators have a sense of humor
Humor and wit make a lasting impression. It reduces stress and frustration, and gives people a chance to look at their circumstances from
another point of view. If you interviewed 1000 students about their favorite teacher, I’ll bet 95% of them were hysterical.
8. Successful educators use praise smartly
Students need encouragement yes, but real encouragement. It does no good to praise their work when you know it is only 50% of what they
are capable of. You don’t want to create an environment where there is no praise or recognition; you want to create one where the praise that
you offer is valuable BECAUSE you use it judiciously.
9. Successful educators know how to take risks
There is a wise saying that reads, “Those who go just a little bit too far are the ones who know just how far one can go.” Risk-taking is a part of
the successful formula. Your students need to see you try new things in the classroom and they will watch closely how you handle failure in
your risk-taking. This is as important as what you are teaching.
10. Successful educators are consistent
Consistency is not to be confused with “stuck”. Consistency means
that you do what you say you will do, you don’t change your rules
based on your mood, and your students can rely on you when they
are in need. Teachers who are stuck in their outdated methods may
boast consistency, when in fact it is cleverly masked stubbornness.
11. Successful educators are reflective
In order to avoid becoming the stuck and stubborn teacher,
successful educators take time to reflect on their methods, their
delivery, and the way they connect with their students. Reflection is
necessary to uncover those weaknesses that can be strengthened
with a bit of resolve and understanding.
12. Successful educators seek out a mentor for themselves
Reflective teachers can easily get disheartened if they don’t have someone a bit older and wiser offering support. You are never too old or wise
for a mentor. Mentors can be that voice that says, “Yes your reflections are correct,” or “No, you are off because….” and provide you with a
13. Successful educators communicate with parents
Collaboration between parents and teachers is absolutely crucial to a student’s success. Create an open path of communication so parents can
come to you with concerns and you can do the same. When a teacher and parents present a united front, there is a lower chance that your
student will fall through the cracks.
14. Successful educators enjoy their work
It is easy to spot a teacher who loves their work. They seem to emanate contagious energy. Even if it on a subject like advanced calculus, the
subject comes alive. If you don’t love your work or your subject, it will come through in your teaching. Try to figure out why you feel so
unmotivated and uninspired. It might have nothing to do with the subject, but your expectations. Adjust them a bit and you might find your love
of teaching come flooding back.
15. Successful educators adapt to student needs
Classrooms are like an ever-evolving dynamic organism. Depending on the day, the attendance roster, and the phase of the moon, you might
have to change up your plans or your schedule to accommodate your students. As they grow and change, your methods might have to as well.
If your goal is to promote a curriculum or method, it will feel like a personal insult when you have to modify it. Make connecting with your
student your goal and you’ll have no trouble changing it up as time moves on.
16. Successful educators welcome change in the classroom
This relates to the above tip, but in a slightly different way. Have you ever been so bored with your house or your bedroom, only to rearrange it
and have it feel like a new room? Change ignites the brain with excitement and adventure. Change your classroom to keep your students on
their toes. Simple changes like rearranging desks and routines can breathe new life in the middle of a long year.
17. Successful educators take time to explore new tools
With the advance of technology, there are fresh new resources and tools that can add great functionality to your classroom and curriculum.
There is no doubt that the students you are teaching (far younger than you) probably already have a pulse on technologies you haven’t tapped
into yet. Don’t be afraid to push for technology in the classroom. It is often an underfunded area but in this current world and climate, your
students will be growing up in a world where technology is everywhere. Give them a headstart and use technology in your classroom.
18. Successful educators give their students emotional support
There are days when your students will need your emotional support more than a piece of information. Connecting to your students on an
emotional level makes it more likely that they will listen to your counsel and take your advice to heart. Students need mentors as much as they
19. Successful educators are comfortable with the unknown
It’s difficult to teach in an environment where you don’t know the future of your classroom budget, the involvement of your student’s parents, or
the outcome of all your hard work. On a more philosophical level, educators who teach the higher grades are tasked with teaching students
principles that have a lot of unknowns (i.e. physics). How comfortable are you with not having all the answers? Good teachers are able to
function without everything tied up neatly in a bow.
20. Successful educators are not threatened by parent advocacy
Unfortunately, parents and teachers are sometimes threatened by one another. A teacher who is insecure will see parent advocacy as a threat.
While there are plenty of over-involved helicopter parents waiting to point out a teacher’s mistakes, most parents just want what’s best for their
child. Successful educators are confident in their abilities and not threatened when parents want to get into the classroom and make their
opinions known. Good teachers also know they don’t have to follow what the parent recommends!
21. Successful educators bring fun into the classroom
Don’t be too serious. Some days, “fun” should be the goal. When students feel and see your humanness, it builds a foundation of trust and
respect. Fun and educational aren’t mutually exclusive either. Using humor can make even the most mundane topic more interesting.
22. Successful educators teach holistically
Learning does not happen in a vacuum. Depression, anxiety, and mental stress have a severe impact on the educational process. It’s crucial
that educators (and the educational model) take the whole person into account. You can have the funniest and most innovative lesson on
algebra, but if your student has just been told his parents are getting a divorce, you will not reach him.
23. Successful educators never stop learning
Good teachers find time in their schedule to learn themselves. Not only does it help bolster your knowledge in a certain subject matter, it also
puts you in the position of student. This gives you a perspective about the learning process that you can easily forget when you’re always in
24. Successful educators break out of the box
It may be a self-made box. “Oh I could never do that,” you say to yourself. Perhaps you promised you’d never become the teacher who would
let the students grade each other (maybe you had a bad experience as a kid). Sometimes the biggest obstacle to growth is us. Have you built a
box around your teaching methods? Good teachers know when it’s time to break out of it.
25. Successful educators are masters of their subject
Good teachers need to know their craft. In addition to the methodology of “teaching”, you need to master your subject area. Learn, learn, and
never stop learning. Successful educators stay curious.
Previously posted on informED
Julie DeNeen has her bachelor’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of New Haven. She spent several years
implementing new technologies to help students and teachers in the classroom. She also taught workshops to teachers
about the importance of digital student management software, designed to keep students, parents, and teachers connected
to the learning process. @jdeneen4 and Google+.
Pain of Skeptic Executives – An Open Innovation Challenge
Posted on May 1, 2013 by Stefan Lindegaard
This should have been a short message to executives and
other people in influential positions, who are skeptical
towards opening up their corporate innovation efforts..
…but I got think that they would not read this any so this is
more like a piece of advice to corporate innovation teams
having to deal with such people.
What I want to bring out here is that continuing to do the
same things that you have been doing for the last couple
of decades might keep you at your position for a longer
period of time. Since you are already at the top of the firm
and since you most likely believe that the skills and
mindset that got you there will keep you there, you probably don’t see much reason to change your learning behaviours, stay up to date and
sharpen your saw. It is just easier for executives to forego changes compared to those who are still climbing the corporate ladder.
This is well for the skeptic executive…but very bad for your company. The fast pace of change in business and innovation requires up-to-date
understanding, skills, toolbox and mindset. If this is not in place, your company is in danger of being run over by companies that are more
nimble and more prepared for dealing with changes.
Corporate innovation teams need to find a way to deal with this. It is a tough challenge and there is only one comfort if your bosses are really
difficult to deal with on this matter. At some point, other executives or perhaps the board will notice and the executives who were unwilling to
change and adapt will be out of a job. Unfortunately, this is a long processs and the damage will already have incurred by that time.
The only solution is that corporate innovation teams need to find a to deal with skeptic executives early on. There are no easy answers here. It
is just not easy to tell executives that what is best for them might not be the best for the company. Perhaps you have some good
image credit: doubtful man image from bigstock
Stefan Lindegaard is an author, speaker and strategic advisor who focus on the topics of open innovation, social media and
The Business Model, a Canvas for Growing Innovation
Posted on April 27, 2013 by Paul Hobcraft
So where were you when this Business Design Summit was
happening? Did you miss it? Well kick yourself if you are remotely
interested in where innovation is evolving too. I missed going as it
was a sell out fast but I watched the live streaming. So I had a more
detached view but let me give you the flavor of what is bubbling up
around the Business Model and its Canvas where a new (and older)
generation of innovation ‘tool-smiths’ are all converging in a
In Berlin, held at the Classic Remise Berlin on 19th & 20th April 2013, around 250 people gathered around the Business
Model and started to bring together the converging aspects required in any Business Models design in tools, concepts,
Lucky for many that were unable to attend, the wonderful thing was that the summit also was live streamed and had a
dedicated hashtag of #bdsummit. I watched it and got very caught up in the event. They plan to release the
presentations and I think a whole lot more from this summit in outcomes through most probably the toolbox center to
build better Business Models.
This summit became the place of the innovation ‘tool-smiths’ to meet and exchange so as to begin the forging and
crafting of the new tools needed for innovation. These are aimed to help us in today’s and tomorrows world where
innovation is more central within business strategic thinking.
Firstly, the Business Model meets one of today’s need
Unless you have lived under a rock, in a hermit’s cave or on a beach disconnected from the world, anyone remotely
interested in innovation will have had business model innovation seared into their thinking. Then you would be aware of
the Business model canvas and the book “Business Model Generation” by Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur and a
core team of leading exponents, that included Alan Smith, Patrick van der Pij and Tim Clark and co-authored by 470
Business Model Canvas practitioners from 45 countries.
The Business Design Summits Objectives
The Business Design Summit had as its primary question: “Are the Business Tools you are using relevant for today’s
world? It went on to ask “If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them, instead,
give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking”.
So this was a summit of different concepts, tools and a host of the forward thinking people within the world of
innovation offering the parts that are converging. The different speakers offered a rich diversity of ideas, suggestions
and examples to stimulate your thinking. Each speaker contributed a tool and suddenly we had born a whole new
community of “tool-smiths” crafting away within innovation.
The speakers included at the Summit
These included Alex Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Patrick van der Pijl, Lisa Solomon, Lisa Chen, Luke Hohmann, Mark
Johnson, Stefano Mastrogiacomo, Dave Grey, Karl Landart, Henry Chesbrough, Muki Hansteen-Izora , Steve Blank and
Rita McGrath. Regretfully I missed one or two of the speakers as I got sidetracked within my day.
The visuals produced as these sessions developed were stunning.
Example of a visual recording, this is by @HolgerNilsPoh: A Business Opportunity Canvas by @mukiz from the #bdsummit
Apart from Holger Nils Pohl working away, I think there were lots of visual and graphic recorders busy capturing what
was presented in terrific event maps. Each of these contributed and made it a visual feast. These visuals significantly
improve ways to teach. More and more in our daily work, visual thinking will play an increasing part on the new tools
needed in understanding increasing complexity and being quickly able to visualize it in today’s world and become part of
our tool box for determining the next steps.
Some “stand outs” that I gained
It is hard to suggest one part was better than another, it was this convergence that made the event come together but
for me the timely reminder by Mark Johnson on the strategic importance of the jobs-to-be-done cannot be ever
understated. Jobs-to-be-Done are central to arriving at the value proposition as they should “inform” on the needs of
the customer that present the new innovation opportunities, perhaps also needing new business models.
The second was Luke Hohmann and his innovation games, something I will need to explore a whole lot more. His tag
line of “The Seriously Fun Way to Do Work—Seriously”. This offers online and in-person games to help organizations to
solve problems across the enterprise by using collaborative play to tap into true innovation.
Lisa Solomon who did such a fantastic job of being a main facilitator to much of the summit. She introduced her
forthcoming book around Strategic Conversations and spoke about her work and teaching around innovation, leadership
Of course, Alex Osterwalder had his usual high octane mix of presenting, tweeting, facilitating, just physically driving the
summit along. He must be shattered after events like this, energized for what’s ahead but drained in the immediate
aftermath. He was everywhere, the Innovation puppet master pulling all the strings of a well orchestrated summit.
Yves Pigneur did such a great job, introducing the BM Canvas but also in both wrap ups of “three minutes” to
summarize each of the days sessions. The way he did this has some real lessons on how to recall and conclude
Dave Gray and his evolving cultural mapping tool is yet another topic I need to climb into more following this appetite
teaser “as a tool, the hammer sees everything as a nail… culture itself is a tool” where he introduces the tool steps of
Evidence, Levers, Values & Assumptions. This seems a more diagnostic tool and I feel will develop the more this is
progressed, improved and used.
Then the whole topic of where large corporations need to fit into this business model movement with the challenges
and emerging issues discussed by Karl Landart and Henry Chesbrough. This is where the Business model canvas has to
deepen its presence. The Business Model Canvas has still not fully found its way into large corporate culture, certainly
not easily into the boardrooms. Time, short attention span and limited patience are real constraints. Should it- certainly
yes, how it is going to happen is a real challenge.
This whole area or corporate challenge needs some real intellectual capital in solving this as it is a necessity for BMC to
really take hold in large corporations. By the way, this was the best presentation in my opinion I have heard from Henry
Chesbrough and I was intrigued by his emerging thoughts on providing a Corporate Conflict Detector.
Muki Hansteen-Izora( @mukiz) of Intel talked through their internal tool, a first in a public forum, the Opportunity
Identification Tool or Canvas- the opportunity space is bringing their perspective into a conversation, developing up the
essential components, and getting these rooted and traceable.
The summit finished with a conversation between Steve Blank and Rita McGrath around “the end of competitive
strategy” Both are real influences within innovation, firstly they talked through the new playbook for strategy and where
so much is due to change. The sum of this was that Organizations are still awfully reluctant to give up power, we simply
can’t continue as we are, as all our ground is eroding and that long term quest for finding sustainable competitive
advantage is rapidly disappearing .
Transient short term competitive advantage is taking the place of sustainable competitive advantage. This will become
a “big idea” and influence our future in how we set about dealing with this. Rita is about to launch her book around this
whole area in the coming weeks and I feel will “rattle a few cages” in a few boardrooms, when they read it I suspect.
Steve worked his usual magic of weaving both the start-up and established organization into much of this conversation.
He provided numerous examples, spoke of the different “epiphanies” he has had on his customer process and where the
link comes together in his work and the Business Model Canvas. Always throwing in the amusing story but always
underscoring a powerful learning outcome.
Between Rita and Steve there was such a wonderful conversation between two deeply experienced people, full of
knowledge to share, stories to tell and ways to bring these together in practical ways that you could relate too. A great,
Are tools or ideas enough? The world is moving really fast
My growing concern is not the enormous energy being invested in new tools and methodologies; these are good, really
good, my concern lies still in the iteration process. The issue is do we crowd source these more and more, with growing
built in bias, to keep improving on them as soon as an idea hits us or do we slow them down from “just being put out
there” (alpha versions) to being better “beta” versions? I’m not sure when the right time is to release tools.
We have to remember Alex’s original foundation for his Business model canvas was a PhD and that was incredibly wellgrounded and why it has taken hold to such a level. Steve Blank’s customer work has integrated his enormous set of
experiences and lots and lots of experimentation but that comes in a fairly unique package.
Just having tools for tools sake is not the ideal place to go but tools, well thought through, placed out in the broader
community to be experimented with, reiterated and improved is highly valued and needed. Finding the balance is going
to be the key from all these tool-smiths.
Congratulations to the organizers of this Summit
The Business Design Summit brought together an enormously talented group – could it have looked out into the future
more, could it have debated more instead of the “tried and tested” listen and group work? Perhaps not, the group
needed to begin to work together, to find a greater common language. To have this streamed was incredible and valued
by us that were not able to attend. I offered this tweet to Alex:
But I do have a “what if” as my wish?
We do need to plot all the tools into the Business Model Map so we can have a more comprehensive roadmap of what
tool or methodology fits where and why. I’ve love that to emerge from this summit. We really need a “live” mashup of
all that is going on in a “dynamic” business model canvas environment so a growing community can all provide the next
generation. I think this is where the summit has begun to provide a real momentum – the shifts we need to make “to
teach people a new way of thinking.”
The next summit will be tentatively in Berkeley late this year or sometime next year.
image credit: businessdesignsummit.com
Paul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics
that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities.
Love is the answer – how innovation & love play same game
Posted on April 27, 2013 by Juan Cano-Arribi
It’s not about sending flowers to employees or having dinner by candlelight… or
maybe it is, to some extent. You cannot force people to be creative, or to carry out
the extra effort that taking part in innovation entails, or even to have the will to do it,
as you can neither force someone to love you. However, you can flirt with them,
seduce them. Incidentally, don’t worry if you’re not a seducer, it’s something you can
learn, …at least regarding innovation.
Fall in love with innovation
The prerequisite, naturally, is that you are in love. You have to feel the impulse of
doing what is required to make the subject of your love feel special. In this case, the
subjects are the customers (who are going to “buy” your innovation) and the people
at your company (particularly those who are going to be involved in innovation). It’s a strange case of a love triangle that works, unlike what
happens in romantic relations. Remember that initiative corresponds to you. As for your employees, if you don’t take the initiative, no one will.
Even worse, regarding your customers, for sure somebody else will take it!
Furthermore, you don’t only need seduction to win their hearts, but also confidence and understanding to keep them by your side. In many
senses, confidence is a matter of expectation. If you only add ornament but you beat the drum for a revolution, you will only get
disappointment… and rancor.
Love means understanding; there’s plenty of literature about that. Many deem understanding your partner 100% needless, and some even
recommend not trying it at all. Anyhow, it’s obvious that you need at least some ability to wear its shoes. We also know that knowing its likes is
practically imperative, as well as those kinds of things that can surprise it. We don’t need the help of any literature for that. In fact, not doing it is
a grave fault that entails anger, and when repeated, estrangement. It’s exactly the same when it is about customers, specially in some
industries where customers tend to be unfaithful and don’t need much to leave with the first one that offers them something of interest. It’s life
but don’t worry, just be consistent in your seductiveness and you’ll get long-lasting and profitable relationships.
Court people involved in innovation
Innovation runs parallel to the rest of business functions. For instance, if you are from marketing you don’t innovate instead of doing marketing,
but rather you carry out your marketing work as well as participating in innovation. Usually people don’t have enough time for their habitual
work, so participating in innovation implies doing extra work. On the other hand, innovation entails facing change and uncertainty, it requires
leaving the comfort zone, and this is something that most of us don’t do spontaneously. People must feel the need to do it, must wish it, and
you are the one that has to make them wish it.
Give them a worthwhile purpose and make them feel special. More specifically, set goals for what is worth fighting for and make them feel
important. As Mary Kay Ash said, “everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘Make me feel important’.” There’s no reward
more effective or durable. As for goals, appeal to elevated values, since they are more capable of obtaining commitments beyond duty and
allow a better management of creative tension.
Why is a girl or boy going to take notice of you when there are so many fish in the sea? You have to be special, deliver something special and
make her/him feel special. The meaning of ‘special’ varies on each case and depends on you (what you are able to do; not everybody is an
underwear model, you know) and on what turns her/him on. You can bet, in business it’s the same thing.
Deliver something special: Obviously, this is the matter. Deliver something that nobody else offers like you do; that adds real value to
your customers and proves attractive. Ok, this is crystal clear, right?
Make them feel special: The aforementioned is enough to make them look at you (or to make them buy), but not to fall in love with
you. You have to make them feel good and special. To know how to do it, observe them in their daily routine and, above all, look at
them in the eye every time you try to surprise them. You will learn a lot. Remember that if your innovation doesn’t succeed it’s not
because they have it in for you, but because you didn’t push the proper buttons.
Be special: Seduction is not only in what you make them feel but also in what you are. As for business, a good branding strategy
multiplies the innovation chances to succeed. Why do you think that iPhone users feel more special than Galaxy users? Indeed it’s
not a matter of technical characteristics but of Apple’s glamour.
In sickness and in health
Innovate means to go into uncharted territories, which implies getting lost on more than one occasion and have some hard times before finding
a golden vein. In this sense, love has two additional characteristics that are going to be very useful in innovation management and in the way
we face bad results: generosity to keep on giving effort and hope in spite of disappointments, and positive thinking to surround obstacles in a
creative way in search of a goal that is beyond the pitfall.
In conclusion: love your customers, love your employees. It’s more pleasant than deeming them a handful of fossilized people. Besides, even if
it doesn’t guarantee 100% success, it dramatically increases the chances of achieving it. On the contrary, forgetting that innovation requires
seduction will guarantee a fiasco. Moreover, seduction approaches make the process more enjoyable, just like we enjoy flirting regardless of its
result. Love them all, since “fortune and love favor the brave” (Ovid dixit).
Juan Cano-Arribí is founder and CEO at Plantel, company specializing in affordable innovation tools. He is visiting
professor at the innovation graduates school at Universidad de Valencia. He is an active tweep; follow him on twitter at
Learning to Play the Lean Start-Up Way!
Posted on May 2, 2013 by Janet Sernack
In a recent article Why the lean Start-Up Changes Everything, in HBR, Steve
Blank describes a lean start-up as “favoring experimentation over elaborate
planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over ‘big design
up front’” developments.
Residing in Israel, where there are currently more than 4,500 “lean start-ups”
being developed at this very moment, around this tiny nation, I decided to explore
how this phenomena could be applied to creating entrepreneurial and innovative
With “Innovation” as a current “buzzword”, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) reports in “The Most innovative Companies 2102” that 76% of
their respondents rank innovation as a “top three” strategic priority – the highest level in the surveys history! That 85% of CEO’S ranked
innovation as a top three priority, with almost 40% ranking it as the top priority, with a strong commitment to increase their investment in
The report also states that since the advent of the list in 2004, companies that have been on the list every year have delivered a 4% premium
over 10 years, indicating that when companies become consistent innovators, they achieve longer term growth.
So, how does a company become a consistent innovator?
How can they do this by maximizing the qualities of the lean Start-Up to create a new entrepreneurial economy?
How can they create value from understanding the generative nature of business problems and ideas?
When researching the possible answers to some of these questions, I noticed that most company’s efforts were focused on installing idea
generation and crowd based platforms as well as identifying mostly technology based process improvements. I also discovered that most
innovation education was based around practical problem solving and idea generating techniques and tools, or upon a range of mostly formal
consultant led interventions. Which, to my mind, were very traditional and even conservative approaches to becoming consistent or lean
innovators and would not deliver the desired or possible long term growth factors!
“You can’t solve problems with the same thinking (or mindset and behaviors) that created them!”
With this as my mantra of I invested time towards understanding and identifying the unique attributes of the Israeli innovative eco-system, to
explore how this systemic approach could be replicated and incorporated into a corporate learning environment.
I also researched and codified the range of cultural drivers that drive it, to see if these could be inculcated into organizations as the basis for
developing innovative cultures – as the development of an innovative culture is the basis for being a consistent innovator.
Ultimately, I researched, codified and replicated the intrinsic motivators, mindsets and behaviors into the Innovate like an Israeli Model and
Learning System (ILI). I integrated these concepts, principles and techniques with other cutting edge approaches to innovation management
and emergence processes, including Otto Sharmer’s “Theory U” as a way of leading from the future as it emerges.
Innovation is a leadership responsibility!
Discarding most of what I “already knew”, I also researched and explored a wide range of options, including enterprise gamification, to create a
visceral, provocative and memorable learning experience, which ultimately became “The Start-Up Game™”; a business simulation to teach
innovative and entrepreneurial leadership in the global corporate arena.
Adopting a generative, gamified and experiential approach
Utilizing my 30 plus years in designing customized corporate curriculum, I adopted a generative and experiential approach to learning that
emphasizes “continuous experimentation and feedback in an ongoing examination of the way organizations go about solving problems”, which
is very much aligned to the lean start-up way. This also involves integrating the spiral of learning; by creating an initial and relevant experience
that is debriefed to conclude and plan better ways of doing things next time. As games are metaphors for what happens in real life, learning’s
can also be applied and integrated at the individual, team or business levels.
Catering for differing learning and cultural styles
The concept of experiential learning incorporates the 4 styles developed by David Kolb; Activist, Reflector, Theorist and Pragmatist. These
factors all influenced the sphere of adult learning and became the basis for designing and developing the majority of corporate education
programs since the early 1990’s. Additionally, consideration was taken around the role and impact of cultural differences and inclinations in
learning program design.
Making learning sensory specific and neurologically adept
It was also important to integrate the key sensory factors involved in learning, to make the learning program sufficiently ‘sensory specific’ to all
types of individual processing and preferences; visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and audio digital. The intent was to stimulate peoples neurological
processing and preferences for acquiring and accessing information, through a broad and diverse range of visual, auditory and active
techniques based stimuli.
Neuropsychological research into learning suggests that Sensation Seeking provides a core biological drive of curiosity, learning and
exploration. A high drive to explore leads to dysfunctional learning consequences unless cognitions such as goal orientation,
conscientiousness, deep learning and emotional intelligence re-express it in more complex ways to achieve functional outcomes such as high
Entrepreneurial innovation as a learning system
In 2011, Robert M. Gemmell surveyed 172 technology entrepreneurs to explore links
between learning style and learning flexibility and decision making behaviours hypothesized
to produce entrepreneurial innovation and success. His study confirms the “profound role of
experimental practices” within a learning system for innovation, suggesting that “an
overwhelmingly large portion of innovation performance achieved by our entrepreneurs
(52%) can be explained by their hands on, iterative approach to learning and problem
Gemmell concluded that “entrepreneurs are most innovative when they utilise experimentation as a key practice without ignoring the other
learning processes. Entrepreneurs will be more successful and innovative when they take time to reflect upon multiple alternatives and when
they test trial ideas socially before making important decision.”
So, The Start-Up Game™ was born, a co-creation between ImagineNation and The Playful Shark, two Israeli Start-Ups, as a two day business
simulation that develops innovative and entrepreneurial leadership capability. It aims to develop a culture of “provocative competence”, which is
an innovative and entrepreneurial way of thinking, doing and be-ing resulting in consistent innovation, the lean start-up way!
image credit: musicteachershelper.com
Janet Sernack is the Founder & CEO ImagineNation. She is an ICf certified executive coach and experiential learning
specialist with expertise in adaptive leadership and team effectiveness. Janet facilitates a weekly business network in
Zichron Yaakov, Israel, for English speaking business owners and entrepreneurs.
Mapping Innovation Across the Three Horizons
Posted on April 24, 2013 by Paul Hobcraft
One of my most exciting areas within my innovation activities is applying the
three horizon methodology, for working through the ‘appropriate’ lenses for
different innovations and their future management. Let me outline the rationale
for adopting this within your organization.
Clarifying our options requires multiple thinking horizons
For me, the three horizons have great value to map 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 innovations contribution.
It goes well beyond the present value of ‘just’ fitting your existing innovation portfolio and directional management into a one dimensional,
viewed in the present, framework. You can see opportunities completely differently beyond the existing mindset and activities, it takes
innovation from tactical to strategic, to foresight in your evaluations.
Innovation is constantly facing disruption; it is constantly going through life cycles and new waves of different activities. We need a far more
robust, well thought-through way to apply our innovation resources to meet and anticipate these changing events.
Disruption points that need innovation response
I’ve outlined the three horizon methodology I subscribe too, in a number of different blogs by entering in the ‘search’ under “the three horizons”
These previous posts can contribute into your understanding of this emerging frame so I’d ask you to spend a few minutes viewing as I feel this
methodology in its approach has real value to you and how you need to manage your innovation in better ways.
The innovation perspective for the use of the three horizons framework
We are all well aware that organizations struggle on innovation - they seem to have real difficulties to climb out of the incremental traps. One of
the primary reasons is that they fail to apply different mindsets to evolutionary thinking and stay locked in the ‘here and now’ and this is such a
I believe the three horizons can be specifically set up for a specific innovation engagement to allow you to have some far more stimulating and
added value to your discussions around innovation, these can go from detailed to broad evolutionary explorations and so, radically alter many
of your present constraints and debates.
We need to separate and structure different mindsets to developing innovation capabilities.
Structuring the approach, by looking across multiple horizons, allow you to evolve the entire innovation portfolio and begin to recognize the
many gaps that exist within your thinking, within your capabilities and capacities to innovate. By looking at this through separate lenses assists
you in allocating the appropriate but usually different resource needed to be applied to each of the time horizons and challenges that lie within.
There is this prevailing or dominant system where many organizations stay firmly engaged within, that needs radically challenging, as this is the
famous incremental trap where growth performance stays restricted . The three horizons ‘asks you’ to apply three totally different mindsets to
see constraints, weaknesses and often very limited opportunities differently, it alters your thinking into a far more evolutionary approach.
The Different Horizons
The big idea of the three different horizons
The (big) idea is you go beyond the usual focus on fixing problems in the present and begin to plot and map some of the future disruptions that
might occur as you move forward. You work and think through three different time and clarity lenses focusing on different horizons.
The three horizons also seeks to capture the linkage on the transition points and possible disrupting junctions, as well as highlights those
potential gaps presently seen that needs clearly resolving. It can provide the ‘distinction of choices’ as well as begins to highlight present
organization realities. The more you ‘see’ the more you can fill those gaps. The more you can foresee, the more you can become ready for
managing transformation that will be needed.
The three horizons will also help you on innovation differently than the S-Curve approach, as it is more evolutionary where you are work far
more concurrently and building capacity and understanding progressively on the future “predictions” as they emerge and become clearer.
To approach the three horizons I see this going through different phases
a) Firstly clarify the burning needs relating to your present position and required future position by asking what improves existing activities,
what extends the current competencies and takes you into new avenues to develop/ mature. Link it to your known strategy but keep
questioning this to keep it fresh and relevant to ever-changing market conditions.
b) Then by deciding and weighting accordingly the winning needs you begin to articulate and frame these. These concept storyboards provide
the necessary linkage; it captures emerging trends for constructing plausible and coherent innovation activities projected into the future. These
begin to shape the decisions on resources and to determine investment options. This offers a clear shaping of the search for emerging winners
yet you are still able to constantly scan the horizons for changes.
c) By looking across the three horizons separately you allow H2 to have the discussions for the “space for transition” and resolve the constant
dilemma of “protecting core or investing in new” debates.
d) The H3 starts exploring fundamental different premises for replacing “business as usual” with exploring nascent ideas, concepts that
might replace what you presently have, it begins to shape your thinking and awareness of what is needed to build capabilities and capacities.
e) Often these H3, even some in H2 are weak signals today where many unknowns prevail but allow you to straddle between (h1) improve,
(h2) extend and (h3) change.
Planning across these different horizons needs different tools
Planning in different horizons needs different tools and these are based on (h1) see and operate, (h2) adjust your thinking frame and solutions,
(h3) more evolutionary. Each has different techniques to explore.
For me innovation portfolio allocations require the double axis of knowledge needed, over the axis of known knowledge, to manage the
dimensions of innovation concern, to see and operate accordingly. This is something I’ll explore at another time.
Managing with different mindsets
Different mindsets and discussions are based on (h1) operational: the here and now, (h2) more entrepreneurial: attempting to detect shifts and
adjusting in agile ways, (h3) more futuristic: based on values, visions and beliefs. Each needs separating.
There is a need to work through “typical” dangers – competing voices, mixed signals and all the uncertainly dimensions. What you must
consciously stop doing is looking backwards (legacy) and keep the mind ‘free’ to project forward. There is a lot of work specifically on the
mindset traps and how to avoid them, or to find the solutions, to surface them and address them.
The value of visualization to align dissenting as well as consenting opinions
Work through the visualisation and turning the “talking into planning” you can work through three options (h1) what’s now, (h2) what’s next and
(h3) what’s the goal to drive towards in descriptors and actions (resource allocations and specialised need to develop for example). This helps
further extend your horizon thinking and relate this into the actions you need to take.
The three horizons for innovation is very useful. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi ““First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight
you, then you win”. The three horizons does allow you to pick your fights and show others how and where you can possibly win in better ways
than just in the ‘present’.
Can you see the three horizons value?
The value of the three horizon approach for innovation is where I partly wish to take my work beyond its present position through far more
testing and exploring its application across different challenges and business segments.
I’m looking to engage with organizations further on this – interested? I’d welcome the opening conversations on this with you.
image credit: simplyzesty.com
Paul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics
that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities.
Are you an innovation practitioner, academic, or enthusiast?
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