Innovating: a Glossary of Practice


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Organizations are constantly asking about how to innovate. The popularity of the question reflects its importance, but it also reflects efforts that did not succeed. A big part of that problem is confusing language that obscures what the organization already brings to the party and how to use it. Here's a shot at it.

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Innovating: a Glossary of Practice

  1. 1. Innovating: A Practical Glossary © 2014 Malcolm Ryder / archestra research
  2. 2. What are you doing? You’ve spent a ton of money bringing your organization to life, with its myriad skills, processes and goals. But today, instead of just having “better than now” as a goal, being “different from now” is a mandatory future state. Innovation is the dominating mantra supplied as the answer to “How do we get there from here?” Yet with the enormous installed base of resources and managed action, organizations largely bemoan the problem: “How to Innovate?” Surprisingly, the most important question to answer is not how to innovate, but “Are we Innovating?”
  3. 3. Innovation is a Result • The idea of innovation is important because it represents a certain view of value and worth. There are only two basic issues distinguishing innovation: “New” (the value); and “So What?” (the worth)… • When organizations don’t know if they are innovating, the reason why is simple: they don’t consistently identify what they are doing in a way that makes sense relevant to innovation’s point. • Disciplined description allows the organization to identify when it is doing things that should add up to the result called innovation. Description can call out what is already getting done or can be done, and position those things in terms of why it should be done. • Undisciplined description is the biggest inhibitor to recognizing emerging innovation. Undisciplined description does a pretty good job of stunting the growth and maturation of the capability to innovate.
  4. 4. Operational capability to innovate • Providing the “innovation perspective” on current and potential activity means providing regular contextual references. • The characteristics of a result called “an innovation” are the objectives of the activity of making the innovation. • Practical values: making an innovation references basic concepts of where the “newness” is a difference having significance. There is a creation, an affect of the creation, and an effect of the affect. • Managed worth: making that progression of values “useful” justifies its effort. The efforts towards usefulness are referenced by how the future state evolves. There is imagination of concepts, inventions formed from the concepts, and implementations of the inventions – another progressive association.
  5. 5. Creative versus Innovative In effect, for innovating, creativity is required to cause a change that will allow some other goal to be met. That is, the host of the creativity is not trying to change to become creative; instead, the host is trying to use creativity to enable the ability to productively change. management IMAGINE practice The most well-known notions about innovation emphasize creativity as the necessary origin of “the New”, and change as the importance of the creativity. But aside from ambiguity in how creativity is engendered, lots of pressure is put on it by the host organization’s requirement for productivity. Creativity is a resource. INVENT IMPLEMENT Conceive Research Specify Strategize Design Theorize Build Experiment Creativity is often “loaded” with notions of intuition, originality, uniqueness, and proprietary authority. Most of the sense of organizational worth attached to those notions usually amounts to exclusivity and repeatability – the advantage of having a captive special resource. Otherwise, most of the concern is with managing the implications and utility of creativity’s results. But creativity is not just a phase; it is a characteristic that can be included as the mode of production by any area of effort in innovating. We use it where prior fixed formulas won’t suffice to achieve the aims of management or practice. For example, the influence of research extends through both management and practice. Research itself may be creative, and its influence may be creatively extended. As a result, change occurs; and change impacts are managed. Change Challenge Replace Reform © 2014 Malcolm Ryder / archestra research
  6. 6. The framework of description How it can actually happen New! IMAGINE Innovation INVENT In management, innovating requires focus on ideas, opportunity, and performance. Management is about how it can happen. AFFECT and possibly In practice, innovating emphasizes the discovery (what), vision (how) and purpose (why) of “The New”. Practice is about what can happen. CREATE and possibly So What? What can actually happen and possibly EFFECT IMPLEMENT and possibly DESCRIPTIONS… an ordered vocabulary that gets the attention of people who can, or already, do relevant things. Identify the relevance of the activities in terms of how their results progressively add up to a change that allows a future state that offers value of a new kind and/or worth in a new way. © 2014 Malcolm Ryder / archestra research
  7. 7. Path to an Innovation An innovation arises from decisions that are driven by the intent to realize a defined unprecedented way of achieving a goal. What the organization needs is a realization roadmap to the goal. The roadmap recognizes (or prescribes) and tracks the necessary constituent efforts producing the innovation. The operation for Innovation is goal-oriented. The goal is a future state that offers value of a new kind and/or worth in a new way. Contributors to the innovation can be found and cultivated in a wide variety (e.g. see table below) of efforts. Efforts driving “delivery” of an innovation are used intentionally to progressively advance its emergence. The efforts are characterized and associated in these consistent terms. Innovation Operations Recognized efforts are activated and leveraged, as needed to imagine, invent and implement the new way. An effort itself might be an innovation; or, some combination of efforts might produce it. Meaningful efforts on the path move collectively on the path from an imagined creation towards an implemented effect having a recognized purposeful performance. © 2014 Malcolm Ryder / archestra research
  8. 8. Excerpts • Innovate -> produce a future state that offers value of a new kind and/or worth in a new way • Innovating -> creativity causing a change that will allow some other goal to be met • Item -> concept, condition, or construct • Unprecedented -> the state of not having previously been a characteristic, such as regarding a property of a type, a type of an item, or an item in a context • Value -> the significance of a distinction A wide variety of efforts contribute to the result called “an innovation”. • Worth -> the impact of the value in a given context Organizations need a roadmap of necessary efforts. • Practice -> what can actually happen • Management -> how it can actually happen An orderly description of efforts positions them in consistent terms of why they should be used. Innovating is goal-oriented.
  9. 9. © 2014 Malcolm Ryder / archestra research