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Are you innovative ?


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The societal innovation compass (uses the downloadable spreadsheet)

This is a small tool to reflect about the societal innovation shape of your company or organization.

Innovation must consider eight basic factors. Evaluate how they are implemented in your organization:

1. Societal problem's monitoring
2. Societal solution's monitoring
3. Organization's context analysis
4. Target audience's needs validation
5. Diversified strategic orientation
6. Systematic exercise of creativity
7. Innovation process
8. Project versus process guidance

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Are you innovative ?

  1. 1. The societal innovation compass 1. Introduction The innovation capacity of a nonprofit organization is the result of societal mindset of individuals who make up its team. Having a representation of this ability, even approximate, allows taking actions that will promote at the same time the innovation and the stability of the organization. The lack of innovation characteristics can lead the organization to lose the opportunities to create positive social impact, while an excess of “innovation way” can raise it to become unstable, constantly running in any direction. 2. Eightcharacteristics The social innovation compass takes into account eight basic characteristics and their individual assessments with the minimum, maximum and average. An Excel spreadsheet facilitates the documentation of the results and shows them in the form of a radar chart as the following example: 2.1 Societal problem's monitoring Evaluate the organizational habits to make systematic monitoring of societal problems in its possible geographical operational zone, either by newspapersreading, internet searching or with the help of automated alerts on topics of interest. Knowledge of societal problems sustainsthe emergence of innovative solutions, in the expertise fields of your organization. O = no monitoring, 10 = systematic monitoring. thesocietalinnovationcompass-131126131244-phpapp01-reupload.docx 1
  2. 2. 2.2 Societal solution's monitoring Evaluate the organizational habits to make systematic monitoring of answers to societal problems, proposed by other organizations, either by newspapersreading, internet searching or with the help of automated alerts on topics of interest. The monitoring of societal solutions brings you a double advantage: youdoesn’t have to reinvent the wheel, if the found solutions are absolutely great, but also the ability to think outside the box, imagining how these solutions can positively influence your own ones. O = no monitoring, 10 = systematic monitoring. 2.3 Organization's context analysis Beyond the societal problems and their solutions monitoring, the knowledge of the context in which your organization is submerged is absolutely fundamental. The more your context knowledge is relevant and pertinent, the more you will be able to analyze and deduce evolution trends, so you can anticipate what societal solutions will be needed in the future. Your innovation process needs creativity and information simultaneously. Rate your ability and availability in a systematic context analysis process. O = no analysis, 10 = indepth analysis. 2.4 Target audience's needs validation The creative process leading to innovation has a drawback: it uses mostly hypotheses generated within the four walls of your headquarters and not facts from the field. Although internet researches are of great value, nothing beats the information collected directly from persons in the field. Evaluate your organization's habits to "wear its coat" and go to the field to conduct surveys, polls, surveys, observations, directly with your target audiences. O = no validation done, 10 = all assumptions validated. 2.5 Diversified strategic orientation The strategic orientations of your organization normally differ at its various developmentstages. For example, during its creation the effectiveness (the ability to create social impact)will probably be the preferred orientation rather than saving costs with efficiency. Later on in an expansion phase, the efficiency will certainly prevail, so you can better control the costs. Innovation is more likely to develop in a climate where you search simultaneously for impact, efficacy and efficiency, rather than in an exclusively single orientationpath. Rate the openness and diversification of your strategic orientations. O = single orientation, 10 = diversified orientation. 2.6 Systematic exercise of creativity For innovation to be able to flourish in your organization, it is necessary to stimulate the creativity of your team. This can be done individually, in example by launching creativity contests and most innovative idea prizes. Another possibility is to foster the emergence of creative ideas in your teams, giving those specific moments to the creative process and the resources to do it (locations, facilitators, animators, camp day ...). Various techniques exist to foster creativity, such as lateral thinking, the hats game, brainstorming, and so on. Evaluate the tools and the space you have available to stimulate creativity. O = no stimulus, 10 = systematic stimuli. thesocietalinnovationcompass-131126131244-phpapp01-reupload.docx 2
  3. 3. 2.7 Innovation process Rate in your organization the processformalization of transforming innovative ideas into solutions for your target audiences. A typical process may begin with ideation, followed by phases of design and assumptions validation done by the creative and marketing teams. Then start the development phase, with many iterations and MVPs - Minimum Viable Products, as advocated in the Lean Startup methodology. Finally the engineering and production process will transform the innovation into a real solution in your target audience’s hands. Evaluate the existence of a formalized innovation process in your organization. O = informal innovation, 10 = formal innovation process. 2.8 Project versus process guidance Innovation must be conducted mainly by methods of project management, with clear definitions of objectives, risk calculations, schedules of activities, timelines and budgets. Project management, because every innovation begins at a time t0, ends at a time t1 and is aimed to deliver a unique solution. But innovation is also a systematic process and a procedural guidance is also needed. Evaluate the individual orientations of your team. O = purely process oriented, 10 = purely project oriented. This criterion is typically the only one where a large gap between the minimum and maximum values is a favorable factor. 3. How to proceed Gather your team Explain clearly the objectives and guidelines of the exercise Ask everyone to make the “assessment” individually Gather all results Calculate the average Report the minimum, maximum and average in the spreadsheet Analyze together the resulting radar Setup together the changes to bring Follow this link to download the spreadsheet: More information at thesocietalinnovationcompass-131126131244-phpapp01-reupload.docx 3