Design-Based Innovation

Integrating Design for Success in Innovation


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Innovation Is Easier Said Than Done

by Guest Contributor, Uri Hess, Hess L&D Inc.

Have you ever noticed how companies describe themselves as innovative? Or, refer to the fact that innovation is one of the core values of their strategic agenda? The intent is good, but it may simply be in vogue to include the word innovation as jargon. Without a capability strategy, how can we be expected to actually activate innovation?

Experience proves that to initiate a true culture of innovation, the company, organization or team must dedicate itself to a strategy which allows them to live innovation. This is a willingness to define and discover innovation capability development, and to agree on process which can impact the way we think and work to be more innovative. This does not suggest a heavy-duty training program which must become part of a long-term framework for the entire population of the company. It does not suggest that the learning and development needs must be part of a detailed long-term strategic plan. Quite the contrary, innovation capability development is an ongoing experience.

The word itself has almost become a cliché. Therefore, innovation capability development can be triggered by simply asking a group or team to define innovation. To quote Scott Anthony, author and managing partner of Innosight, the consulting firm founded by Clayton Christensen, “Innovation: something different that has impact” is both more important and more accessible than ever before. Consensus around the definition creates an initial understanding of the ‘WHAT’ of innovation. This, in turn, creates the necessary curiosity to learn about the ‘HOWs’ of innovation.

To maintain the innovation capability development as an experience, there is an ongoing expectation to practice what we preach as part of a training process. It is usually a segmented process which incorporates interesting guidelines and techniques that guide us from the discovery of a difficult problem through to the new ideas, and then, through to implementation. It’s an experience because of the immediate application options that are needed to activate innovation progressively. It’s a process that recognizes several aspects of innovation, such as design thinking, disruptive innovation, prototyping, ideation and other innovation programs as part and parcel of a complete process. With a capability strategy in-hand, you will have the opportunity to bring innovation to life.

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