Tag Archives: free

Free Human-Centered Innovation Tools

Free Human-Centered Innovation Tools

Innovation is all about change, and change only succeeds when people are put at the center. Therefore, people are also the heart of innovation.

It is because of this fact that I continue to build out my Human-Centered Innovation methodology and toolkit.

Keeping with the spirit of placing people at the center of innovation and change I have not only resurrected Blogging Innovation as Human-Centered Change & Innovation (follow us on LinkedIn) – complete with a weekly newsletter – but am also creating this curated collection of human-centered innovation tools.

I will give this page a start with some of my free tools from my Human-Centered Innovation Toolkit along with other well-know people-centric innovation tools.

BUT, this page will always be under construction, so please contact me with your suggestions of free tools to add.

Free Human-Centered Innovation Tools

Assessments

1. Innovation Maturity Assessment

Free Innovation AuditTo help people evaluate their level of innovation maturity against the above graphic, I am sharing the 50 question innovation maturity assessment I use with clients. The assessment is most powerful when answers are gathered at multiple levels of the organization across several groups and several sites, but you can also fill it out yourself and get instant feedback – for FREE.

Click here to visit the Free Innovation Maturity Assessment page

Strategy Tools

1. Play-to-Win Strategy Canvas

Play-to-Win Strategy CanvasMatthew E. May designed and developed a wall canvas to be used when facilitating strategic choice-making with small teams. Over time, the canvas has evolved as he learned more and more about the art and discipline of strategy facilitation… what people struggle with most, where the resource of time is best spent, etc.

He introduced v3.0 of the canvas a few years ago in a short post, but here’s a little content to both explain what’s different (and why) and a few tips.

The first thing you’ll notice is that strategy-making is in three big steps:

1. Choose (strategic choices using the Play-to-Win framework)
2. Reverse Engineer (what must true for the choices to be good ones)
3. Test (validating what must be true is in fact true, or true enough)

Click here to download the free Play-to-Win wall size canvas

Click here to download the free Play-to-Win 11×17 canvas (aka A3)

Planning Tools

1. Visual Project Charter™

Visual Project Charter™The Visual Project Charter™ helps organizations:

  • Move beyond the Microsoft Word document
  • Make the creation of Project Charters more fun!
  • Kickoff projects in a more collaborative, more visual way
  • Structure dialogue to capture the project overview, project scope, project conditions and project approach

This download includes a premium 35″ x 56″ scalable PDF that I am making available to project managers for use in planning their projects in a more visual and collaborative way for greater alignment, accountability, and more successful outcomes.

The download will also include a JPEG version for use with online whiteboarding tools like Miro, Mural, Lucidspark and Microsoft Whiteboard for when your sticky notes need to be virtual.

Click here to get the Visual Project Charter™ for free

2. Business Model Canvas

Business Model CanvasThe Business Model Canvas is a popular tool from Strategyzer than can be used collaboratively to sketch out and iterate on potential business models for a new business or innovation opportunity. Why use the Business Model Canvas?

  • Map Existing Business Models – Visualize and communicate a simple story of your business model.
  • Design New Business Models – Use the canvas to explore new business models whether you are a start-up or an existing business.
  • Manage a Portfolio of Business Models – Use the canvas to easily juggle between “Explore” and “Exploit” business models.

Click to visit Strategyzer’s Business Model Canvas download page

People & Culture

1. Nine Innovation Roles Card Deck

Nine Innovation RolesI’m of the opinion that all people are creative, in their own way. That is not to say that all people are creative in the sense that every single person is good at creating lots of really great ideas, nor do they have to be. I believe instead that everyone has a dominant innovation role at which they excel, and that when properly identified and channeled, the organization stands to maximize its innovation capacity. I believe that all people excel at one of nine innovation roles, and that when organizations put the right people in the right innovation roles, that your innovation speed and capacity will increase.

Click here to visit the Nine Innovation Roles free gifts page
(multiple languages available)

Frameworks

1. Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation

Eight I's of Infinite InnovationThe Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation framework is designed to be a continuous learning process, one without end as the outputs of one round become inputs for the next round. It’s also a relatively new guiding framework for organizations to use, so if you have thoughts on how to make it even better, please let me know in the comments. The framework is also ideally suited to power a wave of new organizational transformations that are coming as an increasing number of organizations (including Hallmark) begin to move from a product-centered organizational structure to a customer needs-centered organizational structure. The power of this new approach is that it focuses the organization on delivering the solutions that customers need as their needs continue to change, instead of focusing only on how to make a particular product (or set of products) better.

Click here to download the Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation PDF from LinkedIn
(go into fullscreen mode to download)

2. Building a Global Sensing Network

Building a Global Sensing NetworkThe purpose of a global sensing network is to allow an organization to collect and connect the partial insights and ideas that will form the basis of the organization’s next generation of customer solutions. This involves collecting and connecting:

  1. Customer Insights
  2. Core Technology Trends
  3. Adjacent Technology Trends
  4. Distant technology trends
  5. Local social mutations
  6. Expert Communities

Click to read more about Building a Global Sensing Network

Click to access this framework as a scalable 11″x17″ PDF download

Prototyping & Testing Tools

1. The Experiment Canvas™

The Experiment CanvasThe Experiment Canvas™ is designed to help people instrument for learning fast in iterative new product development (NPD) or service development activities. The canvas will help you create new innovation possibilities in a more visual and collaborative way for greater alignment, accountability, and more successful outcomes.

Click to read more about The Experiment Canvas™

Click to download the Experiment Canvas™ as a 35″ x 56″ scalable FREE PDF poster

Add to this list of Free Human-Centered Innovation Tools

This page will always be under construction, so please contact me with your suggestions of free tools to add.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Start 2021 with a Free Innovation Audit

Free Innovation AuditNow in Portuguese or English

Are you struggling to identify why your innovation efforts are failing to achieve their desired results?

Identify your areas of opportunity with my FREE 50 question audit in one of two ways:

1. Get immediate feedback with the online version

2. Download the Microsoft Excel worksheet (in English or Portuguese)

  • have people across your organization fill it out and collate your results
  • OR purchase the Innovation Diagnostic Service for my help setting up a study and analyzing results

The innovation audit is most powerful when answers are gathered at multiple levels of the organization across several groups and several sites.

I created my FREE Innovation Audit for buyers of my first book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire, but it’s now available for global use.

NOTE: If you’d like to translate the audit into another language, please contact me.

In addition to helping you identify areas of potential improvement and the strengths/weaknesses of your innovation culture, it will also help you see your level of innovation maturity.

Innovation Maturity Model

Image adapted from the book Innovation Tournaments by Christian Terwiesch and Karl Ulrich

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FREE Download – 500 Posters with Quotes on Innovation, Change, Transformation, Design and Creativity

Announcing 500 Downloadable Posters with Quotes on Innovation, Change, Transformation, and Design

I am honored and humbled that people have taken to quoting work from my first book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire, my follow-up Charting Change, and my keynote speeches, so I decided to make some of the passages that have resonated with people on innovation, change, transformation, design thinking, and leadership available in a fun, visual, easily shareable format along with quotes from numerous other thought leaders.

I’ve been publishing them on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and MisterInnovation.com one at a time for individual download, but today I am excited to announce the immediate availability of ten (10) volumes of fifty (50) quote posters, for a total of 500 quote posters, for immediate free download.

Print them, share them on social media, or use them in your presentations, keynote speeches or workshops. Download any or all of the volumes of fifty (50) posters for FREE from my store:

You can add them all to your shopping cart at once and download them for FREE.

They are all Adobe PDF’s and the best way to add them to your presentation is to put the PDF into FULL SCREEN MODE, take a screenshot, paste it into your presentation, then crop it and adjust the size to your liking, and change the background color of the slide to a suitable color (if necessary).

Get them while they’re hot and I’ll keep publishing individual quotes and additional downloadable volumes in the days and months ahead.

Have a great innovation, design thinking, change, transformation, or design quote to share?

Send it to me

Keep innovating!


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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Join Me Online Now at the FREE Change and Innovation Summit

Change and Innovation Summit

I have exciting news!

I was recently interviewed for the Change and Innovation Online Summit! As a featured guest I’m able to share FREE passes to the Summit.

Whether you are a leader who is experiencing change in your organization, an HR professional who is dealing with change, or someone looking to reinvent how you show up every day, you may benefit from conversations with some of the brightest thinkers in Change and Innovation around the world.

The Summit provides tools, strategies and concepts on how to best lead change and navigate the future of work. Whether you’re leading a Fortune 500 organization or looking to reinvent yourself, this Summit is packed with insights and practices to promote innovative ideas and successfully implement change.

Other speakers include:

Greg McKeown
Daryl Conner
Stephen Shapiro
Adrian Gostick
Chester Elton
Tim Creasey of ProSci
… and several other great speakers!

Click the link below for your FREE Pass and be sure to catch my session:

http://changeandinnovationsummit.com/?orid=39&opid=3 (link expired)

Join Braden Kelley at the Change and Innovation Summit


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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Free Change Planning Toolkit™ Access for All*

3 Free Change Planning Toolkit™ Site Licenses*According to multiple sources, including McKinsey, 70% of change efforts fail. The reason many change efforts fail is that they often lack a clear plan.

So, what’s a company struggling to keep up with the accelerating pace of change to do?

Why not revolutionize your ability to change faster than the competition using the Change Planning Toolkit™?

Change Planning Wall

The Change Planning Toolkit™ allows you to:

  1. Quickly visualize, plan and execute on your change initiative (from simple projects to complicated mergers or acquisitions)
  2. Deliver projects and change efforts on time
  3. Accelerate implementation and adoption
  4. Get a lot of valuable tools for a much lower cost than lesser offerings

Change Planning Toolkit Valuable Tools

I believe so much in the power of the Change Planning Toolkit™ that I am willing to offer a free* site license to the next three (3) firms to purchase a Change Planning Toolkit™ training session (which includes train-the-trainer).

For large companies like IBM, Accenture, Amazon, GE, Wells Fargo, Cognizant, HP Enterprise, Convergys, Oracle, or Microsoft, a free* site license represents a savings of up to $830,000 on tools with a value of nearly $500 million for a nominal investment in one day of training.

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Book a Training Session and get a free* site license
——————————————————————————–

The Change Planning Toolkit™ will help you increase:

  • Alignment
  • Collaboration
  • Engagement
  • Buy-In
  • Visibility
  • Transparency
  • Agility
  • Speed
  • Adoption

Change Planning Toolkit Benefits

While decreasing:

  • Project Risk
  • Failure
  • Cost Overruns
  • Late Deliveries
  • Surprises
  • Confusion
  • Resistance
  • In-Fighting
  • Staff Turnover

In addition, consulting firms will be able to increase their revenue and customer lifetime values using the Change Planning Toolkit™ and earn extra revenue as a reseller.

Change Planning Toolkit Benefits for Consulting Firms

Meanwhile, after the training, the QuickStart Guide and my book Charting Change (which training participants will receive**) will keep you (and your clients) on track and reinforce your learning.

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Book a Training Session and get a free* site license
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People can also get the Change Planning Toolkit™ for individual educational use for only $99.99/year (or $999.99 for a lifetime license).

* The site license is free for the first year. After 365 days it can be renewed for a very affordable $2/employee per year. Each employee gets access to tools that other companies might charge up to $20,000 for a single user to access.

** Depending on the country, book will be provided in either hardcover or digital form to training participants, but not both

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Book a Training Session and get a free* site license
——————————————————————————–


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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What is your level of Innovation Maturity?

Innovation Maturity Introduction

When it comes to innovation, no two companies are likely to be pursuing innovation in the same way, and they are also likely to be at different stages of innovation maturity. Because of this, even if you found out what your competitor’s innovation strategy was, it would be of no use to you. It is necessary for an innovation strategy to be tailored to your organization’s level of innovation maturity, your corporate strategy, and your innovation vision.

Free Innovation Maturity AssessmentAn organization’s innovation maturity level is important because you must first master a certain set of basic innovation capabilities before implementing more advanced innovation approaches into your strategy. For example, an organization just getting started on their innovation journey would be foolish to try and implement open innovation in their organization. Every organization should get their idea generation (including evolution), idea evaluation, and idea commercialization policies and processes working well with their employees first before opening themselves up to the outside world. Your organization’s innovation strategy must be appropriate to your level of innovation maturity for your innovation efforts to be successful.

I developed the graphic below to explain the different levels of innovation maturity based on some thinking from Wharton professors Christian Terwiesch and Karl T. Ulrich, and I think it allows executives to determine at a glance where their organization is across the spectrum. I hope you find it useful.

Free Innovation Maturity Assessment

Special OfferTo help people evaluate their level of innovation maturity against the above graphic, I am sharing the 50 question innovation maturity assessment I use with clients. The assessment is most powerful when answers are gathered at multiple levels of the organization across several groups and several sites, but you can also fill it out yourself and get instant feedback – for FREE.

To get even more out of the innovation maturity assessment, for a nominal fee, I can help you organize a multiple group and/or multiple physical location survey of people in the organization to capture not just your level of innovation maturity, but also to provide preliminary innovation diagnostics on the areas of innovation challenge and opportunity in your organization.

I can set up a research study to capture a baseline innovation maturity level and analyze the data to unlock insights about the relative health of your innovation efforts. For a limited time, I will provide this service for the special introductory price of $499.99.

Click here to purchase the innovation diagnostic service
(Get help using the innovation maturity assessment across multiple sites and job functions and analyzing the results)

Innovation Maturity Model

Innovation Maturity Assessment Scoring Key (showing level of maturity)

Point totals are translated to the innovation maturity model as follows:

  • 000-100 = Level 1 – Reactive
  • 101-130 = Level 2 – Structured
  • 131-150 = Level 3 – In Control
  • 151-180 = Level 4 – Internalized
  • 181-200 = Level 5 – Continuously Improving

Click to begin the Innovation Maturity Assessment here online
(We’ll email your score with the maturity model and scoring key)

Innovation Maturity Assessment Instructions

1. Read each statement and determine how much you agree with each one, using this scale:

  • 0 – None
  • 1 – A Little
  • 2 – Partially
  • 3 – Often
  • 4 – Fully

2. Select the answer for each question that is most appropriate.

The form will score the innovation maturity assessment and return a result to you via email along with the SCORING KEY and the Innovation Maturity Model graphic. Store the result as a baseline and come back annually and re-take the assessment to measure your progress!

Click to begin the Innovation Maturity Assessment here online
(We’ll email your score with the maturity model and scoring key)

Click here to purchase the innovation diagnostic service
(Get help using the innovation maturity assessment across multiple sites and job functions and analyzing the results)

* Graphic adapted from the book Innovation Tournaments by Christian Terwiesch and Karl Ulrich

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10 Free Change Planning Tools

Get Your 10 Free Change Planning ToolsHave you downloaded your ten free change planning tools?

NEWSFLASH: I’ve added sample QuickStart Guide content to the download package, so if you’ve already downloaded the 10 Free Change Planning Tools, you’ll want to download them again to get this bonus content.

Research shows that 70% of change efforts fail. There are many reasons why, including that many people find the planning of a change effort overwhelming and lack tools for making the process more visual, collaborative and human.

Following the successful launch of my latest book Charting Change and a suite of tools called the Change Planning Toolkit™, I have made several access levels available to spread the methodology and help get everyone literally on the same page for change:

Get 10 Free Downloads from the Change Planning Toolkit™I am making 10 free change planning tools from the toolkit available as 11″x17″ downloads along with JUST ADDED sample content from the QuickStart Guide,
Get 26 of the 50+ Change Planning Toolkit™ toolsbut book buyers will get access to the Change Planning Toolkit™ Basic License (26 of 50 tools) at 11″x17″ size — a $500 value,
Get all 50+ tools in the Change Planning Toolkit™and buyers of the Change Planning Toolkit™ Bronze License will get access to all 50+ tools for individual educational use at an 11″x17″ size — a $1,200 value.

Change Planning Toolkit Levels and Free Downloads

I am very excited to share with you the Change Planning Toolkit™, including the popular Visual Project Charter™, Change Planning Canvas™ and many other great tools for increasing your change success!

Increase your consulting revenue or your organizational agility and get a jump on your competition!

Click here to get your 10 Free Change Planning Tools

Site licenses are available for professional or commercial use starting at $2/yr per employee*, and include access to poster size versions of many of the tools (35″x56″).

*Bronze Site Licenses have a one-time setup fee of $299. Site License fee based on total number of employees in the organization.

Below you’ll find a downloadable presentation that gives you five reasons to invest in the Change Planning Toolkit™:


Click here to get your 10 Free Change Planning Tools
Sign up for the latest news and alerts


Click on the tool name to read the article about each of the 10 Free Change Planning Tools:

  1. Five Keys to Successful Change
  2. Architecting the Organization for Change
  3. Building a Global Sensing Network
  4. Visual Project Charter™
  5. Motivation Ability Worksheet
  6. PCC Change Readiness Framework
  7. Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation™
  8. ACMP Standard for Change Management® (Visualization)
  9. Organizational Agility Framework
  10. The Eleven Change Roles™


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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Standardizing Change

In The Five Keys to Successful Change I highlight five key areas for organizations to focus on if they are serious about building a strong, sustainable capability in organizational change, including:

  1. Change Planning
  2. Change Leadership
  3. Change Management
  4. Change Maintenance
  5. Change Portfolio Management

Five Keys to Successful Change 550

As you can see Change Management is but one of five keys to sustainable change success, but it is one of the most important. It is also the only one of the five that has its own professional association and working to establish itself as a recognized profession, complete with its own certification.

To get to a place where you can have a certification, you must have a collection of shared knowledge. In project management, they have the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) maintained by the Project Management Institute (PMI) in support of the certification of Project Management Professionals (PMP). For change management professionals, this is The Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) Standard for Change Management, also referred to as ACMP’s Standard.

ACMP Standard Components

The main components of the standard according to the ACMP brochure include:

1. Evaluating Change Impact and Organizational Readiness

  • Reviews the overall change and how it will impact the organization
  • Establishes whether the organization is ready and able to handle the proposed change

2. Formulating Change Management Strategy

  • Develops the approach for moving an organization from current state to desired future state in order to achieve specific organizational outcomes

3. Developing Change Management Plans

  • Documents the scope, actions, timelines and resources needed to deliver the change

4. Executing Change Management Plans

  • Addresses the implementation processes for performing the change activities by monitoring, measuring, and controlling delivery against baseline plans

5. Closing the Change Management Effort

  • Documents the actions and resources needed to close the change once the Change Management Strategy is achieved and activities are deemed sustainable and maintainable

But managing change is extremely complicated and there is much more involved in doing it well than can be achieved just looking at these five high level phases, so there is a lot more detail contained in ACMP’s Standard, highlighted for you below:

5.1 Evaluate Change Impact and Organizational Readiness

— 5.1.1 Define the Change
— 5.1.2 Determine Why the Change is Required
— 5.1.3 Develop a Clear Vision of the Future State
— 5.1.4 Identify Goals, Objectives, and Success Criteria
— 5.1.5 Identify Sponsors Accountable for the Change
— 5.1.6 Identify Stakeholders Affected by the Change
— 5.1.7 Assess the Change Impact
— 5.1.8 Assess Alignment of the Change with Organizational Strategic Objectives and Performance Measurement
— 5.1.9 Assess External Factors that may Affect Organizational Change
— 5.1.10 Assess Organization Culture(s) Related to the Change
— 5.1.11 Assess Organizational Capacity for Change
— 5.1.12 Assess Organizational Readiness for Change
— 5.1.13 Assess Communication Needs, Communication Channels, and Ability to Deliver Key Messages
— 5.1.14 Assess Learning Capabilities
— 5.1.15 Conduct Change Risks Assessment

5.2 Formulate the Change Management Strategy

— 5.2.1 Develop the Communication Strategy
— 5.2.2 Develop the Sponsorship Strategy
— 5.2.3 Stakeholder Engagement Strategy
— 5.2.4 Develop the Change Impact and Readiness Strategy
— 5.2.5 Develop the Learning and Development Strategy
— 5.2.6 Develop the Measurement and Benefit Realization Strategy
— 5.2.7 Develop the Sustainability Strategy

5.3 Develop the Change Management Plan

— 5.3.1 Develop a Comprehensive Change Management Plan
— 5.3.2 Integrate Change Management and Project Management Plans
— 5.3.3 Review and Approve the Change Plan in Collaboration with Project Leadership
— 5.3.4 Develop Feedback Mechanisms to Monitor Performance to Plan

5.4 Execute the Change Management Plan

— 5.4.1 Execute, Manage, and Monitor Implementation of the Change Management Plan
— 5.4.2 Modify the Change Management Plan as Required

5.5 Complete the Change Management Effort

— 5.5.1 Evaluate the Outcome Against the Objectives
— 5.5.2 Design and Conduct Lessons Learned Evaluation and Provide Results to Establish Internal Best Practices
— 5.5.3 Gain Approval for Completion, Transfer of Ownership, and Release of Resources

Obviously there is a lot more value in looking at this more complete view of the content of ACMP’s Standard than in looking at the five components of the standard. A number of different people provided input into ACMP’s Standard and so there is a lot of good information in it, and I’d encourage you to download it and check it out. For my part, I’ve been all the way through it as part of the research for my new book Charting Change, in part because I wanted to ensure that my new book and the accompanying Human-Centered Change™ methodology are consistent with ACMP’s Standard so that practicing change management professionals can pick up my Change Planning Toolkit™ and begin using it right away to simplify their change planning process and increase their rate of successful change adoption.

ACMP Standard Visualization

Click to access this ACMP Standard for Change Management visualization as a FREE scalable 11″x17″ PDF download

Click to access this ACMP Standard for Change Management visualization as a FREE scalable 35″x56″ PDF poster size download

But the ACMP’s Standard for Change Management, because of its breadth, can be difficult for people to digest and easily access quickly and so to help with that challenge I have created a visualization of the standard (pictured above) as a scalable 11”x17” free download for people to download and share with others or post on their cubicle or office wall for easy reference, with a free 35”x56” poster size version available now too! The visualization will help you see at a glance how the main components and all of their sub-components inter-relate and come together to create a comprehensive approach to change management. I hope you download and enjoy the ACMP Standard for Change Management visualization, share it freely with your friends and colleagues, and get added value from the other free downloads from the Change Planning Toolkit™!

Sign up for Change Planning Toolkit™ launch updates

Buy the Change Planning Toolkit™ NowNow you can buy the Change Planning Toolkit™ – Individual Bronze License – Advance Purchase Edition here on this web site before the book launches.

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The Human-Centered Change™ Methodology is Now Available

Human-Centered Change™The Change Planning Toolkit™ is finally here!

Following the success of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire, it has become abundantly clear in my work with clients that for any organization to be good at innovation they must be good at change.

Not surprisingly, research shows that 70% of change efforts fail. There are many reasons why, including that many people find the planning of a change effort overwhelming and lack tools for making the process more visual, collaborative and human.

Putting my two decades of research together with my project management and change leadership experience with clients, I have distilled key insights into the Human-Centered Change™ methodology and captured it in a new book Charting Change (Feb 2016) and a suite of tools to help get everyone literally on the same page for change.

Get 10 Free Downloads from the Change Planning Toolkit™I am making 10 Free Human-Centered Change™ Tools from the toolkit available as 11″x17″ samples,
Get 26 of the 50+ Change Planning Toolkit™ toolsbut book buyers will get access to the Change Planning Toolkit™ Basic License (26 of 50+ tools) at 11″x17″ size — a $500 value,
Get all 50+ tools in the Change Planning Toolkit™and buyers of the Change Planning Toolkit™ Bronze License will get access to all 50+ tools for individual educational use at an 11″x17″ size — a $1,200 value.

Change Planning Toolkit Levels and Free Downloads

Innovation and Change Speaker and Author Braden KelleySite licenses are available for professional or commercial use starting at $2/yr per employee*, and include access to poster size versions of many of the tools (35″x56″), along with public or private training sessions. Click here for more information and pricing.

I am very excited to share with you the Change Planning Toolkit™, including the popular Visual Project Charter™, Change Planning Canvas™ and many other great tools for increasing your change success!

Increase your consulting revenue or your organizational agility and get a jump on your competition!

Click here to access the Human-Centered Change™ tools

*Bronze Site Licenses have a one-time setup fee of $299. Site License fee based on total number of employees in the organization.

Below you’ll find a downloadable presentation that gives you five reasons to invest in the Change Planning Toolkit™ in case you need help convincing your boss to let you make the nominal expenditure or to fund a site license or private event to train you and your team and trainers.

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Building a Global Sensing Network – Revisited

Building a Global Sensing Network - RevisitedWhen I first wrote about Building a Global Sensing Network I wrote in the specific context of the war for innovation and the need to make sure you’re fighting it outside your organization — not inside.

We looked at how most organizations hire the most clever, educated, experienced and motivated people you could afford and then direct them to come up with the best customer solutions possible, organize and execute their production and marketing predictably and efficiently, and do their best to outmaneuver the competition.

In short, most organizations pursue success by building a fortress from which the organization can defend its intellectual property and its market position utilizing the human resources it can assemble within the castle walls. At the same time most organizations focus on achieving organizational success by achieving the greatest overlap possible between the skills, abilities and talents of each job applicant and the job description for each role.

But most organizations (referred to as Typical Organizations in the graphic below) fail to harness ALL of the skills, abilities and talents of the individuals they have in their organization to achieve greater performance as a collective. In my mind this is painful, wasted human capital – painful for the organization (lost potential revenue and profitability) and painful for the individual (boredom, stress, and disappointment).

Typical Organization

But, a handful of more progressive, innovative organizations are trying to do better to harness the passions AND the skills, abilities, and talents of their individuals to better achieve the collective’s ability to generate revenue and profits (or other appropriate benefits) by engaging their employees in the innovation efforts of the organization, and allowing their employees to take some of their skills, abilities and talents and apply them to help fulfill other job descriptions. This looks something more like this:

Innovative Organization

But in the most progressive organizations, they not only provide a way to better harness a more complete set of their employees’ skills, abilities and talents to more than one job description, but they also find a way to harness more of the skills, abilities, and talents that employees are currently realizing outside the organization in their hobbies, volunteer work, or other places.

And the successful organizations of the future will not stop there. They will also harness the connections their employees have outside the organization to increase the innovation capacity of the organization, and better engage not only partners in helping to fulfill the needs of different job descriptions, but they will also even engage their customers in achieving the work of the organization.

Where customer or partner skills, abilities and talents intersect with the job requirements, work can get done, and where customer or partner skills, abilities or talents intersect with employee skills, abilities or talents intersect, communities and connections have the chance to form and be nurtured. This is what organizations of the future will look like:

Organization of the Future

In this scenario, where innovative organizations begin to move beyond better harnessing the internal innovation capacity of their employees, to also harnessing the external capacity to work (and to innovate) of individuals outside of the organization (and to expand the scope of the collective), and to attract partners and customers to participate, organizations that allow and even encourage employees to develop a personal brand and greater external connections, will claim an outsized share of the potential benefits to both the mission of the organization and to its innovation efforts.

If your employees lack the external exposure, the external connections, and the external personal brand equity and awareness, how much harder will it be for your organization to:

  • Attract the best partners to your innovation efforts
  • Recruit the best customers to co-create with you
  • Build a strong pipeline of potential future internal talent

Through this lens you can see that in the future, successful innovation and change will be determined not just by how strong the brand of your organization is (or the collective), but also will be shaped by the strength of the personal brands of the collective’s component individuals.

As the commercial battlefield continues to change, future business success will be built upon more fluid boundaries and the ability to leverage skills, abilities and talents of people and other organizations outside the company and also the ability to:

  1. Utilize expert communities.
  2. Identify and gather technology trend information, customer insights and local social mutations from around the globe.
  3. Mobilize the organization in organic ways to utilize resources and information often beyond its control.
  4. Still organize and execute production and marketing predictably and efficiently in the middle of all this complexity.

Market leaders in our evolving reality will be increasingly determined not by an organization’s ability to outmaneuver the competition in a known market, but by their ability to identify and solve for the key unknowns in markets that will continue to become more global and less defined. Future market leaders will be those organizations that build superior global sensing networks and do a better job at making sense of the inputs from these networks to select the optimal actionable insights to drive innovation and change.

By this point, hopefully you are asking yourself three questions:

1. How do I create more fluid boundaries in my organization?

2. What does a global sensing network look like?

3. How do I build one?

One View of a Global Sensing Network

Building a Global Sensing NetworkThe purpose of a global sensing network is to allow an organization to collect and connect the partial insights and ideas that will form the basis of the organization’s next generation of customer solutions. This involves collecting and connecting:

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1. Customer Insights

  • Ethnography
  • Private Communities
  • Focus Groups
  • Surveys
  • Lead User Observation

2. Core Technology Trends

3. Adjacent Technology Trends

4. Distant technology trends

5. Local social mutations

  • Demographic trends
  • Sociological trends
  • Economic trends
  • Political trends (including regulation)
  • Behavioral trends

6. Expert Communities

  • University Research
  • Government Research
  • Corporate Research
  • Charitable Research
  • Hobbyists

To actually build a global sensing network you need to start from the inside out. You have to take a look around inside your organization and see what employees you have, what natural connections they have, and where they are currently located on the globe. At the same time you need to understand how employees in your organization naturally connect with each other and define what core, adjacent and distant technologies mean in the context of your organization. You must also look and see what tools you have inside the organization for managing insights, expertise and information within the organization, and what expert communities you may already have connections into.

I would recommend beginning to establish your global sensing network inside your organization before venturing to build it out completely with the resources and connections that you will naturally need outside your organization. This will enable you to get some really great feedback from employees on the connections that will be necessary to foster and manage outside of your organization and to prepare your information sharing systems and internal communications to enable increased sharing and improved innovation inputs and outputs.

Accelerate your change and transformation success

It is likely that many organizations will already be gathering some level of customer insight information from ethnography, private communities, focus groups, surveys, lead user observation, etc. but not have a good infrastructure, policies or procedures in place for sharing this information. If you’re truly serious about creating a deep innovation capability and working to achieve innovation excellence in the same way that you pursue operational excellence, you should experiment with your systems by making customer information more available.

Next, you should leverage your employees and existing partnerships to reach outside the organization to organize and establish stronger communication channels with the relevant expert communities, including those focused on university research, government research, charitable research, corporate research (industry associations and competitors), and even to inventors or hobbyists.

And then finally from the connections you’ve built to this point, you should have identified where you have good people internally to provide information on local social mutations (local developments of interest spawned by local demographic, sociological, economic, political and behavioral trends), and where you have gaps. Hopefully by this point you may have also identified people outside your organization in countries around the world that you already have formal or informal connections to that can be leveraged to fill the gaps in your global sensing network footprint.

Conclusion

If you’re already involved in innovation and change, or have read a lot on the topic, it should be obvious to you why your organization needs a global sensing network.

Building a global sensing network helps organizations:

  • Accelerate their innovation efforts
  • Create more fluid organizational boundaries
  • Embrace a more open approach to innovation
  • Monitor emerging and evolving technologies
  • Track changes in customer behavior in the unending search for new insight-driven ideas

But the main that should jump out as you look at the download titled Building a Global Sensing Network is that innovation can come from anywhere, so you need to be listening everywhere.

The purpose for building a global sensing network is much like the purpose for having a SETI program. We know that there must be intelligent life outside the four walls of our organization, but to find it, we must be listening. And we must be listening so that we can amplify, combine and triangulate the weak signals that we might pick up so that we can find the next innovation and change that our organization is capable of delivering – before the competition. After all, there is a war for innovation and change out there. The only true unknown is who’s going to win.

I hope you’ll come join me on this journey to improve the pace and execution of innovation and change efforts in our organizations!

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