Tag Archives: Human-centered Innovation

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of November 2022

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of November 2022Drum roll please…

At the beginning of each month, we will profile the ten articles from the previous month that generated the most traffic to Human-Centered Change & Innovation. We also publish a weekly Top 5 as part of our FREE email newsletter. Did your favorite make the cut?

But enough delay, here are November’s ten most popular innovation posts:

  1. Human-Centered Design and Innovation — by Braden Kelley
  2. Four Ways to Overcome Resistance to Change — by Greg Satell
  3. What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do — by Mike Shipulski
  4. 5 Simple Steps for Launching Game-Changing New Products — by Teresa Spangler
  5. Why Small Teams Kick Ass — by Mike Shipulski
  6. Crabby Innovation Opportunity — by Braden Kelley
  7. Music Can Make You a More Effective Leader — by Shep Hyken
  8. Lobsters and the Wisdom of Ignoring Your Customers — by Robyn Bolton
  9. Asking the Wrong Questions Gets You the Wrong Answers — by Greg Satell
  10. Brewing a Better Customer Experience — by Braden Kelley

BONUS – Here are five more strong articles published in October that continue to resonate with people:

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 4-7 new articles every week built around innovation and transformation insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin feeds too!

Have something to contribute?

Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all innovation and transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have valuable human-centered change and innovation insights to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me.

P.S. Here are our Top 40 Innovation Bloggers lists from the last two years:

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Effective Facilitation for All

How Leadership Fundamentals Benefit Everyone

Effective Facilitation for All

GUEST POST from Douglas Ferguson

Effective facilitation isn’t limited to the inner workings of staff meetings. True facilitation goes beyond simply setting an agenda: it’s a mindset, framework, and way of being.

Excellent facilitators know how to get the best out of their teams and design conversations that are innovative, exciting, and productive.

In this article, we explore how the fundamentals of facilitation affect an organization in the following topics:

  • Leading with Great Expectations
  • Effective Facilitation for Everyone
  • Facilitation with a Purpose

Leading with Great Expectations

At its core, great facilitation is an engaging conversation. In practicing effective facilitation, leaders make sure all communication is as clear and thoughtful as possible. Facilitators can begin this conversation by intentionally setting their expectations with all stakeholders in every conversation, meeting, and project.

Often, meetings end with attendees unaware of their colleagues’ and leaders’ expectations. By focusing on effective facilitation, leaders can identify and communicate their expectations as well as the expectations of everyone else in the room.

Consider the following facilitation fundamentals when identifying others’ expectations and needs ahead of a meeting:

  • Personal Preparation

Preparation is essential for any form of facilitation. Whether you’re leading a meeting or heading up a project, participants expect you to come prepared. Demonstrate proper facilitation techniques by preparing to be physically, emotionally, and mentally ready for your presentation.

  • Practice

Practice is the next step in proper facilitation. In practicing, you’ll be able to review your process and identify any areas needed for adjustment. Moreover, practicing will help you visualize your upcoming session, anticipate problems, and prepare alternative plans should something go wrong.

  • Process

Effortless facilitation follows a seamless process designed specifically for your audience. Facilitators have a variety of processes to choose from, including strategic planning, problem-solving, decision-making, and more.

  • Place

Your physical or virtual environment plays an important role in your facilitation ventures. It’s essential to be as intentional as possible in selecting the space for your next session. Consider the requirements for a space, such as the size of the room, what equipment is needed, and any other elements that may affect the flow of your meeting.

  • Purpose

The purpose may be the single most important component of effective facilitation. Your purpose will outline the end goal of a meeting and will communicate why the session is taking place.

  • Perspective

Perspective is as essential to effective facilitation as the purpose. Your perspective allows you to contextualize the goals, mission, vision, and purpose of your meeting.

  • Product

As effective facilitation hinges on meeting with a purpose, understanding what that purpose will produce is just as important. Consider what deliverables should be created by the end of a project, meeting, or conversation. Additionally, be sure to define the most important goals and actionable steps required to achieve them.

  • People

Facilitate with intention by identifying who should be in attendance. Learn more about each participant by researching the bias, potential barriers, and preconceived ideas that they may bring to each meeting. Likewise, be sure to highlight their strengths to further assess how they can be an asset in your conversation.

Effective Facilitation for Everyone

Integrating effective facilitation skills and techniques goes far beyond the walls of a meeting. A facilitative approach to leadership zeroes in on the positives of leading an active and engaged group. Facilitation techniques such as active listening and encouragement work to stimulate participative group conversation and collaboration.

Every member of an organization can benefit from the power of facilitative leadership. Leaders that demonstrate and embody proper facilitation skills can impart these practices to their employees.

Facilitation techniques benefit employees in the following ways:

1. Fostering Collaboration and Learning

Facilitation skills are essential in encouraging an environment of collaboration and learning. Encouraging team members to look at a situation from a different perspective, consider new solutions, and understand how to bring the best out of each other will result in the most productive experiences.

In creating a culture of learning, leaders should take the time to learn from their teams as well. Giving your employees a platform to offer their own insights is the best way to invite them into this collaborative process of co-creating learning.

2. Getting More From Meeting Attendees

As employees adopt the elements of effective facilitation, they’ll bring more of their skills, focus, and energy to each meeting. Equipped with the skills to act as influencers amongst their peers, each employee will become an active participant in the meeting, encouraging each other to make the most out of their time together.

3. Improving Productivity

As team members work together on various projects, effective facilitation skills allow them to move forward in the most productive, cost-effective, and timely manner. When employees incorporate their finely-honed facilitation skills, they work together efficiently, converse productively, and solve problems effectively. Ultimately, facilitation fundamentals allow everyone from team members to management to make the most of their time at work.

4. Boosting Group Dynamics

Incorporating effective facilitation skills helps improve group dynamics as well. All team members benefit from improved communication strategies, both in and out of the structured setting of meetings. These strategies allow all participants to better express their thoughts, opinions, and concerns as they work together to achieve a common goal.

Teams that invest in developing their communication skills are likely to retain the best employees. Statistics show that organizations that practice strong communication skills experience 50% less attrition overall.

5. Encouraging Active Participation

While effective facilitation is often considered from a leadership perspective, it is also an excellent catalyst in driving employee participation. Oftentimes, team members don’t feel comfortable enough to share their true opinions in a meeting. Moreover, they tend to bring the bare minimum to the workplace if they don’t feel as though their participation, efforts, and insights are valued.

Organizations that champion effective facilitation as part of their company culture are actively shaping an environment that makes employees feel as though they are truly part of their team. Feeling this sense of psychological safety allows all stakeholders to feel comfortable enough to put their all into their work.

6. Encouraging Team Competency

Leaders that excel in facilitation techniques are able to engender a sense of self-efficacy in their team. Oftentimes, leaders fail to go beyond methods of coaching to help their team members understand and internalize pertinent information. Effective facilitation helps to bridge the gap of competency in an organization.

Leaders must encourage team members on the path toward true competency. This approach to facilitation is essential to incorporate a culture where facilitation skills are easily transferable.

Lauren Green, Executive Director of Dancing with Markers, shares that the path to competency starts with meeting employees where they are:

“First, you’re unconsciously incompetent. You’re unconscious. And then you become aware [of] your incompetence, and then you’re consciously competent. And then you start to grow your skills. So then you’re consciously competent. And then when you don’t have to think about it anymore, then you’re unconsciously competent.”

Facilitation with a Purpose

Just as the purpose is a powerful tool in leading a meeting, it’s also essential in building effective facilitation skills in others. Intentionally investing in facilitation training allows organizations the opportunity to teach, practice, and embody the structured techniques of effective facilitation.

The nature of effective facilitation is that nothing can take place without purpose. From managing meetings to running projects, leading with the fundamentals of facilitation helps every facet of an organization run smoothly.

Lead with purpose by focusing on the following effective facilitation practices:

  1. Listening first and speaking second
  2. Leading with effective communication
  3. Managing time and tracking deadlines
  4. Asking intentional questions
  5. Inviting others to engage
  6. Creating a focused and psychologically safe environment
  7. Providing unbiased objectivity
  8. Acting as a decider in group discussions

Effective facilitation benefits everyone, whether you’re leading a meeting or encouraging employees to take their leadership skills to the next level. At Voltage Control, we help leaders and teams harness the power of facilitation. Contact us to learn how to apply these fundamentals to your organization.

Article originally published on VoltageControl.com

Image credit: Pexels

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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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Why Sometimes Being Certifiable is a Good Thing

Certified Design Thinking ProfessionalRecently I became a Certified Design Thinking Professional (CDTP) through the Global Innovation Institute (GInI).

I’m sure you’ve probably heard someone say that an individual is certifiable. In the negative context of the word it means that an individual is “officially recognized as needing treatment for mental disorder” according to the Oxford Languages dictionary.

BUT, there is of course a positive meaning to the word certifiable as well – “able or needing to be certified.”

I’ve been doing human-centered design, or what some people refer to as ‘design thinking’, for more than twenty years – since I built Symantec’s first web-based technical support and customer service capabilities. But, despite decades of experience I’ve never bothered to get certified. So, why now?

Well, recently I finished building and launching a Design Thinking program for Oracle customers similar to Salesforce Ignite, Deloitte Greenhouse, EY Wavespace, SAP Leonardo, etc. Now as I explore a range of potential new opportunities to tackle next, there is one inescapable fact that presents itself very quickly:

Companies are extremely risk averse as they evaluate potential vendors and employees, and so they place a great deal of value on diplomas and certifications as a way of decreasing the perceived risk of hiring the services of a new employee or contractor.

This is valuable to the individual as well, but certifications help to increase the knowledge and confidence for the person too. And, tools like the Applied Innovation Master Book (AInMB) contain not only valuable information about design thinking, but also about innovation in the bargain. And, the Applied Innovation Master Book gives you one place to jump back to for selecting the methods you want to leverage each time you engage in a new design challenge.

So, does it make sense to get certified in everything you could possibly get certified on?

Maybe not. But, there are definitely times where being certifiable is a good thing.

Keep innovating!


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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Fix the Problem or Design it Out?

Fix the Problem or Design it Out?

Let’s start with the problem.

According to The Plastic Pollution Coalition (January 3, 2017) – “It’s National Drinking Straw Day! Each day, more than 500 million plastic straws are used and discarded in the U.S. alone. Plastic straws consistently make the top ten list of items found, according to Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup data. In the last three years, plastic straws have climbed the list to the Number 5 spot.”

The Paper Straw Movement

In response to this growing problem, in January California made it illegal to give customers plastic straws unless they expressly request one.

Another way some restaurants have tried to to fix this problem has been to replace plastic straws with paper straws.

Or then there is the tasty fix to the problem, the cookie straw.

Starbucks Cookie Straw

But there is another way to approach problem solving, and that is to design out the problem instead of trying to fix it.

Recently a barista at Starbucks accidentally gave me a lid on my water cup that I wasn’t expecting.

I had heard that Starbucks was planning to reduce their use of the iconic green plastic straw, but I kind of assumed that meant they were shifting to paper straws like some other quick serve restaurants, but that is not what they have in mind at all.

Starbucks is instead planning to eliminate the plastic straw.

Instead of focusing on the straw they instead chose to focus on the lid and design it in a way that a straw isn’t even necessary.

Starbucks Sippy Cup

So, next time you’re wrestling with a problem and trying to solve it, look at it in a slightly different way just for fun, try asking yourself how you could design the product, service, or experience (or all three) in order to design out the problem.

You may or may not get to a more viable, desirable, and feasible solution than trying to fix the problem.

But, looking at the problem from a range of different perspectives is always worth the effort.

Keep innovating!


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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