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A Guide to Effective Brainstorming

A Guide to Effective Brainstorming

GUEST POST from Diana Porumboiu

Brainstorming is one of those hyped terms that these days has a reputation of its own because of the controversy surrounding it. Is it just a shallow activity, organizations do when they are stuck in a rut? Or is there an efficient way to go about it without wasting time?

The debate still goes on, and both sides have valid arguments. The opposing sides of the debate are the experienced facilitators or managers who vouch for its value when done right, and the academic research that points out the flaws and the short-sightedness of the approach.

But we don’t live in a black and white world, and as is the case with most things, brainstorming is more nuanced than that. Since brainstorming first became a thing, in the ‘50s, the world has changed radically. In the past 70 years, we got the Internet, we went digital, and our working life looks completely different.

Even so, the basic rules of brainstorming haven’t really adapted to these new realities. So instead of asking ourselves if there is a point in brainstorming, and whether it’s good or bad, maybe we should update the old ways of brainstorming to make it more effective for modern organizations.

So, in this article, we’ll answer essential questions like what the value of brainstorming is, and provide practical steps and up-to-date rules of thumb that can lead to effective brainstorming sessions.

But without further ado, let’s get to it.

What is brainstorming and what’s the hype around it?

To set the scene, let’s recap what brainstorming is and how it became such a key concept in creative thinking.

In a nutshell, brainstorming refers to the group ideation technique where people get together for a session to generate and contribute ideas around a specific theme or problem.

Nowadays, brainstorming is the overarching term for a variety of methods, tools, and techniques that have been developed to facilitate creativity and encourage idea generation.

As a short background story for those who are not familiar with the source of brainstorming, Alex Osborn is considered the father of this method. A creative theorist, and businessman he imagined the technique in the 50s, and was actively using it in his agency, BBDO. Reportedly, every day they were running a brainstorming session, in a bright yellow room where up to 12 people would gather to bounce around ideas. After 401 sessions, they had a total of 34000 ideas, which in the end resulted in 2000 good ideas.

If we do the math this translates to 5 decent ideas per session. 70 years ago, this might have looked like a good use of time, but considering today’s technologies and methods, those results could be achieved with far less effort and way faster. Current tools allow easier and faster idea collection, which leaves more time for actual development and implementation work.

Brainstorming caught the attention of researchers in the academic world, which made this one of the most researched creative thinking methods. This is also how the technique became very controversial.

The first ones to show interest in brainstorming were researchers at Yale, whose studies led to an unexpected outcome: individual ideation led to more ideas than group ideation. As academic settings are different from corporate ones, understandably the results were not deemed reliable.

The Traditional Rules of Brainstorming and Their Benefits

Osborn came up with the brainstorming technique as a tool to generate a large number of ideas for a specific problem. Brainstorming, which he initially called thinking up was grounded in a few basic rules that would govern each session.

1. Quantity first: come up with as many ideas as possible and the winning ideas will eventually come.

Ideas are the main purpose of a brainstorming session, so we couldn’t agree more, you want as many as possible. However, when it comes to traditional brainstorming sessions, you drastically reduce the number of ideas that could be generated.

The traditional approach suggests getting together 10 to 12 people who can work together. There’s an obvious limitation to this approach, as we saw in Osborn’s results, they needed over 400 sessions to get to 2000 decent ideas.

Limiting access to only a select few, is diminishing opportunities and the number and diversity of ideas that could be generated. It might have worked well in a small agency and in the 50’s offices, but in today’s complex and global work environments, this approach is highly restrictive.

When people work remotely or from different corners of the world, it is highly inefficient to get them together for a brainstorming session. Let alone involve those who don’t happen to work in the figurative Ivory Tower at headquarters. Ideas should come from all employees in an organization, not just from top managers.

2. Encourage bold, crazy ideas

Don’t rule out any ideas because you never know where a spark can come from. The risk with this rule is that people have the tendency to focus more on pointing out problems than solutions. But this doesn’t mean that there is no value in that. Even if the solution isn’t right, you might uncover something that was not obvious up to that point that helps you solve the right problem down the road.

Opening the door to wild ideas can come with the challenge of keeping people focused on the goal, especially since the next rule makes it even harder to get participants back on track when they veer away from the purpose of the session.

3. No evaluation or criticism of ideas

Understandably, the role of this rule is to not discourage or cut people off from churning out a flow of ideas. As the best ideas often build on top of other people’s ideas, this is as an important rule.

However, it also leads to some issues. Even though fostering a safe environment is essential in creative thinking, a brainstorming workshop won’t do the trick. Building a safe environment comes from the overall organizational culture and can’t be suddenly created when brainstorming if it was nonexistent before.

Even though on paper this is a good rule to balance the flow of ideas and give voice to everyone, in practice you will always have the most extrovert, open person in the room speak more and drown out others. Someone more opinionated or with a stronger personality could easily discourage the more reserved, introverted people. And this can happen even when enforcing this rule. Some people will always feel more comfortable speaking up than others.

Also, if there is no instant reaction and no healthy debate, groupthink will settle in. The last rule of brainstorming is meant to combat this, but can it?

4. Combine and improve ideas

Osborn was not wrong to believe in the creative power of a group and in his circumstances, he made it work. When ideas are transparently shared, it’s easier for people to contribute, build upon those and get more creative together.

At the same time, the proponents of brainstorming tend to blame the critics of the method for being inexperienced, unskilled, or simply ignorant. Basically, they don’t see any flaws in the method.

There might be a grain of truth there, but it’s just one side of the story. Even skilled facilitators have a hard time choosing and using the right tools to reach their goals. Sometimes you can expose yourself to others’ ideas at your own pace, when you can digest the information, not when your boss asks you to be creative.

To harness these ideas and moments, organizations should enable the transparent flow of ideas in an asynchronous approach. This will enable them to leverage the creative and collaborative power of hundreds and even thousands of people.

Luckily, modern technology and the myriad of tools available today allow for simultaneous interaction between thousands of people who can transparently collaborate and build on top of each other’s knowledge a snd ideas.

It’s interesting to note that even though these ground rules were first introduced in the 50s, they are mostly valid, and can still be relevant in small agencies and working groups that need a fast fix to a specific issue.

When vouching for brainstorming, many supporters of the method bring up two important benefits:

  • Synergy, (which comes from the fourth rule of brainstorming) and
  • Social facilitation 


In essence, synergy refers to the results produced by collaborative work. When people get together, the overall result is greater than the impact they would have had individually.

So, when it comes to brainstorming the ideas generated by some can inspire and motivate others to come up with more ideas. It generates a chain reaction that enables people to build on top of each other’s ideas.

However, organizations are highly complex these days and information is spread across teams, departments and functions.

There are also many other things at play when it comes to team dynamics and human behavior when we interact in person.

For example, the more cohesive a group, the greater the risk of groupthink, conformity, and the tendency to want to reach unanimity. There is also the risk shift issue, which is the tendency of a group to make riskier decisions than they would have made individually.

Then there is also the social loafing concept which refers to how people work less hard for ideas when in a group, rather than if they were doing it alone.

study on group performance also brought to discussion another phenomenon: downward norm-setting, where a group performs at the level of the weakest person.

Teamwork and cohesive groups are essential for the well-functioning of an organization, but there is always the flip side of the coin. While all these things are not bad per se, they do inhibit the possibility of great, diverse, out-of-the-box ideas. The vacuum in which  brainstorming tends to operate, can favor such behaviors which can become bottlenecks for the idea-generation process.

Social facilitation

Again, this is a vast topic, but the main idea here is that people tend to behave differently when in the presence of others. Some research states that people perform better certain tasks when they are with other people than when they are alone.

These theories are hard to prove or explain even for social scientists, so in the context of brainstorming, it’s even more controversial to state that mere collaboration with others can improve one’s performance. There are just too many factors at play.

One of the most obvious is that each brainstorming brings together different personality types. Not everyone will feel energized by the chaos that some brainstorming sessions can turn into. From the personal experience of the introvert writing this piece, brainstorming sessions can be energy-draining, exhausting exercises, and not the most inspiring, motivating types of work meetings.

Most leaders who decide to run a brainstorming workshop do it for one or more of these reasons:

  1. fun activity to energize and motivate the team (as mentioned, it hardly applies to everyone, since you will never have completely homogeneous teams, something you shouldn’t even strive for)
  2. Improve communication and get people on the same page (indeed, when you bring people in the same room it’s easier to communicate the same thing to everyone and bring clarity).
  3. They involve people in decision-making or at least give that illusion. In some cases, it can work, as people engage and feel motivated when they are listened to. But over time if their ideas are ignored, cynicism can creep in and people will stop believing and engaging in these workshops.

The main purpose of brainstorming, which is creative thinking and idea generation is mostly overlooked, but for these other benefits, it can still be a valuable exercise, especially in small teams and organizations.

That being said, for medium to large organizations who want to make the most of the basic idea of brainstorming, generate as many ideas as possible and get the best results, there are better ways to go about this. Some new, up to date rules, and tools, should be considered if you want to brainstorm in a 21st-century organization.

So, let’s see why and how you can revamp the traditional rules of brainstorming and bring them to modern working life.

The Improved Rules of Brainstorming

Before diving deeper into each of these rules, let’s start by setting the scene of brainstorming: when should you brainstorm, and what are the prerequisites that would make the effort worthwhile.

The most common criticism towards brainstorming is that it doesn’t build momentum and things come to a halt once the session has ended. The reasons could be:

  • There is no systematic process in place to manage ideas and to include ideation methods in these processes
  • The goals where not clearly defined before the brainstorming. Closely linked to the previous reason, there was no accountability for the outcome of the session and no one in charge of moving ideas further.

So, before jumping into a brainstorming session take a moment and reflect on the purpose. Are there other possibilities, tools, and solutions that might work better?

For example, in recent years a new concept has gained traction, painstorming. If we disregard the not so inspired choice of words, there’s actually something to it.

With painstorming the focus is shifted towards fixing customers’ pain points, so you work to uncover pain points and come up with better ideas around those. Of course, there is nothing new about it, but when you look at why you wanted to brainstorm in the first place, this might bring a new perspective, and with it, new methods and tools, like the Jobs To Be Done framework or How Might We statements.

Of course, these tools aren’t mutually exclusive or replace the need or role of brainstorming. So, if you decide that brainstorming is still something you want to do, you might as well do it right. Here are some amendments to the traditional rules of brainstorming.

1. Quantity: for more ideas, go virtual

As already mentioned, we stand by this rule: to get the best ideas you need a larger pool of ideas to choose from. And in the digital world we live in, you can’t rely just on pen and paper for that.

It’s simple: if you want more ideas, you need more input and more participants, which in an office setting is hard to achieve. We can’t imagine brainstorming with 30 people in the same space; how they would interact, take turns, suggest ideas, how long it would last, and what the outcome would be. Even finding a calendar slot that works for all 30 participants will likely take months. But we can imagine a hybrid workshop with 30 participants or even a completely virtual brainstorming session with hundreds of people.

There are even studies that show how virtual brainstorming sessions are more productive because the environment can provide a better experience for the group members, balancing introverts and extroverts, optimists, and pessimists.

2. Encourage bold, crazy ideas: create the right environment

The crazy ideas come in the most unexpected moments, so don’t miss the opportunity of capturing those. Ideas should not be tied to a place or a moment and because you rarely have the wildest ideas on the spot in a brainstorming session, it’s best to provide the tools and create the processes that allow for idea generation and collection anywhere, and at any time.

That’s also why going virtual is essential. The standard approach is to squeeze some juicy ideas during brainstorming, or to dump them in a collaboration tool as a DM or in a group, where it will probably get lost among the hundreds of messages and conversations.

An idea management tool gives you the freedom and flexibility to come up with ideas at any moment. Then you can discuss them, build upon them, and develop even better ones before, during, or after your brainstorming session.

3. No evaluation, or criticism of ideas: for healthy debates, nurture creative abrasion

Another big topic that goes far beyond brainstorming is the culture in which these sessions take place. The premise is not wrong: you don’t want people to feel intimidated, so you don’t criticize or put their ideas down.

The backbone of brainstorming is collaborative work, but to collaborate doesn’t mean to agree with others all the time. In fact, we get better ideas through debate and discourse.

While Steve Jobs is to this day labeled as a bad leader for his aggressive style and insensitive ways, we could see how his approach helped build a couple of the most innovative companies in the world. Between his style and today’s overly polite approach to conflicting ideas, there is a middle ground: creative abrasion, the ability to create a marketplace of ideas through debate and discourse.

Creative abrasion is not about creating conflict, and irritating group members. It’s about creating cultural, disciplinary, and thinking style diversity, encouraging diversity of ideas, and managing the resulting abrasion for maximum creativity.  

To have creative abrasion you need a work environment that provides psychological safety, where people feel safe to advocate for their point of view and disagree with their colleagues or even superiors. Ideas should be challenged, and so should people. If you are a facilitator, ask questions like “what happens if…”, “have you thought of…” or “how might we…”?

You can read more about the topic of psychological safety in our article on how to lead innovative teams.

4. Combine and improve ideas: turn the sessions into a process

A good rule that could also use some refinement to make it even better. In the traditional setting, once ideas are generated and collected, people are expected to react to the pool of ideas they have in front of them. Yet again, there is no such thing as a stroke of genius, the a-ha moment that comes spontaneously.

The key here is to give people the time to reflect on what they’ve learned, research and work on those ideas in order to come up with novel, updated versions of those ideas. In traditional brainstorming, all of that should happen in the same session.

However, this is not something you can do in one session. It’s not just the conclusion of Yale researchers. Jake Knapp, inventor of the design sprint method, and author of Sprint, was using brainstorming workshops at Google for years, until he realized the outcome was not the expected one. Individual ideas that were thought through, of people who took the time to think and analyze, were better and more valuable than those that came out of the brainstorming workshops.

So, what you can do instead is to turn brainstorming into a primarily asynchronous collaborative process that includes a few joint sessions where people can come together to discuss, debate, and find alignment.

If you want to rush brainstorming into a few hours session and expect great results from that, there might be no point in brainstorming at all. You might as well just ask some experts for their input on that specific issue or challenge. And you might still get better results than doing rushed brainstorming sessions.

With these new rules in place, let’s see how you can organize and run successful brainstorming sessions.

Virtual Brainstorming

How to Setup a Virtual or Hybrid Brainstorming Session

The most exciting part is always getting our hands dirty. Before getting started you need to decide on a shared collaboration tool that is easy to take into use, flexible, and intuitive for everyone to contribute. Ideally, you will choose a tool that doesn’t allow just idea collection, but can support multiple simultaneous idea management processes, can be easily customized, and allows evaluation, transparency, and participation from different kinds of stakeholders, both inside and outside the organization.

The right tool will enable you to run both virtual and hybrid brainstorming sessions where you have some teams remote and others in-person.

1. Set the stage

This first step takes us back to the last rule on the list. Start by defining the process(es) for the sessions you wish to organize.

What is the main goal and focus that will guide the session? It’s best to start your workshops, brainstorming or idea challenges by deciding on the process that best fits your situation.

2. Set up the environment for idea collection

At this stage, you should already know who will be responsible for monitoring the process, who will participate, and what channels of communication will be used. As an example, we used Viima’s brainstorming board template which has the right settings already in place.

This will allow you to communicate in advance the why, what, and how and invite people to participate. For easier monitoring and better organization, create different types of categories of ideas you are looking for. These can be around solutions, opportunities, challenges or problems you want to solve.

3. Generate, collect, and organize ideas

If you’re running a hybrid or an in-person brainstorming, make sure to send the agenda beforehand. This will give people time to prepare, think about the topic and make research if necessary. If your brainstorming is part of a longer process, like an idea challenge and you run it asynchronously, you should set a deadline for submitting ideas.

Ask participants to contribute in advance so that during the brainstorming session you can focus on discussing and refining those ideas.

It’s also good to define the development process of ideas through statuses that indicate where certain ideas are in the process.

For example, for the purpose of brainstorming you can have ideas collected before the sessions, and during the sessions. After the brainstorming and based on data you collected, ideas with potential can change status and move to the next phase. This could be, for example, a new session to discuss and work on the remaining ideas.

Encourage participants to build upon other ideas by commenting and providing their own insight and expertise.

4. Evaluate

An idea evaluation process to get the information that will allow you to make the best possible decision. When evaluating ideas you need a set of criteria, or metrics to consider the various aspects of an idea. When you combine these metrics you get a numeric rating, the score, which can provide an estimate for the potential of the idea.

A systematic set of criteria for evaluating ideas will help you take better and more consistent decisions. However, these criteria vary greatly depending on the industry, type of ideas, strategic objectives, etc.

What is the impact of the idea, how much effort it requires to implement it, and so on. Some of these metrics are best evaluated by managers or subject matter experts, while others can be evaluated by other participants in the brainstorming, based on their own knowledge and involvement in the process.

This is where many brainstorming sessions end. But in reality, this is just the beginning. Once you are done with the brainstorming, idea collection, and evaluation, you need to prioritize them and decide on the next steps. All these steps should be transparent, so people understand the reasons behind certain decisions, why some ideas might be left behind and why others are considered.

5. Prioritize and follow-up

This is the step where the magic of a good idea management tool comes in play. An idea management tool can help you prioritize and select the ideas that meet your criteria and get the highest score.

At this point, you can choose a few ideas to go forward with and prepare for the next session and invite people on an even more focused brainstorming around those ideas.

If you get to one idea with high potential, you can zoom in on that, move it to another session for validation, or maybe even create a new board to collect more ideas around the development and refinement of the “winning idea”.

Before you get to implementation, depending on the complexity of the ideas you’ll be working on, you can repeat the process.


As mentioned above, brainstorming should only be a starting point, a piece in the puzzle of the internal processes you’ve worked hard to develop.

To wrap up let’s recap some of the main points we believe you should take away from this.

  1. First, don’t put the cart before the horses by looking for ideas before defining a clear problem or issue you want to brainstorm around. Narrow down the objective to provide focus and increase the effectiveness of the session.
  2. Second, build the brainstorming and ideation process around specific questions. You can start with 15-20 questions that are tied to your business goals and will provide direction and inspire good ideas. Thought-provoking questions will help the session flow in the right direction. “how can we…?”, “if you had no constraints how would you…?”, “how can we put these pieced together in a new way?”, “what do these insights/ data reveal?” etc.
  3. And last, when it comes to setting expectations, consider the existing limitations you have to work with. As much as everyone wants to come up with “outside the box” ideas, the counterintuitive truth is that constraints and limits are what often lead to the most original ideas. Plus, they help you focus on what matters, and remain grounded in reality.

Image credits: Pexels, Unsplash

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Unlock Hundreds of Ideas by Doing This One Thing

Inspired by Hollywood

GUEST POST from Robyn Bolton

What happened the last time you asked your team for ideas?

A. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

B. Got some ideas but nothing new or noteworthy

C. Got lots of ideas, but very few were relevant, new, or big

D. The clouds parted. The angels sang. The Ideas forever transformed our business.

My guess is you answered A, B, or C

(If you answered D, let me know because I need to learn how you did it).

While there are dozens of reasons why D did not happen, the most common one is this:

You asked for ideas.

You said, “Hey, I want to hear your ideas.”

Or maybe you got more specific and said, “I want to hear your ideas about how we can do better.”

What your team heard was “Hey, I want to hear your ideas as long as they’re the ideas I want to hear and pertain to the topics I want to hear about, but I’m not going to tell you the topics, so share at your own risk and may the odds be ever in your favor.”

So your team stayed quiet.

Good news, you can turn the odds in your favor if you do this ONE thing:

Give them constraints.

It seems counterintuitive.

After all, shouldn’t creativity be unconstrained?

Isn’t ideation all about blue sky crazy thinking?

Doesn’t innovation require us to unshackle ourselves from what is practical and dream of what’s possible?

No. No. No.

Constraints fuel creativity

You don’t have infinite money, people, or time. *

Which means you have constraints.

Don’t run from that fact. Don’t hide from it. Don’t ignore it,

Embrace it because it is what fuels creation, innovation, and growth.

No one knew that better than Orson Welles (and he was a pretty creative guy)

“The enemy of art is the absence of limitations,” he told filmmaker Henry Jaglom. “Economically and creatively, that’s the most important advice you can be given. You have limitations; you don’t have $ 1 million to blow up that bridge, so you have to create something else on film to produce the same effect. Instead of having money to hire hundreds of extras, you have to sneak a cameraman in a wheelchair through the streets of New York City and steal the shot, which gives you a look of much greater reality.”

If constraints can create Citizen Kane, imagine what they can do for your business.

Constraints demand focus

Think about the last movie you saw that was way too long. Or the book that could have been an article. Or the meeting that should have been an email.

When you have all the money, time, or resources you need, you can do anything and try to do everything. Unfortunately, the result is usually a bloated confusing mess that leaves your customers feeling like they’ve lost more than they gained.

But when you only have 2 hours or 300 pages to tell a story, 20 minutes instead of four hours for a presentation, or $10,000 to create a new product, you get crystal clear on what you’re trying to accomplish, prioritize what you need, and leave everything else behind.

Constraints cause tension which leads to choices

In The Offer, a fantastic series about the making of The Godfather, there’s a great scene in which the studio executive demands that Francis Ford Coppola cut 45 minutes from the film (and helpfully suggests cutting all the scenes set in Sicily). The reason? So that theaters can host five showings per day instead of four.

Two hours is a constraint.

Sicily is where Michael abandons all hope of a normal life.

The tension between revenue and story, business and art, is real.

Tension requires you to make choices. Constraints shouldn’t always win. But they should always be present.

Constraints create value

The next time you ask for ideas sprinkle in some constraints.

  • “I’d like your ideas for how we can use existing assets to expand into new markets.”
  • “How can we earn more money from existing customers without raising prices?”
  • “What can we stop doing so we can focus on high-priority work and avoid burnout?”

You’ll find that adding a few constraints to your request for ideas will be an offer your team can’t refuse.

*If you do have unlimited people, money, and time, please let me know. I’d love to talk to you.

Image credit: Unsplash

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Leveraging Tacit Knowledge to Drive More Innovation

Leveraging Tacit Knowledge to Drive More Innovation

GUEST POST from Diana Porumboiu

The value of intangible assets in organizations is nowadays five times greater than the one of tangible assets. In fact, 84% of value in S&P companies is currently represented by intangible assets, like intellectual property, knowledge, or brand recognition, compared to merely 16% for tangible ones.

Even so, some leaders still have difficulties in grasping the power of knowledge and how it can be leveraged and managed to drive more innovation in their organizations. One of the biggest challenges for these leaders is that the majority of knowledge that makes more innovation happen is tacit, and therefore it’s harder to tap into its full potential through the traditional methods: processes, procedures and policies available in databases and documents.

Unfortunately, companies that were not able to keep up with these changes in value distribution faced difficulties and were surpassed by those that leveraged tacit knowledge better. Now, the question that arises is how top companies tap into the full potential of tacit knowledge.

So, in today’s article we’ll explain how different types of knowledge trigger innovation, what is the true value of tacit knowledge, as well as some practical tips on how to make the most of tacit knowledge.

Tacit Brain Knowledge

Explicit, implicit, and tacit knowledge and their role in driving innovation

Before diving into the practical things, we’ll go through some theoretical aspects which can help clarify the reasoning behind some actions. There’s a lot of literature on tacit knowledge and knowledge management which you can explore more in depth if you’re interested, but for the purpose of this article we chose the essential information which can serve leaders, managers and decision-makers who want to tap into the potential of tacit knowledge.

The goal of this article is not to offer a perspective rooted in cognitive science and we are aware that there are different interpretations and a variety of opinions on the topic. That being said, let’s get to it.

Knowledge, especially tacit, is hard to quantify and measure, which makes it elusive and difficult to capture, but its role in driving innovation is undeniable. To exploit its innovation potential, it’s essential to understand the different types of knowledge, how they can be managed and how they come into play in an organization.

For this, we’ll briefly explain the three main types of knowledge and their role in making innovation happen.

First, there is explicit knowledge, which is the easiest to manage and understand. It’s the most basic type of knowledge that can be collected and transmitted throughout an organization. It comes from organizing, structuring, and processing data and it’s usually stored in databases or files like internal documentation, reports, analytics and financials, process maps, handbooks, and so on.

For example, all metrics and KPIs are forms of explicit knowledge. Explicit knowledge supports everyday improvements which primarily leads to incremental innovations.

Next is implicit knowledge, which oftentimes is put under the same umbrella with tacit knowledge. However, we prefer to separate the two because there are small differences in how you should manage them in practice.

Implicit knowledge is essentially explicit knowledge applied: how we make use of existing information and put it into practice. Each of us has different past experiences and ways of thinking. As you’ve probably seen, that means that we can draw different conclusions from the same data, and thus apply the same explicit knowledge in very different ways.

This is true especially when we think of how people communicate and transfer information. For example, when we create a report or a presentation, even if we work with the same data points and results, different people may choose to focus on different pieces of information and tell a very different story.

Last, but not least, is the focus of this article: tacit knowledge. Tacit knowledge refers to the wisdom we accumulate through experience but that is not codified or clearly expressed. These are the things we know but can’t really put into words. Think cognitive skills, mental models, intuition, and general know-how.

Different sources are citing various figures of how knowledge is distirbuted in an organization. From 80% all the way to 95%, tacit knowledge seems to be the bottom of an iceberg, hidden under water. Regardless of what the specific number really is, it’s probably safe to say, that the vast majority of information is tacit.

Tacit Knowledge Pyramid

It’s believed that turning tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge is extremely difficult because of its nature. Many times, when we think we articulate or codify tacit knowledge, we might deal with implicit knowledge instead. Why is it then so hard to capture tacit knowledge — and should we even try to make it explicit?

In practice, people often aren’t aware of the tacit knowledge they possess, and that’s a big part of what makes it so elusive. Transferring know-how and cognitive skills requires regular contact, interaction, and trust between people. When this can be turned into a conscious, systematic effort, that’s when we start to get its value and make the best of it.

The importance of tacit knowledge and how to make the most of it

In the era of information technology, it’s so easy to become obsolete, that retaining and acquiring knowledge has become a central focus for most organizations.

Today most companies recognize employees’ talent and knowledge as a major competitive advantage. We’ll explain later in the article why most innovations and breakthroughs don’t come from explicit, but from tacit knowledge.

Losing employees with the tacit knowledge that hasn’t been passed on can lead to the inability to complete projects or meet strategic targets. For example, an engineering company lost its dominant market position simply because it lost the experienced engineers that major clients were looking for. Typically, that relationship isn’t as obvious, but the same principles still apply. The most talented or experienced employees create dramatically outsized returns for the organization.

As already mentioned, explicit knowledge refers to the public information, which would be easily accessible if desired, because it can be codified and transmitted in writing. As we know, such knowledge generally contributes to incremental improvements, but breakthrough innovations require truly novel knowledge, and that usually starts at an individual level.

From a highly experienced floor worker who comes up with ideas to streamline processes to a researcher’s insights that help develop a new product, the key is to make this individual knowledge available to others. That is one of the main sources of competitive advantage in knowledge-centric companies.

How tacit knowledge impacts organizational performance

Traditionally, knowledge isn’t systematically measured against financial results, so some executives might not be aware of how knowledge loss impacts their performance. It’s understandable, given that it’s easier to measure and track the impact of tangible assets, so the focus usually goes in that direction.

However, nowadays we have plenty of research that supports the idea that losing knowledge has a significant negative impact on an organization’s performance. This helps us better understand how losing tacit knowledge affects the bottom line. At the same time, if leaders can articulate the role of tacit knowledge, they can also assess the real costs of managing it and raise awareness on the investments required to create, retain, and transmit it.

Losing knowledge capital can affect the performance of an organization in different ways.

From reduced organizational capabilities or ability to achieve strategic objectives, to disruptions, increased time to accomplish tasks, increased costs, or reduced customer satisfaction.

Let’s take the example of a company where a veteran sales executive who played a major role in dealing with important customers is leaving the organization. His strong customer relationships developed over the years could affect the firm, leading to a loss of up to $ 10 million. The business will not only lose significant revenue but its ability to acquire new ones will also diminish.

In such cases, the external social capital is useful for the organization at large. Having access to a diverse external network allows people inside the organization to tap into a wide range of information.

On the other side, when these connections are exclusively internal, politics can get in the way and affect the transparent flow of information.

To summarize, losing knowledge capital can affect the performance of an organization in different ways. From reduced organizational capabilities or ability to achieve strategic objectives, to disruptions, increased time to accomplish tasks, increased costs, or reduced customer satisfaction.

On the other hand, if you focus on developing a knowledge-creating company that encourages continuous learning, interaction, and constant dialogue you will see additional benefits, as well as positive impact on the bottom line.

By now, you’re surely thinking what all this theory means in practice, so let’s take a look at that next by going through some methods that can help reap these benefits.

How to capture tacit knowledge

As already mentioned, turning tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge requires some work and effort, but by starting with baby steps like getting people to share thoughts, issues, or ideas on a regular basis you are already one step ahead.

We believe there’s no need to overcomplicate things and the good news is that something as simple as gathering ideas will force people to turn their tacit knowledge into something more tangible. Obviously, each organization has its share of bad ideas, but even so, it’s still a great way of bringing people’s insights to the table because it can uncover new opportunities, sometimes even unrelated with the idea itself.

It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when trying to access tacit knowledge, but an idea management tool can help you turn it into a systematic, continuous practice that on the long run, can lead to more innovation.

Collaboration Unsplash or Pexels

However, at the end of the day, a tool is just a tool. It helps you organize your processes better, automate tasks, and facilitates easy communication. The complexity and nature of such methods and processes varies greatly from one organization to the next.

If you are operating in an industry with higher risks, codifying tacit knowledge becomes even more complicated. A continuous ideation process could reveal new creative ways of accessing it as well as maintain communication and a constant flow of information.

To put things in perspective, let’s take the example of a maintenance technician who retired from a plant that produced soybean oil. After he left, the produced oil quickly started to go bad. It took the company two years and it cost them millions of dollars before they realized that the maintenance worker had been changing a seal on the machines that pressed the oil every week, instead of the eight weeks that was instructed in the maintenance manual.

The first reaction would be to blame the technician for not transferring that information before leaving, but in reality, it’s the company’s responsibility to have in place processes that ensure smooth transfer of information and knowledge.

Managers and leaders should be aware of these differences in procedures and in this particular case the mistake could have been easily avoided with a better process of documenting the steps taken to produce the soybean oil.

As this example shows, different organizations need different processes at various levels of complexity. Developing those processes that support knowledge creation and retention is still up to you, so let’s have a look at three simple steps that can make a big difference.

  • Bring to the surface the knowledge losses and the risk associated with that. What knowledge supports the strategic objectives and business goals? To run a diagnosis process you could, for example, start with a series of interviews that will help you surface potential issues.
    Here’s where you want to identify the critical knowledge that might be lost and its impact, the interviewees perception of existing knowledge and the transfer processes and opportunities to leverage knowledge in case employees leave.
  • Map the employees and the roles whose knowledge is essential and play a key role in transmitting it. The previous step can also guide you in creating this map or list.
  • Create the environment and practices that encourage socialization and interaction. Since tacit knowledge is about the know-how and the skills we acquire through experience, these are best learned through emulation, imitation, and repetition.

There are many ways to go about this, and in the best practice section we go a bit deeper into these details.

Best practices for accessing tacit knowledge

These are three first steps that could be applied in any organization, regardless of their profile. They can become the foundation for a more thought-through process which you can develop in time. On a more practical level, the methods and processes you decide on, can be supported by some of these best practices:

Build a continuous improvement culture as it helps to reinforce the social capital.

It encourages contribution and collaboration between people. It enables networks of relationships that help the organization function effectively. When these connections are strong and built on trust and transparency, they facilitate the transfer of know-how and other skills that otherwise would be lost.

Encourage constant social interaction and exchange of ideas

As already mentioned, tacit knowledge is about the know-how and the skills acquired through experience. These skills are better transmitted through emulation, mentorship, and repetition. This knowledge is deeply embedded in people’s minds and human interactions are essential to facilitate the transfer of information.

Make idea generation and collection a systematic process

This won’t help you just to find answers and solutions to specific problems but also to uncover opportunities that have an impact on the entire organization.

Collecting ideas systematically enables the entire workforce to get involved and build on each other’s knowledge. Moving from a traditional “suggestion box” to a more wholistic and transparent approach with an idea management tool can dramatically help in sharing and making knowledge more accessible.

Encourage storytelling in different forms

You can create a “lessons learned” database where people can learn about successes and failures that lead people to acquire their knowledge. The best way to tell these lessons, might be through stories.

Storytelling is a powerful tool because it allows people to reflect on their learnings. Essentially, you want people to share their (true) stories that serve as metaphors which make difficult-to-grasp information easier to digest and understand. Stories are powerful because they convey meaning and knowledge, not just unconnected bits of information. For example, you can put this in practice through internal newsletters, or casebooks.

Create succession planning, retirement policies, and mentoring programs

Retirement is one of the causes of knowledge loss and some companies don’t tap into the tacit knowledge of older employees. The loss of experienced employees can threaten core capabilities that rely on complex experiential knowledge. Organizations should have mentoring programs to train less experienced employees, as well as retirement policies and plans that help maintain the balance of the workforce.

Examples of codifying tacit knowledge:

As you’ve seen so far, there are different factors that can help you either capture tacit knowledge or turn it into explicit knowledge. And as mentioned, sometimes learning new things also comes from emulation and imitation. With that in mind, let’s see what other companies are doing to address the issue of tacit knowledge and think of what you could also learn from their experiences.

Matsushita Electric

The first example is one that helped popularizing the concept of tacit knowledge as well as the idea that it supports innovation.

Kneading Bread Unsplash or Pexels

In 1985 Matsushita Electric, now Panasonic, was working on creating a better home bread-machine. However, they lacked the knowledge a baker had. So Ikuko Tanaka, a software developer at Matsushita decided to learn from the best. He trained with the master baker at The Osaka International Hotel and observed the technique he had for kneading the dough.

The know-how of the baker, his special stretching technique, was the tacit knowledge that Matshushita was lacking, and that Tanaka was able to uncover and reproduce through imitation and observation. After working with the baker, experimenting, testing and developing the product, Matsushita created a final product that led to record sales.


Even though it’s not a recent example Rolls-Royce is still a good case to look into. Rolls-Royce turbojet engines powered Concorde, the aircraft that introduced supersonic air travel to the world. The Rolls-Royce engineers held most of the knowledge on how to maintain the sophisticated supersonic jet engines and many of them were preparing for retirement.

Before the Concorde was retired in 2003 the company identified how the big number of retirements would impact their key capabilities. This helped them prepare for uncertainties and decide on future investments.


Last, but not least, an example that takes us even farther back into the history is Henry Bessemer and his patent for an advanced steelmaking process. Bessemer sold his patent, but he was later sued because they couldn’t make it work. So, Bessemer set up his steel company because he knew best how to do it, even though he wasn’t able to articulate it.

As you can see from these examples, tacit knowledge spans its impact in various areas and at different levels in each organization. So, it’s important to remember that tacit knowledge plays an important role in all stages of innovation.

It can be in the early stages, where there’s a higher degree of ambiguity so more knowledge to be harnessed. Or, it can be in the later stages of innovation, where execution and implementation require you to tap into the tacit knowledge of your employees to speed up the process and get better results


“We can know more than we can tell”, said Polanyi, the one to whom we attribute the concept of tacit knowledge. We couldn’t agree more. We can’t possibly articulate everything we know, so we need to find other means to go about it.

As leaders, managers, or someone with decision-making powers, you have to maximize the opportunities of expressing this knowledge. You can choose to develop a culture of innovation where continuous learning, improvement and knowledge exchange are encouraged and sustained. With a strategic and systematic approach, the flow of information will become more natural and easier to manage.

This article was originally published in Viima’s blog.

Image credits: Viima, Pixabay, Unsplash, Pexels

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How Design Thinking Drives Successful Product Innovation

From Ideation to Implementation

How Design Thinking Drives Successful Product Innovation

GUEST POST from Chateau G Pato

In today’s fast-paced and highly competitive marketplace, successful product innovation has become more critical than ever before. Companies that can effectively identify customer needs and transform them into innovative products have a distinct advantage. Design thinking, a human-centered approach to problem-solving, has emerged as a powerful framework to drive product innovation. By cultivating empathy, promoting creativity, and embracing iteration, design thinking enables companies to bridge the gap between customer expectations and product development. In this thought leadership article, we will explore how two different companies, XYZ Inc. and ABC Corp., leveraged design thinking to achieve remarkable success in their product innovation endeavors.

Case Study 1: XYZ Inc. – Transforming Healthcare Solutions

XYZ Inc., a leading healthcare technology company, sought to develop a user-friendly and accessible patient monitoring system. They understood that the existing solutions lacked personalization and failed to account for the emotional aspect of patient interactions. To overcome these challenges, XYZ Inc. adopted design thinking methodologies.

Empathy-driven research: The XYZ Inc. began by conducting in-depth interviews with healthcare professionals, patients, and their families to understand their pain points and needs. By actively listening and observing, the design team gained valuable insights into the emotional and physical experiences associated with patient monitoring.

Ideation and prototyping: Armed with empathy-driven research, the design team enthusiastically engaged in ideation sessions. They generated a range of ideas, keeping the end-users’ motivations and goals at the forefront. Prototypes were swiftly developed, allowing for early-stage feedback and iterative improvements.

User testing and iteration: XYZ Inc. conducted extensive user testing to validate their prototypes. Real-time feedback from healthcare professionals and patients allowed them to refine their product, incorporating improvements that directly addressed their users’ needs. This iterative process repeated until XYZ Inc. had a highly intuitive, patient-centric monitoring system ready for implementation.

Implementation and impact: The final product was met with widespread acclaim within the healthcare community. The integration of design thinking principles resulted in a solution that significantly reduced nurses’ burden, increased patient satisfaction, and improved the overall quality of care. XYZ Inc. is now considered a pioneer in the field, with their design thinking approach becoming an industry benchmark.

Case Study 2: ABC Corp. – Revolutionizing Retail Experience

ABC Corp., a renowned retail brand, realized the need to enhance their customers’ in-store experience. They aimed to create a seamless and personalized journey to increase engagement and encourage repeat purchases. Applying design thinking principles allowed ABC Corp. to reimagine the retail experience, resulting in substantial improvements.

Empathic understanding of customer needs: ABC Corp. embarked on an extensive research phase by shadowing customers, conducting interviews, and hosting focus groups. This research helped them uncover pain points, frustrations, and desires of shoppers, allowing the design team to delve deeper and empathize with their customers.

Ideation and co-creation: Armed with customer insights, multi-disciplinary teams at ABC Corp. engaged in collaborative brainstorming sessions. They fostered a culture of inclusive ideation, involving employees from different departments, including store associates, marketing, and technology experts, to ensure a comprehensive approach. This collaborative environment enabled the generation of transformative ideas.

Rapid prototyping and testing: ABC Corp. built quick prototypes and conducted mock store simulations to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of new concepts. By observing customer interactions and gathering feedback, they iteratively refined their ideas, ensuring that the final product aligned closely with customer needs and preferences.

Implementation and impact: ABC Corp. successfully implemented their new retail experience across their stores, incorporating personalized recommendations, interactive displays, and an improved checkout process. The customer response was overwhelmingly positive, leading to a significant increase in sales, customer loyalty, and brand advocacy. ABC Corp. became a leader in this innovative approach to retail, inspiring competitors to follow suit.


The two case studies of XYZ Inc. and ABC Corp. demonstrate how design thinking drives successful product innovation by incorporating empathy, creativity, and iterative problem-solving. By focusing on the end-users’ needs, these companies identified valuable insights that had a profound impact on their product development and implementation. Through design thinking, XYZ Inc. transformed patient monitoring, while ABC Corp. elevated the retail experience. Both companies achieved remarkable success and emerged as leaders in their respective industries. Embracing design thinking principles empowers organizations to bridge the gap between ideation and implementation, leading to products that truly resonate with customers and drive unparalleled growth.

SPECIAL BONUS: The very best change planners use a visual, collaborative approach to create their deliverables. A methodology and tools like those in Change Planning Toolkit™ can empower anyone to become great change planners themselves.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Building an Effective Innovation Team

Key Roles and Responsibilities

Building an Effective Innovation Team

GUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

Innovation is the lifeblood of any organization striving to stay ahead in today’s dynamic and competitive business landscape. To foster a culture of creativity and cultivate groundbreaking ideas, building an effective innovation team is paramount. This article explores key roles and responsibilities within such teams and delves into two compelling case studies that exemplify the power of a well-structured innovation team.

Key Roles within an Innovation Team:

1. Innovation Leader:

The innovation leader acts as the driving force and visionary within the team. This role encompasses setting the team’s mission, goals, and strategies, while continuously inspiring and motivating members towards innovative thinking. Additionally, the innovation leader ensures alignment between the innovation team’s objectives and organizational goals.

2. Ideation Specialists:

Ideation specialists concentrate on generating and refining ideas. They possess a unique ability to break the shackles of conventional thinking and nurture a culture of ideation within the team. By encouraging brainstorming sessions and implementing various ideation frameworks, such as Design Thinking or Six Thinking Hats, they facilitate the generation of diverse and creative ideas.

3. Market Research Analysts:

Market research analysts play a pivotal role in ensuring that ideas generated by the team have a strong foundation in market insights and customer needs. By conducting comprehensive market research, analyzing trends, and identifying potential opportunities and risks, they empower the team to make data-driven decisions and prioritize projects with the highest market potential.

4. Technical Experts:

Technical experts bring specialized knowledge and skills to the innovation team. They provide essential technical expertise to assess feasibility, prototype ideas, and overcome technological obstacles. Their contributions enable the team to transform concepts into tangible innovative solutions.

Case Study 1: Pixar Animation Studios:

Pixar Animation Studios, renowned for its groundbreaking animation technology and storytelling, exemplifies the power of an effective innovation team. Their team structure ensures cross-functional collaboration and diversity of perspectives. While the innovation leader sets a clear vision and encourages creativity, ideation specialists foster an environment of open communication and brainstorming sessions. Technical experts work closely with creative teams, developing cutting-edge animation technology. The result is a history of powerful animated films that have revolutionized the industry.

Case Study 2: Amazon:

Amazon, a global leader in e-commerce and disruptive technology, demonstrates the significance of market research analysts within an innovation team. By creating dedicated teams focused on researching market trends, consumer preferences, evolving technologies, and potential risks, Amazon keeps a pulse on market dynamics. These market research analysts enable Amazon’s innovation teams to make informed decisions, identify emerging business opportunities, and create products and services that anticipate customer demands.


Building an effective innovation team necessitates carefully defining key roles and responsibilities. Braden Kelley’s Nine Innovation Roles is a great tool for looking at this particular subject matter, and he makes several resources available for free on this site. By having an innovation leader who inspires, ideation specialists who foster an environment of creativity, market research analysts who provide insights, and technical experts who bring ideas to life, organizations can achieve breakthrough innovation. Case studies such as Pixar Animation Studios and Amazon exemplify the immense value of a well-structured innovation team. Through the implementation of these key roles and responsibilities, enterprises can foster a culture of innovation, leading to sustained growth and success in today’s ever-evolving business landscape.

Bottom line: Futurology is not fortune telling. Futurists use a scientific approach to create their deliverables, but a methodology and tools like those in FutureHacking™ can empower anyone to engage in futurology themselves.

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Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation

Eight I's of Infinite Innovation

Some authors talk about successful innovation being the sum of idea plus execution, others talk about the importance of insight and its role in driving the creation of ideas that will be meaningful to customers, and even fewer about the role of inspiration in uncovering potential insight. But innovation is all about value and each of the definitions, frameworks, and models out there only tell part of the story of successful innovation.

To achieve sustainable success at innovation, you must work to embed a repeatable process and way of thinking within your organization, and this is why it is important to have a simple common language and guiding framework of infinite innovation that all employees can easily grasp. If innovation becomes too complex, or seems too difficult then people will stop pursuing it, or supporting it.

Some organizations try to achieve this simplicity, or to make the pursuit of innovation seem more attainable, by viewing innovation as a project-driven activity. But, a project approach to innovation will prevent it from ever becoming a way of life in your organization. Instead you must work to position innovation as something infinite, a pillar of the organization, something with its own quest for excellence – a professional practice to be committed to.

So, if we take a lot of the best practices of innovation excellence and mix them together with a few new ingredients, the result is a simple framework organizations can use to guide their sustainable pursuit of innovation – the Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation. This new framework anchors what is a very collaborative process. Here is the framework and some of the many points organizations must consider during each stage of the continuous process:

1. Inspiration

  • Employees are constantly navigating an ever changing world both in their home context, and as they travel the world for business or pleasure, or even across various web pages in the browser of their PC, tablet, or smartphone.
  • What do they see as they move through the world that inspires them and possibly the innovation efforts of the company?
  • What do they see technology making possible soon that wasn’t possible before?
  • The first time through we are looking for inspiration around what to do, the second time through we are looking to be inspired around how to do it.
  • What inspiration do we find in the ideas that are selected for their implementation, illumination and/or installation?

2. Investigation

  • What can we learn from the various pieces of inspiration that employees come across?
  • How do the isolated elements of inspiration collect and connect? Or do they?
  • What customer insights are hidden in these pieces of inspiration?
  • What jobs-to-be-done are most underserved and are worth digging deeper on?
  • Which unmet customer needs that we see are worth trying to address?
  • Which are the most promising opportunities, and which might be the most profitable?

3. Ideation

  • We don’t want to just get lots of ideas, we want to get lots of good ideas
  • Insights and inspiration from first two stages increase relevance and depth of the ideas
  • We must give people a way of sharing their ideas in a way that feels safe for them
  • How can we best integrate online and offline ideation methods?
  • How well have we communicated the kinds of innovation we seek?
  • Have we trained our employees in a variety of creativity methods?

4. Iteration

  • No idea emerges fully formed, so we must give people a tool that allows them to contribute ideas in a way that others can build on them and help uncover the potential fatal flaws of ideas so that they can be overcome
  • We must prototype ideas and conduct experiments to validate assumptions and test potential stumbling blocks or unknowns to get learnings that we can use to make the idea and its prototype stronger
  • Are we instrumenting for learning as we conduct each experiment?

Eight I's of Infinite Innovation

5. Identification

  • In what ways do we make it difficult for customers to unlock the potential value from this potentially innovative solution?
  • What are the biggest potential barriers to adoption?
  • What changes do we need to make from a financing, marketing, design, or sales perspective to make it easier for customers to access the value of this new solution?
  • Which ideas are we best positioned to develop and bring to market?
  • What resources do we lack to realize the promise of each idea?
  • Based on all of the experiments, data, and markets, which ideas should we select?

You’ll see in the framework that things loop back through inspiration again before proceeding to implementation. There are two main reasons why. First, if employees aren’t inspired by the ideas that you’ve selected to commercialize and some of the potential implementation issues you’ve identified, then you either have selected the wrong ideas or you’ve got the wrong employees. Second, at this intersection you might want to loop back through the first five stages though an implementation lens before actually starting to implement your ideas OR you may unlock a lot of inspiration and input from a wider internal audience to bring into the implementation stage.

6. Implementation

  • What are the most effective and efficient ways to make, market, and sell this new solution?
  • How long will it take us to develop the solution?
  • Do we have access to the resources we will need to produce the solution?
  • Are we strong in the channels of distribution that are most suitable for delivering this solution?

7. Illumination

  • Is the need for the solution obvious to potential customers?
  • Are we launching a new solution into an existing product or service category or are we creating a new category?
  • Does this new solution fit under our existing brand umbrella and represent something that potential customers will trust us to sell to them?
  • How much value translation do we need to do for potential customers to help them understand how this new solution fits into their lives and is a must-have?
  • Do we need to merely explain this potential innovation to customers because it anchors to something that they already understand, or do we need to educate them on the value that it will add to their lives?

8. Installation

  • How do we best make this new solution an accepted part of everyday life for a large number of people?
  • How do we remove access barriers to make it easy as possible for people to adopt this new solution, and even tell their friends about it?
  • How do we instrument for learning during the installation process to feedback new customer learnings back into the process for potential updates to the solution?


The 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.

So, as you move from the project approach that is preventing innovation from ever becoming a way of life in your organization, consider using the Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation to influence your organization’s mindset and to anchor your common language of innovation. The framework is great for guiding conversations, making your innovation outputs that much stronger, and will contribute to your quest for innovation excellence – so give it a try.

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Innovation Can Come From Anyone

Innovation Can Come From Anyone“Innovation can come from anyone, but it is required from everyone for an organization to remain successful.”

Or taken another way:

“Innovation can come from anywhere, but you must be looking everywhere to find it.”

Innovation comes from good listening, observing, watching, waiting, connecting, and synthesizing.

Innovation comes from the creation of a unique, differentiated customer insight that you can build your ideation, your experimentation, your collaboration, and your commercialization efforts around. The goal of course is to turn that unique, differentiated insight into solutions valued above every existing alternative. Solutions that not only create value, but that you also stand ready and able to help people access and understand the need for and relevance in their life.

It is because innovation can come from anywhere and can involve everyone in the organization in making innovation happen that I created The Nine Innovation Roles and my innovation value framework, to help people make sense of what is necessary to make innovation successful as they form their innovation project teams and process, and to give people a simple framework to hold close as they think about creating innovation success.

I hope you’ll check out both of these and let me know what you think!

Build a Common Language of Innovation

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