Tag Archives: lean startup

Innovation organization only thrives along with innovation culture

Guest Post from Nicolas Bry

Innovation organization doesn’t thrive without innovation culture: organization and process without culture are like a factory without raw materials; culture without organization and process is appropriate to initiate a handful of innovation projects, but doesn’t scale.

Looking at 3 major innovation programs I shaped (open innovation with internet user and entrepreneursempowering employees with intrapreneurship, exploring and experimenting in short cycles in Africa), this correlation between organization and culture became obvious to me. Some fundamental pieces to assemble have come to my mind, in order to make innovation organization match with culture in a complete jigsaw: these essentials let fledgling innovators fly the nest, and seasoned ones hit the nail even better. Thus entrepreneurship can emerge as a second nature, and a core value for organizations.

1. Innovation Organization

To set-up a streamlined innovation process, I find these 3 organization pieces to be paramount:

1. Test and learn iterative path

Share the virus of test and learn in short cycles with your innovators; confronting the value proposition with the customer target as soon as possible to capture insights, and iterating positively on your solution as on your target users; avoiding the product bias pitfall: ‘don’t fall in love with your product, fall in love with the user problem’ as Ash Maurya says; spending the initial time on materializing the value proposition, designing mock-up to let users clearly visualize it and express feedback and insights; sorting out the key hypothesis to validate and the appropriate tests to perform, and capturing The Right It, without yet engaging in significant product development;

2. Collaborative platforms design

Open innovation blossoms with shared goals and explicit knowledge; to facilitate knowledge sharing, entice innovators to create a platform that let others create value on top of it, applying modular design from the very beginning; having in mind end-users and developers ecosystem as 2 different user targets; exposing building blocks (APIs) that can be quickly reused internally and externally to create instantly new businesses;

3. Scale-up preparation stage

Once product market fit is on the trend to prove true, the innovator’s venture shall anticipate the acceleration of sales and operations, the scale-up. Crossing the chasm and industrializing processes (marketing, product, sales, recruitment and on-boarding, partnerships) requires preparation, just as if you were upgrading your sailboat from a promenade near the coast to a transatlantic journey with heavy wind blowing. Have also in mind that the corporate scale-up has simultaneously to win.

Homme Tenant Un Sac à Dos Noir

2. Innovation Culture

To instill an innovation culture, I find these 3 cultural pieces quite efficient:

1. Empowerment with creative tension

Unleashing creativity and autonomy is fine, but a framework actually helps innovators; At Google, they say ‘innovation loves constraints’, and ‘the faster, the better’: speed is a constraint that pushes you to focus on the core, and to eliminate the superfluous, leading to frugal execution. ‘Less is more’ claimed famous designer Mies van der Rohe. In that sense, speed triggers a positive tension;

2. Upstream aspiration with C-level and business units commitment

Innovators often start bottom-up initiatives; at a certain point, innovators need to be aspired with C-level and business units support to leverage the corporation assets; explain to these sponsors how innovation differs from ideation, and that it seeks for business impact, just like marketing and sales: innovation is about conquering new customers, improving loyalty, differentiating from competition, creating value for the users and for the company; align innovators endeavors with corporation strategy, and gain credibility with quick wins in your innovation portfolio; you’ll know you have succeeded when business units will include innovation KPIs across the organization;

3. Stimulation of boldness, and risk taking spirit

innovation contests and crowdsourcing stimulate ideation if appropriate recognition comes along; if we want employees to further engage with boldness in execution, failure has to be accepted as part of the innovation process, as Gore company shows it with its Celebrate Failure event; do not underestimate that, while a company has dozen of successful projects to hide a failure behind the curtain, it’s not possible for an employee to offset an experience on his resume; how to detect opportunities out of setbacks, how to become a learning organization is a necessary culture: ‘I never fail, I either succeed or learn’ claimed Nelson Mandela. It requires training for the employees and for the leaders: letting the leaders embrace and learn from failure during a ‘eat your own dog food’ workshop is a fruitful practice I’m a great believer in.

Propagating a culture of organized innovation, while organizing innovation culture, you will durably shape people to become successful innovators, and win the game. That’s the best mean to achieve impactful outcome: innovation that change people’s lives.

Image credit: Pexels.com

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Join Me at the Virtual Change Management Summit 2017

Virtual Change Management Conference

On July 12, 2017 I will be speaking at Change Management Review’s Virtual Change Management Summit 2017™, a curated collection of brand new pre-recorded global webinars bringing thought leaders and senior practitioners in the change management profession together.

The purpose of the event is to help participants discover, learn, and reinforce how change management practices and principles are applied in today’s business world.

Click here for more information and to register for this outstanding event

Why is the Virtual Change Management Summit 2017™ important to change management professionals today?

Our profession is currently fragmented and formalizing at different rates across the globe resulting in confusion about how to take part in professional development for those who have just joined the profession and for those who are in the mid-range of their career as a change management practitioner. Aside from formal certification training, there really isn’t a tangible mode to learn more about what is going on and what works unless one attends a conference or an in-person seminar.

The Virtual Change Management Summit 2017™ is an inexpensive means for change management professionals to learn, grow, and understand the business world around them from the perspective of well known experts and senior change management practitioners.

(from the Change Management Review web site)

In addition to myself, the rest of the speaking lineup will include:

  • Theresa Moulton, Editor-in-Chief, Change Management Review™
  • Dr. Dean Ackerman and Dr. Linda Ackerman Anderson, Co-Founders, Being First Inc.
  • Tim Creasey, Chief Innovation Officer, Prosci
  • Jason Little, Agile Management Consultant, Coach and Trainer
  • Kimberlee Williams, President, Center for Strategy Realization
  • Linda Hoopes, President, Resilience Alliance

The title of my presentation will be:

The Future of Project Management is… Change!

… and I will be exploring the intersections and relationships between project management, innovation management, change management, lean, six sigma, agile, lean startup, and design thinking and how organizations can fundamentally transform how they plan and execute what matters most.

I hope you’ll join us on July 12th!
(or watch the sessions on demand after their scheduled times)

Click here for more information and to register for this outstanding event

Accelerate your change and transformation success

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Failing Fast Leads to More Failure

Most Companies Fail at Innovation Because...One scary statistic is that 70% of change initiatives fail. An overwhelming proportion of new product launches fail. Most new businesses fail.

The sad fact is that failure is all around us.

Is this why so many organizations talk about a fear of failure being one of their major innovation stumbling blocks?

And, so what mantra do many innovation and growth gurus expound as a solution?

“We need to fail fast.”

“We need to fail forward.”

“We need to fail smart.”

So, the solution most innovation consultancies put forward to organizations already coping with the wide ranging effects of failure, is to tell their employees that they need to fail more.

Say what?

If you can’t tell already, I really hate the whole fail fast mantra. Can we kill it yet?

You don’t want to fail fast, you want to learn fast.

And so, if you switch to learning fast instead, the efforts of your employees should then become laser focused on identifying what you need to learn with each iteration, or each experiment.

And your focus should also then become all about how well you are instrumenting for the learning you are trying to achieve.

This is more consistent with failing forward, but WE ARE NOT FOCUSED ON FAILURE.

Focusing on failure, leads to failure. Failure becomes the expected outcome.

Instead, we are focused on learning fast, and we can learn equally well from success as we can from failure – if our learning instrumentation is good.

The way that you achieve success in change AND in innovation, is by working hard to move the potential causes of failure farther forward in the innovation or change project lifecycle so that you have an opportunity to either design the flaws or obstacles out, or communicate them out by forcing the tough conversations during your planning process (for change or innovation) — this comes before you even begin executing your plan.

You’ve got to surface the sources of resistance, the faulty assumptions, and the barriers to be overcome — early.

Then we build a plan focused not on quick wins, but on maintaining transparency and momentum throughout the change implementation.

You may have noticed that I use the terms innovation and change almost interchangeably (often in the same sentence). This is because innovation is all about change, and because many of the barriers to change inside organizations are the same barriers that innovators face.

As an answer to these challenges, I created the Change Planning Toolkit™ to help organizations beat the 70% change failure rate by providing a suite of tools that allow change leaders to make a more visual, collaborative approach to change efforts. At the center of the approach sits the Change Planning Canvas™, very visual, very collaborative ala Lean Startup to help you prototype and evolve your change approach before you ever begin. The toolkit comes with a QuickStart Guide and my latest book Charting Change was designed to ground people in the philosophies that will help them succeed with both little C change efforts (projects) and big C change efforts (digital transformations, mergers, acquisitions, INNOVATION, etc.).

So, stop bringing more failure into your organization, and instead bring the tools into your organization that will help you achieve more success!


The Experiment Canvas

To help everyone accelerate their learning and to achieve better success in their human-centered innovation efforts, I will be creating and licensing a Human-Centered Innovation Toolkit™ to innovation consultants and practitioners around the world. I have been sharing early elements with my clients and I’m proud to be able to give you all a valuable taste of the kinds of tools that will be in this toolkit when it launches later this year by providing advance access to the first free download – The Experiment Canvas™. Designed to be used iteratively, and to quickly capture in a visual, collaborative way (in similar fashion the Change Planning Toolkit™).

Download The Experiment Canvas™ as a 35″x56″ scalable FREE PDF poster download

If you’re not clear on what the Change Planning Toolkit™ can do for you, please join me Thursday, June 8th at 9am PDT on Twitter for an Ask Me Anything (aka #AMA) session on the Change Planning Toolkit™ using the hashtag #cptoolkit and well, ask me anything!

A future #AMA on the Human-Centered Innovation Toolkit™ is coming soon too!

Innovation Audit from Braden Kelley

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