I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Douglas Ferguson of Voltage Control, to speak with him for their Innovation Series about my work as a popular keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, and thought leader on the topics of continuous innovation and change, and some of my work with clients to create innovative strategies, digital transformations, and increased organizational agility.
But mostly in this information-packed interview, I reveal key lessons from the Human-Centered Innovation Toolkit™ and my books Charting Change and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire, including what’s hard about making innovation sustainable, the difference between invention and innovation and how the human elements are the key to successful innovation.
Here is an excerpt from the interview:
Start with the end in mind
Measurement provides a good starting point for establishing a strong foundation. “No innovation idea emerges fully formed. What people come up with are idea fragments and you have to collect and connect those dots to create a fully formed idea.” Based on those ideas, begin by identifying the value you want to create.
In order to make sure an initiative creates all the value it intends to, Braden advocates for the use of experiments with checkpoints. “You can have checkpoints that you establish along the way in terms of getting from what you’re able to do now versus your vision for the full value that you hope to create.” When thinking through experiments to validate assumptions about feasibility, viability, and desirability, also consider the flaws that might be present in your experimentation process.
“Start plotting out all the different experiments that you plan to run and the learning that you hope to get from each one. Those are the things that you can measure against to show that you’re making progress, to show that you’re going to get to the end and that you’re on track.”
The Experiment Canvas was designed to help with this:
— Click here to get The Experiment Canvas™ (11″x17″)
— Click here to get The Experiment Canvas™ poster (35″x56″)
Planning with the end in mind also includes consideration for scaling the invention. “Make sure you’re laying out checkpoints around your ability to scale it, because if you can’t get to that [wide] adoption point, then most likely you’re not going to get your investment back.” Think through what you’ll have to work against in order to scale so that profitability is part of the long-term plan from the beginning. Braden looks to companies like Tesla as an example of the potentially disastrous effects an inability to profitably scale can have on a product and a company’s viability despite having strong ideas and exploration practices.
Here are some additional links:
Sign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.