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
1. Innovation Maturity Assessment
To 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.
Matthew 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)
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.
The 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.
I’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.
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.
The 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:
The 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.
Is it really possible to travel back in time? What about traveling into the future, have we finally figured out how to do that? Well, you’ll have to read on to find out…
But before we explore whether someone has finally figured out how to successfully time travel and recruit you to join me in investing in their pre-IPO startup, I’d like to introduce one of the most important visualizations from the world of innovation that many of your have probably never seen – Neri Oxman’s Krebs Cycle of Creativity from January 2016.
If you’re not familiar with this incredibly important visual artifact from the work of Neri Oxman from MIT’s Media Lab, you should be because it does an amazing job of capturing the interplay between Art, Science, Engineering and Design in the creation of innovation. It builds on John Maeda’s Bermuda Quadrilateral from 2006:
And Rich Gold’s Matrix, also from 2006:
While Rich Gold’s visualization builds on the logical bones of John Maeda’s Bermuda Quadrilateral and introduces the concepts of speculative design, speculative engineering, and the contrast between moving minds & moving molecules, it lacks the depth of Neri Oxman’s Krebs Cycle of Creativity visualization. But the Krebs Cycle of Creativity does lose Maeda’s expression of the linkages between science & exploration, engineering & invention, design & communication, and art & expression. But even without these assertions of Maeda, the Krebs Cycle of Creativity still captures a number of other powerful tensions and assertions that can benefit us in our pursuit of innovation.
Time Marches On
The Krebs Cycle of Creativity can be viewed from a number of different perspectives and utilized in a number of different ways. But, one way to look at it is as if it were a watch face. In this context as time moves forward you’re following the typical path, a technology-led innovation approach.
Using the Krebs Cycle of Creativity Canvas in a clockwise direction will help us explore:
What information do we have about what might be possible?
What knowledge needs to be obtained?
What utility does the invention create?
What behavior do we need to modify to encourage adoption?
It begins with the invention of a new piece of technology created by the usage of existing information and a new perception of what might be possible within the constraints of our understanding of the natural world, or even by expanding our understanding and knowledge of the natural world using the scientific method.
You’ll see at 3 o’clock in the image above that it at this point in time that most organizations then hand off this new knowledge to their engineers to look at this new understanding of nature through the production lens in order to convert this new knowledge into new utility.
Engineers in most organizations are adept at finding a useful application for a new scientific discovery, and in many organizations this work is done before designers get a peek and begin to imagine how they can present this utility to users in a way that drives behaviors of adoption in a way that the behaviors of using the product or consuming the service feel as natural as possible and as frictionless as possible.
And unfortunately the artists in any organization (or outside via agency relationships) are called in at the eleventh hour to help shape perceptions and to communicate the philosophy behind the solution and the to make the case for it to occupy space in our collective culture.
Pausing at the Innovation Intersection
The way that innovation occurs in many organizations is that Science and Engineering collaborate to investigate and confirm feasibility, then Engineering and Design collaborate to inject viability into the equation, and then Design and Art (with elements of marketing and advertising) collaborate to create Desirability at the end. This may be how it works in many organizations, yet it doesn’t mean that it is the best way…
Traveling Back in Time
But as we all know, water can run uphill, the moon can eclipse the sun, and yes time can run in reverse. Viewing the Krebs Cycle of Creativity in a counter clockwise direction and pushing the hands of the watch backwards will have you following a user-led innovation approach instead.
Using the Krebs Cycle of Creativity Canvas in a counter clockwise direction will help us explore:
What information do we have about what is needed?
What behavior should we observe?
What would create utility for customers?
What knowledge must we obtain to realize our solution vision?
It begins with the identification of a new insight uncovered by the investigation of existing information and a new perception of what might be needed within the constraints of our understanding of our customers, or even by expanding our understanding and knowledge of our customers by using ethnography, observation, behavioral science and other tools to enter the mind of your customers, employees or partners.
You’ll see at 9 o’clock in the image above that it at this point in time that user-driven organizations after having their business artists use their perception skills to investigate the culture and philosophy underpinning this new understanding of behavior and pass it off for their designers to look at through the production lens in order to convert it into new utility.
Designers in many organizations are adept at finding a useful application for a new behavioral understanding, and in user-driven organizations this work is done before engineers get a peek and begin to imagine how they can build this utility for users in a way that creates new knowledge in a way that will differentiate the products or services of their organization from those of the competition.
And in user-driven organizations scientists are called in as needed to help overcome any barriers engineers encounter in realizing the solution that best satisfies the users’ identified needs, while leveraging new scientific perceptions that help shape our understanding of nature and empower new philosophical beliefs about what’s possible.
While we haven’t torn any worm holes through the fabric of the space-time continuum with this article, hopefully we have expanded your repertoire with some new tools to facilitate conscious choices around whether you are going to pursue technology-led innovation (clockwise) or user-led innovation (counter clockwise).
Hopefully we have also shown you a better way of visualizing where you are in your innovation journey and where the turning points in your innovation pursuits lie as you seek to take a quantum leap and transform your past into a bright, shiny future.
So now it is time to answer the question you had at the beginning of this article… Is time travel possible?
Well, nearly a decade ago NASA ran an experiment that proved elements of Einstein’s theory of relativity, specifically that the fabric of space-time warps around the earth in response to gravity. Read about it here
And yes, time travel is theoretically possible, or at least time is not theoretically constant as described in this NASA article.
Neither of these indicate that it is possible to travel backwards in time (despite what Superman physics says), only to affect how time advances, but if anyone wants to invest a million dollars in my time travel startup, I’ll cash your check. Because who knows, maybe your check is what will finally make time travel possible!
For decades when business people and aspiring entrepreneurs came up with an idea and became serious about commercializing it, they would, by default, create a business plan. Anyone who has ever created a business plan knows they are a LOT of work. And as any innovator knows, most ideas turn out to be garbage. As a result, the creation of most business plans ends up being a waste of time.
All of this wasted time and money in the universes of both corporate innovation and startups was definitely an area of opportunity.
This pain has been solved in part by the Business Model Canvas created by Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, the Lean Canvas created by Ash Maurya, and by minor variations created by others.
Purpose of the Business Model Canvas
The purpose of both at their core is the same. The Business Model Canvas and the Lean Canvas seek to help entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and innovators quickly explore the desirability, feasibility and viability of their ideas in a more visual and collaborative way, while also supporting much quicker iterations and revisions to both the value proposition and its path to market.
Where a business plan may take weeks to create, a Business Model Canvas or Lean Canvas can be created in an afternoon.
Where a business plan is often created by one person and revised by others in a serial manner, a Business Model Canvas or Lean Canvas is a group activity, informed by a collection of diverse perspectives and experiences, and challenged, evolved and revised in a real-time, parallel manner.
What excites me most as someone who conducts workshops all around the world and teaches people how to use the Business Model Canvas and other innovation & change tools, is that the Business Model Canvas and Lean Canvas have helped to accelerate a transformation in not only how people are taught, but also how they are permitted to conduct business.
The Visual and Collaborative Workplace Transformation
This transformation is a game changer because it represents a growing integration of methods into workshops and meetings that enable facilitators to engage not only auditory learners, but visual, kinesthetic and social learners as well.
This more human approach to prototyping a business helps to add a bit more structure around an idea, in a collaborative way that will more quickly surface gaps and flaws while also testing assumptions, collecting idea fragments into a more holistic value proposition and creating a vision for how to make it real.
But, as we all know, any new business or any potential innovation will create an abundance of required and necessary changes. Unfortunately, whether you are using the Business Model Canvas or the Lean Canvas, the truth and the limitation is that they are but a single tool and can’t help you walk the rest of the path to reality. To create the changes necessary to realize your vision, you will need many more tools.
“When what people do aligns with what they think and feel, then and only then, will you achieve the outcomes you’re looking for.”
The good news is that this more visual and collaborative way of working helps with two of the most important keys to success – buy-in and alignment – and also helps to align mind, body, and spirit to harness the whole brain and its three constructs:
Beyond the Business Model Canvas and the Lean Canvas
Visual, collaborative tools like the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, Empathy Map, Value Proposition Canvas, Experience Maps, Service Design, and even Customer Journey Maps have laid the groundwork for a more modern, more powerful way of working that leverages the whole brain of the individual, and all three learning styles of the collective.
And where these tools all represent the beginning of a visual, collaborative endeavor to create change, they are missing the tools to help plan for and execute the changes that are being proposed.
Making the Shift to Human-Centered Change
This is where the Change Planning Toolkit™ powering the Human-Centered Change methodology comes in. It has been designed with the Change Planning Canvas™ at its core to feel familiar to those already using the aforementioned tools and empower teams to take the next steps on their journey to be successful:
Innovation and Intrapreneurship
New Product Development (NPD)
Customer Experience (CX) Improvement Efforts
Projects (make sure you also get the Visual Project Charter™)
So, if you’re already familiar with the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, Empathy Map, Value Proposition Canvas, Experience Maps, Service Design, or Customer Journey Maps then you should get a copy of my latest book Charting Change and it will show you the thinking behind the Change Planning Toolkit™, how to use it to maintain the momentum of your team and the energy behind your idea, and how to leverage both to push it forward towards reality.
The Change Planning Toolkit™ will help you beat the 70% change failure rate, create more efficient and effective change initiatives (and even projects), and accelerate your pace of successful change in order to keep up with the accelerating pace of change all around us and to be more nimble, agile, and responsive than your competition.
Three Steps to Human-Centered Change Success
There is a simple three step process for people who want to start saving time and get the jump on their competition today by familiarizing themselves with the Human-Centered Change methodology:
I’ve invested more than $1 million into the Change Planning Toolkit™ so you don’t have to, and so you can leverage this investment to gain all of the benefits above while also saving yourself thousands or millions of dollars in consulting fees – every year.
And for a limited time, there are some exciting FREE training opportunities available to a handful of organizations who contact me.
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Some of the smartest people and organizations in the world are learning how to use the Change Planning Toolkit™ to change how they plan and execute change and to undertake the transformation work necessary to thrive in the experience economy. Who wouldn’t want to beat the 70% change failure rate?
It’s super easy to get started with the Change Planning Toolkit™.
But, before I tell you WHERE to start, let’s start with WHY…
Top 10 Benefits of the Change Planning Toolkit™
There are lots of great ways to get started with the Change Planning Toolkit™. Personally I would start by getting a copy of my latest book Charting Change because it was written the toolkit in mind AND because book buyers can get access to 26 of the 50+ tools in the toolkit when they contact me. This includes the powerful Change Planning Canvas™, the keystone designed to sit at the center of all of the other tools and keep everything on track.
Not ready to commit to reading the book?
Then, go ahead and get comfortable for free with some of the frameworks, tools and this more visual, collaborative and kinesthetic way of working by downloading the 10 free change tools, which include a combination of frameworks from the book and powerful tools like:
I’ve invested decades and millions of dollars worth of time into putting this toolkit together for you (this is my 10,000 hour project for those Gladwell fans out there). The crazy part is that your annual investment in the Change Planning Toolkit™ will be less than the cost of hiring a change consultant for even 30 minutes.
You can learn more about the Change Planning Toolkit™ by checking out this short 25-minute introductory webinar.
I hope you’ll consider thinking differently about change, and I encourage you to consider about joining the change revolution at whatever starting point above that feels comfortable for you.
The business world is showing an increasing interest in the people side of change, and there is a very real reason for this…
Companies are spending an increasing amount of their budget on technology and working to transform their operations to be more digital in order to provide a better experience for customers, employees, partners and suppliers while simultaneously creating a more efficient and effective business.
Everyone knows that a lot of technology projects fail to achieve their intended objectives, timings, and budgets. This fact and the increasing investment levels are causing more executives to look for ways to de-risk these technology investments in digitizing the business.
That’s why we’re seeing an uptick in the hiring and certification of change management professionals, which is great, but companies are still thinking about the relationship between project management and change management backwards.
In most cases change management is brought to bear as an afterthought, a bolt on to project management when the reverse should be true. Managing a change is a bigger endeavor than managing a project, and in fact you could say that because every project changes something, that every project is a change initiative.
It is thinking about managing projects in this way that I sat down to begin managing a new project several years ago and like many project managers, I found myself sitting at my computer by myself starting at an empty Microsoft Word template for a project charter knowing the uphill battle I’m going to face trying to route this document around via email and succeeding at both getting any responses at all and at getting meaningful input and a diversity of perspectives to make my project charter a really strong document that anyone will actually look at after week two of the project. I also found myself thinking that there has to be a better to plan and execute change initiatives and projects.
And sure people like pull ADKAR (a modified version of AIDA from the marketing world) and the ACMP Standard for Change Management (see the visualization I created above and download it for free here) and John Kotter’s change leadership approach, but they all fall short of making the planning and execution of change initiatives and projects a more visual and collaborative process, so I found myself starting to create new tools to help people (intended to link up with the PMBOK and ACMP Standard for Change Management).
These tools started to collect until they formed a comprehensive and new visual, collaborative approach to planning and executing change initiatives, and yes projects. This collection of tools became known as the Change Planning Toolkit™ and was first introduced in my latest book Charting Change which pairs nicely with my first book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire. Both are designed to pack more insights into each chapter than most books contain in the entirety of their pages. Two of the most important frameworks introduced in the book are the Five Keys to Successful Change:
And the Architecting the Organization for Change framework:
Both frameworks are designed to help people challenge the way they think about organizational change. They are designed to help people think about more than change management and to think differently about how organizations are transformed and how change management and project management relate to each other.
To help people begin their participation in changing change I’ve made ten free tools available for download from the 50+ tools in the Change Planning Toolkit™, and people who buy a copy of Charting Change get access to 26 of the 50+ tools (including the Visual Project Charter™ and the Change Planning Canvas™). The book does a great job of helping to explain the philosophy behind the toolkit and how to get started with the tools, but people who purchase access to all 50+ tools (including tools to help people think through their Digital Transformation) also get a QuickStart Guide to explain each tool.
But if we are going to truly work together to change how change is planned and executed I thought it would make sense to give people a more in depth sneak preview into what’s inside the toolkit and so I’ve created the following Introduction to the Change Planning Toolkit™ webinar recording:
I encourage you to reflect upon your own experiences planning and executing both projects and change initiatives and what you’ve found lacking in the tools you call upon from ProSci, PMI, ACMP or others and then check out the book and the webinar and then let me know if there are any tools that you feel are still missing – and if it makes sense, I’ll create them!
My goal in creating all of these tools for you after all is to help you beat the 70% change failure rate, so let’s work together at changing change so our organizations are capable with more capably transforming themselves as the environment changes around them.
You can let me know if there are any change tools that you still need (or if you’d like me to come show you and your team personally how to use them) via the contact form.
Let’s change change together!
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When it comes to business, many people would say it is outcomes that truly matter, especially investors on wall street. Investors don’t care what kind of software you’re running or what your stack looks like, or how you do what you do, as long as you deliver the financial outcomes they are looking for in order to earn a return on their investment.
Doctors also focus on outcomes and insurance companies are becoming obsessed with them, forcing doctors and customers into Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). In healthcare, the outcomes obsession is called Outcomes-Based Management or Outcomes-Based Healthcare. In education, the outcomes obsession has led to an obsession with standardized testing and a practice called Outcomes-Based Education (OBE).
And in the innovation space, Tony Ulwick and Strategyn created Outcomes-Driven Innovation (ODI). In the innovation space this approach can be very beneficial as it helps companies move away from asking questions like “What can this technology do?” to questions that create better outcomes and more value, questions like “What is the customer trying to do?” or “What is the job to be done (JTBD)?”
Whether it is healthcare, education, business, or innovation, a focus on outcomes can be very helpful, but in these contexts we are looking at managing to a certain set of outcomes, or improving a certain set of outcomes, at a fixed point in time.
In the area of organizational change however, the focus often is not on outcomes, but on behaviors. Far too much of the literature and practice focuses on behavior change, which could also be described as “what people do.” And this focus on behaviors instead of aligning thoughts, feelings, behaviors and outcomes is part of why up to 70% of change efforts fail.
Too many people are jumping in head first and not approaching organizational change holistically, having the tough conversations around not only around how behaviors (doing) need to change but also how the how the outcomes need to change, along with how people’s thoughts and feelings need to change.
And when it comes to organizational change, we are not trying to achieve a certain set of outcomes or optimize a certain set of outcomes, but instead to ascertain what the relevant outcomes are in the current state and what we want them to become in the future state.
To help change leaders work though these incredibly necessary conversations and to help change managers achieve alignment within the organization around how all four components need to change (outcomes, thinking, feeling, doing) as part of a planned and coordinated effort, I have created the Outcome-Driven Change (ODC) Framework and worksheet to add to the Change Planning Toolkit™ v7 for existing subscribers and new subscribers alike.
Thinking, feeling, doing…
People have been linking these terms together since at least 1895 when E.W. Scripture released an interesting book titled Thinking, Feeling, Doing on how scientists conduct research affecting these three parts of our humanity. Many people have added to the conversation since then speaking about how we are of three minds (Merriam-Webster dictionary definitions below), which are the:
Of, relating to, being, or involving conscious intellectual activity (such as thinking, reasoning, or remembering)
Relating to, arising from, or influencing feelings or emotions
An inclination (such as an instinct, a drive, a wish, or a craving) to act purposefully
Not coincidentally, these match up with the three domains of learning, defined as early as 1956 by educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom.
Others like to ascribe these three elements of humanity into Mind, Body, and Soul.
The key thing to remember from all of this discussion is that we are speaking about three very distinct things:
IT IS possible, and happens with surprising frequency, that all three are not in agreement when you are dealing with human beings. Which the obvious truth of course is that in any change effort, or project for that matter, you are. People are fully capable of thinking one thing, feeling another, and end up doing something totally incongruent with either OR both whatever they are thinking and feeling. Confused yet?
Author F. Scott Fitzgerald once famously said:
“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”
This is one reason why change of any kind, organizational or personal, is so hard. Because, in order to be successful you must achieve alignment between all three elements of human reaction to the change in order to achieve the outcomes you seek.
Hopefully I’ve captured all of this in this single image of the Outcome-Driven Change Framework and this single quote from it:
“When what people do aligns with what they think and feel, then and only then, will you achieve the outcomes you’re looking for.”
In the Change Planning Toolkit™ v7 paying subscribers will find 11″x17″versions of this framework and the Outcome-Driven Change™ Worksheet to help your change planning team guide the conversations with change leaders that will help you surface the outcomes you’re currently achieving and what people in the organization are thinking, feeling, and doing to create the current outcomes and what members of the organization will need to think, feel, and do in order to achieve the new set of outcomes that you determine are necessary for the change to be successful.
This is just a taste of the kinds of frameworks, worksheets, and other tools you will find in the Change Planning Toolkit™ that I introduced in my latest book Charting Change along with a lot of great case studies and other next practices shared by some of the leading minds in the areas of organizational change and innovation.
So what are you waiting for?
Get started using the Outcome-Driven Change Framework to spark dialogue among your change planning and leadership teams
According to multiple sources, including McKinsey, 70% of change efforts fail. The reason many change efforts fail is that they often lack a clear plan.
So, what’s a company struggling to keep up with the accelerating pace of change to do?
Why not revolutionize your ability to change faster than the competition using the Change Planning Toolkit™?
The Change Planning Toolkit™ allows you to:
Quickly visualize, plan and execute on your change initiative (from simple projects to complicated mergers or acquisitions)
Deliver projects and change efforts on time
Accelerate implementation and adoption
Get a lot of valuable tools for a much lower cost than lesser offerings
I believe so much in the power of the Change Planning Toolkit™ that I am willing to offer a free* site license to the next three (3) firms to purchase a Change Planning Toolkit™ training session (which includes train-the-trainer).
For large companies like IBM, Accenture, Amazon, GE, Wells Fargo, Cognizant, HP Enterprise, Convergys, Oracle, or Microsoft, a free* site license represents a savings of up to $830,000 on tools with a value of nearly $500 million for a nominal investment in one day of training.
* The site license is free for the first year. After 365 days it can be renewed for a very affordable $2/employee per year. Each employee gets access to tools that other companies might charge up to $20,000 for a single user to access.
** Depending on the country, book will be provided in either hardcover or digital form to training participants, but not both