Tag Archives: Workshops

Innovating Through Adversity and Constraints

Innovating Through Adversity and Constraints

GUEST POST from Janet Sernack

It’s been almost two and a half years since most of us shifted to working virtually and remotely, which, in turn, seriously disrupted most of our business-as-usual behaviors and learning habits. Interestingly, this also disrupted our habitual unconscious safety and comfort zones, and, in many cases, disconnected our overall sense of security. For some of us, our ability to make sense of ourselves and our futures, has been impacted, impacting our abilities to find new ways of being creative and innovating through the range of constraints and adverse situations.

Looking inward

Some of us have also had our confidence to survive and thrive in a world severely impacted, and many of us have felt exploited, exhausted, and depleted by our employers. According to Lynda Gratton, in a recent article in MIT Sloane Magazine “Making Sense of the Future” many of us are looking inward — working through the impact of our changing habits, networks, and skills, and begin to imagine other life trajectories and possible selves.

Looking outward

Again, according to Lynda Gratton, some of us are now also looking outward to analyze how talent markets are changing and what competitors are doing, which is creating momentum and a force for change, but also frustration and anxiety, given institutional lag and inertia.

The larger-than-life, terrible, and confronting conflict in Ukraine has also inflated, for some of us, a deeper sense of helplessness and exhaustion, and amplified our concerns and fears for a sustainable future.

The momentum for change is growing 

Yet some people have successfully responded to worries and concerns about the inertia holding our companies back, and have adapted to working, learning, and coaching online. Using this moment in time to help de-escalate our reactivity to what’s been going on to deeply connect, explore, discover, listen, and respond creatively to what is really important, to ourselves, our people, teams and our organizations.

To help shift the tension between today and tomorrow, through regenerating and replenishing ourselves and our teams, by shifting the dialogue towards renewing and innovating through constraints and adversity in uncertain and unstable times.

Innovating through constraints at ImagineNation™

Innovating through constraints enabled the collective at ImagineNation™ to design and deliver a bespoke, intense, and immersive learning journey for an executive team aiming at igniting and mobilizing their collective genius to step up to face their fears, adapt, take smart risks and innovate in uncertain and disruptive times!

Some of the constraints we collaboratively and creatively mastered included adapting to differing:

  • Geographies, we are based in Melbourne, Australia, and our client was based in Canada, which made managing time zone schedules challenging, including some very early 4.30 am starts for us –  Making flexibility and adaptiveness crucial to our success.  
  • Technologies, balancing Zoom-based online webinars and workshops, with Google chat rooms and jamboards, completing one on one coaching sessions, and assigning, completing, and presenting group action learning assignments – Reinforcing the need for constant iteration and pivoting to ensure the delivery of outcomes, as promised.
  • Communicating, including air freighting hard copy reflection packs, scheduling, and partnering virtually, all within a remote and fractured working environment –Ensuring that clarity and consistency would lead to the successful delivery of the outcomes, as promised.

Shifting the dialogue

Demonstrating that we can all be resilient and creative when we live in times of great uncertainty and instability through investing in reskilling people and teams to become more purposeful, human, and customer-centric.

We can all break the inertia by challenging our business-as-usual thinking and shifting the dialogue towards exploring our inner challenges and navigating the outer challenges of our current environment.

If we commit to doing this with more consciousness, hope, optimism, and control, to follow a direction rather than a specific destination by:

  • Perceiving this moment in time as an “unfreezing opportunity” and an opening to shift out of inertia and complacency, to re-generate and re-invent ourselves and our teams?
  • Knowing how to connect, explore, discover, generate and catalyze creative ideas to rapidly and safely unlearn, relearn, collaborate and innovate through constraints and adversity?
  • Committing to letting go of our “old baggage” and ways of making sense of our new reality, by experimenting with smart risk-taking, and making gamification accessible in an environment that is unpredictable?

Re-generating and re-inventing in uncertain and unstable times

In fact, many of us successfully adapted to online working, learning, and coaching environments by de-escalating any feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

To bravely focus on regenerating and reinventing ourselves and our teams and using this moment in time to be curious, shift the dialogue, explore possibilities, harness collective intelligence and ask some catalytic questions:

  • What if we intentionally disrupted our current way of thinking?
  • How might we think differently to shift our perception and perceive our worlds with “fresh eyes”? What might be possible?
  • What if we shift the dialogue to engage people in innovating through constraints?
  • How might we shift the dialogue to activate and mobilize people towards taking intelligent risks through constraints?
  • How might thinking differently empower, enable and equip ourselves and our teams to navigate the current environment with more hope and optimism?
  • What if re-consider and perceive these constraints differently?
  • How might we support people to ignite their creativity?
  • How might we equip people to be creative and develop better ideas?
  • How might we resource people to force more change and innovation?
  • How might we discover new ways of creating value for people in ways that they appreciate and cherish?

Grappling with the future is paradoxical

Finally, Lynda Gratton suggests that we need to:

“Acknowledge that this is not straightforward. Right now, many leaders are stuck between two sources of tension: the tension of enlightenment, where they can begin to imagine what is possible, and the tension of denial, where they are concerned that more flexible working arrangements will negatively affect performance. They grapple with whether the change will be necessary or possible. These are legitimate tensions that are only exacerbated by the sense of exhaustion many people feel”.

If we perceive these constraints as catalysts for setting a clear focus and direction, it might force us to experiment with creative ways of acting and doing things differently.

It might also force us to make tougher decisions around our inner and outer priorities, by exploring and discovering more balanced, creative, and inventive ways of constantly iterating and pivoting whatever resources are available to get the important jobs done.

An opportunity to learn more

Find out about our learning products and tools, including The Coach for Innovators Certified Program, a collaborative, intimate, and deep personalized innovation coaching and learning program, supported by a global group of peers over 9-weeks, starting Tuesday, May 4, 2022.

Image Credit: Unsplash

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

What You Must Know Before Leading a Design Thinking Workshop

What You Need to Know Before Leading a Design Thinking Workshop

GUEST POST from Douglas Ferguson

Leading a design thinking workshop can completely transform your company for the better. According to the 71% of brands that champion design thinking, making a shift to a design-centered mindset will dramatically improve productivity and work ethic amongst your staff.

Are you ready to take your team to the next level?

If you’re ready to take your team to the next level by leading a design thinking workshop, it’s essential to know the basics of design thinking first. Having a deeper understanding of this human-centered approach will make it easier to get your team on board with this process.

In this article we’ll cover the basics of design thinking and the best way to approach leading a workshop for your team with the following topics:

  • What is Design Thinking?
  • A History of Design Methodology
  • The Six Phases of Design Thinking
  • Leading a Design Thinking Workshop

Understanding Design Thinking

Design thinking is a creative problem-solving method that centers on the needs of the end-user, by considering them first when creating products or services. When you authentically understand the wants and needs of the consumer, you can develop successful products and services they value and use to improve their lives.

Ultimately, a design thinking approach helps you understand the experience of the end-user by adopting the end user’s mindset and creating your product or service from this perspective.

A History of Design Thinking

The human-centered design process is an extension of the design thinking methodology. Though scientists, creatives, scholars, analysts, and engineers have studied this methodology for the past several years, the idea to apply a design mindset to problem-solving as a business strategy didn’t exist until the cognitive scientist and Nobel Prize laureate Herbert A. Simon coined the term in 1969. Simon explained the modern idea of design as an applicable way of thinking about business in his book, The Sciences of the Artificial.

Whiteboarding

Since Simon began the conversation about the design thinking methodology, many academic elites and experts have adopted this concept and expanded upon it. Yet one thing remains the same: the user should be at the core of any design process. The human-centered process is an exploration of how to accurately and innovatively create a product or service that satisfies consumers’ wants and needs.

“We must design for the way people behave, not for how we would wish them to behave.” –Donald A. Norman, Living with Complexity

Women with Laptop Pexels

The Six Phases of Design Thinking

Let’s take a look at the six phases of the human-centered design process to learn how to create with purpose as you prepare for leading a design thinking workshop.

1. Observe & Understand Users’ Behavior

The first phase of the design thinking process is to observe and understand the end user’s behavior to learn as much as possible about their needs. This allows you to better understand the people you are designing for as you approach problem-solving from their perspective. Doing so will allow you to deeply empathize with them and identify opportunities to better cater to and address these issues.

By identifying the end user’s behavioral patterns you’ll have a clearer understanding of what your customers enjoy and what they are dissatisfied with. This phase allows for greater innovation as you build trust and connect to your consumers.

Women Collaboration Pexels

2. Ideation

The ideation phase focuses on brainstorming new solutions based on what you learned by observing the end-user. Remember to stay focused on a human-centered design process while generating ideas. The use of divergent thinking is critical in this stage to foster creativity and generate as many ideas as possible.

In the ideation phase, everything is fair game. For example, instead of worrying about the details of how your potential ideas will work, focus on “why not?”

There are no right or wrong answers, only potential creative solutions to the problems you’ve identified. When you prioritize the needs and desires of the people you are creating for, you’ll arrive at the most successful solutions that you’ll continue to refine through the rest of the design thinking process.

3. Prototype

Now that you have potential solutions, it’s time to bring your best ideas to life with rapid prototypes. In this phase, you’ll test your ideas in real-time with real people to get their feedback. Rapid prototypes are quick and easy versions of the ideas you want to create. Their role is to ensure that your vision is on target and it allows you space to make amendments based on feedback before you make the final product.

This experimental phase isn’t about perfection. The goal is to create a quick, tangible prototype so that you can test it.

Group of People Whiteboarding Pexels

4. Feedback

In the feedback phase of the design process, you’ll test your prototype. This is perhaps the most vital part of the human-centered design process as it will determine whether or not your idea works for the people you are designing for.

Get your prototype in the hands of your target consumer and ask them: how and why does this product/service achieve or fail to reach your needs and desires? During this stage, you’ll want to collect as many details as possible from testers as you’ll use this feedback to finalize your solution.

5. Integration

The integration phase of the design thinking process helps you to identify the usefulness of the proposed solution. Consider the feedback you receive and how you can implement it into your design to make it better. This is a fluid process: integrate, test, and repeat until you reach the best version of your idea. Once your solution is fully-fledged and replicable, it’s time to share it.

6. Application

It’s time to send your idea out into the world! During this last stage of the design thinking process, make the final prototype and share it. It’s important to keep an eye on changes in your target audience and their needs and desires as time progresses so that you can make adaptations to your design as necessary.

With each new update, return to phase one and repeat the process for best results. Remember that the user’s needs change over time, so it is important to anticipate future alterations to best serve consumers’ changing needs.


Leading a Design Thinking Workshop

When we approach innovation with a human-centered design process, we are able to empathize with and therefore better understand the end-user and what they truly desire. Everything we create is an extension from t

When we approach innovation with a human-centered design process, we can empathize with and therefore better understand the end-user and what they truly desire. By leading a design thinking workshop, you’ll encourage your team to innovate in this human-centered way. As you create everything from this level of self-awareness, you’ll ultimately develop better products and services as you improve your company and team as well.

Once you have a clear understanding of the design thinking process, you’ll be able to lead your design thinking workshop with your team. Whether your design sprint is a few days or a few hours, a well-executed design thinking workshop will help you keep your customers’ needs top of mind.

Hiring a professional facilitator is one of the best ways to lead a design thinking workshop at your company. At Voltage Control, our team of facilitators is happy to assist you in your design thinking needs. With a clear understanding of this methodology and an effort to lead your team with the same mentality, you’re sure to see the benefits of adopting a design thinking approach.

This article originally appeared on VoltageControl.com, you can find it HERE.


Do you want to learn more about human-centered design?

Voltage Control facilitates design thinking workshops, innovation sessions, and Design Sprints. Please reach out at hello@voltagecontrol.com for a consultation.

Image credits: Pexels, Unsplash

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

600 Free Innovation, Transformation and Design Quote Slides

600 Innovation, Transformation and Design Quote Slides on Innovation, Change and Design

Free Downloads for Keynote Speeches, Presentations and Workshops

Looking for a compelling quote for a keynote speech, workshop or presentation on any of these topics?

  • Innovation
  • Digital Transformation
  • Design
  • Change
  • Creativity
  • Leadership
  • Design Thinking

I’m flattered that people have been quoting my keynote speeches and my first two books Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire and Charting Change.

So, I’m making some of my favorite quotes available from myself and other thought leaders in a fun, visual, easily shareable format.

I’ve been publishing them on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

But now you can download twelve (12) volumes of fifty (50) quote posters, for a total of 600, for FREE from my store:

You can add them all to your shopping cart at once and download them for FREE.

Print them, share them on social media, or use them in your presentations, keynote speeches or workshops.

They are all Adobe PDF’s and the best way to add them to your presentation is to:

  1. Put the PDF into FULL SCREEN MODE
  2. Take a screenshot
  3. Paste it into your presentation
  4. Crop it and adjust the size to your liking
  5. Change the background color of the slide to a suitable color (if necessary)

Contact me with your favorite innovation, design thinking, change, transformation, or design quotes and I’ll consider adding them to my library of future downloads.

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Creating 21st Century Transformational Learning

Creating 21st Century Transformational Learning

GUEST POST from Janet Sernack

I was privileged to attend one of the first Theory U; Presencing Leadership for Profound Innovation and Change Workshops presented by the Sloane School of Management, in Boston in 2008. This means that I have been able to observe, engage with and participate, from both Israel and Australia, in the evolution of Presencing and Theory U as powerful resources and vehicles for effecting profound transformational change and learning.

Intentional Change and Learning

I have seen and experienced the growth of the global Presencing community, as it transformed from a small, diverse, thought-leading group in the USA, seeding a range of deeply disruptive core concepts, as described in their groundbreaking book – Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future into a global movement.

Where they introduced a radical new theory about change and learning, I also participated in its evolution into its current manifestation, as a global movement for profound transformational change. Which seeks to create, within the whole system, intentional shifts that break old patterns of seeing and acting that continually create results, on a planetary level, that are no longer needed or wanted. Achieving this by encouraging deeper levels of attention and intention, as well as deep and continuous learning, to create an awareness of the larger systemic whole, ultimately leading to us to adopt new and different mindsets, behaviors, actions, and systems that can help to shape our evolution and our futures.

A Turning Point

It is suggested by many, that we are at a turning point, a critical moment in time, where all of us, individually and collectively, have the chance to focus our attention toward activating, harnessing, and mobilizing transformational change and learning to shape our evolution and our futures intelligently. To maximize the emergence, divergence, and convergence of new patterns of consumer and business behaviors that have emerged at extraordinary speed and can be sustained over long periods of time because digitization, coupled with the impact of the global pandemic, have accelerated changes faster than many of us believed previously possible.

Paradoxically, we are facing an uncertain future, where according to the World Economic Forum Job Reset Summit – “While vaccine rollout has begun and the growth outlook is predicted to improve, and even socio-economic recovery is far from certain” no matter where you are located or professionally aligned.

Leveraging the Turning Point

This turning point, is full of possibilities and innovative opportunities potentially enabling organizations, leaders, teams, people, and customers to embrace the opportunity to change and learning in creative and inventive ways to shape our evolution and to co-create our futures, in ways that are:

  • Purposeful and meaningful,
  • Embrace speed, agility, and simplicity,
  • Scale our confidence, capacity, and competence through unlearning, relearning, and innovation.

Resulting in improving equity for all, resilience, sustainability, growth, and future-fitness, in an ever-changing landscape, deeply impacted by the technologies created by accelerated digitization, by putting ourselves into the service of what is wanting to emerge in this unique turning point and moment of time.

Forward-looking leadership

This is validated by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), who outlined, in a recent article the key strategies employed by most innovative companies in 2021 that “forward-looking leaders soon looked to broader needs affecting their companies’ futures, such as resilience, digital transformation, and customer relevance”.

Realizing, like the authors of Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future, the need to build the systemic ability to drive change, learning and innovation, by transforming their ambitious aspirations into real results through:

  1. Clarifying a clear ambition: that is meaningful and purposeful, compelling and engaging that aligns to people’s values and helps build “one team” mindsets.
  2. Building systemic innovation domains: that are strategically and culturally aligned, enabling people and technology to connect, explore, discover, design, and deliver the ambition through making changes and learning, collective and ecosystems approach that provides clear lines of sight to stakeholders, users, and customers.
  3. Performance management: that acknowledges and rewards collaborative achievements, results in transformational change and learning through smart risk-taking, experimentation and drives accountability, and celebrates success.
  4. Project management: that provides rigor and discipline, through taking a human-centered, and agile approach that allows people and teams to make the necessary shifts in assigning and delivering commercially astute, ambitious, radical, and challenging breakthrough and Moonshot projects.
  5. Talent and culture: by exercising leadership that brings people and teams together, collaborating by fostering openness, transparency, permission, and trust so people can safely unlearn, relearn, adapt and innovate. By supporting and sponsoring change initiatives, by harnessing and mobilizing collective genius, by granting prestige to innovation roles and valuing radical candor, generating discovery and challenges to the status quo.

A Moment in Time

Some thirteen years later, in a recent Letter, Otto Scharmer, one of the original authors of the Presence book, shared with the global Presencing community, that it:

“feels as if we have collectively crossed a threshold and entered a new time. A time that was there already before, but more as a background presence. A time that some geologists proposed to refer to as the Anthropocene, the age of humans. Living in the Anthropocene means that basically all the problems, all the challenges we face on a planetary scale are caused by… ourselves”.

He then stated that “Being alive at such a profound planetary threshold moment poses a critical question to each and every one of us: What is my response to all of this, what is our response to this condition, how am I – and how are we – going to show up at this moment?

Showing up at this moment

Change and learning today involve people, developing their knowledge, mindsets, and behaviors, skills and habits. So, making a fundamental choice about how you wish to show up right now, as a leader or manager, business owner or employee, consultant, trainer, or coach, is crucial to making your contribution and commitment to shaping your own individual, and our collective evolution and our futures.

Taking just a moment

It may, in fact, be beneficial, to take just a moment – to hit your pause button, retreat into reflection, stillness, and silence and ask yourself Otto’s question – how am I, and how are we as a business practice, team or organization going to show up at this moment?

Drawing on my experience as an innovative start-up entrepreneur in Israel, people can either be forced to change and learn through necessity, conflict, and adversity in order to survive. Alternately, they can choose to change through seeing the world with fresh eyes, full of possibility, positivity, optimism, and self-transcendence, to innovate and thrive.

  • How might you develop the courage to make transformational and systemic changes and learning and innovation your key priorities to survive through necessity and adversity, or thrive through unleashing possibilities, optimism, and positivity?
  • How might you develop the compassion to focus on developing both customer and human centricity in ways that are purposefully meaningful and aligned to people’s values and contribute to the good of the whole (people, profit, and planet)?
  • How might you be creative in transforming your time, people, and financial investments in ways that drive out complacency, build change readiness and deliver the deep and continuous change and learning that equips and empowers people to deliver tangible results that are valued, appreciated, and cherished, now and in the future?

Not only to take advantage of the moment in time but to also use transformational change and learning to extend your practice or organizations future fitness and life expectancy, because, according to a recent article in Forbes –  “Half of the giants we now know may no longer exist by the next decade. In 1964, a company on the S&P 500 had an average life expectancy of 33 years. This number was reduced to 24 years in 2016 and is forecast to shrink further to 12 years by 2027”.

This is the final blog in our series of blogs, podcasts, and webinars on Developing a Human-Centric Future-Fitness organization.

Find out about our learning products and tools, including The Coach for Innovators Certified Program, a collaborative, intimate, and deep personalized innovation coaching and learning program, supported by a global group of peers over 8-weeks, starting Tuesday, October 19, 2021.

It is a blended and transformational change and learning program that will give you a deep understanding of the language, principles, and applications of a human-centered approach and emergent structure (Theory U) to innovation, within your unique context.  Find out more

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Co-creating Future-fit Organizations

Co-creating Future-fit Organizations

GUEST POST from Janet Sernack

In our second blog in this series of three, we opened the door to a threshold for a new kind of co-creative, collaborative and cohesive team spirit that catalyzes change through “innovation evangelism”. Focusing on building both internal and external talent, through empowering, equipping, and enabling internally cohesive and effective innovation teams.  They apply their collaborative and collective intelligence towards initiating open innovation initiatives co-creating future-fit organizations that are human-centric, adaptive, engaging, inclusive, collaborative, innovative, accountable, and digitally enabled.

Innovation evangelists are change catalysts who courageously experiment with different business models and processes, to crowdsource broad and deep innovation capabilities. Usually in new ways that breakthrough corporate antibodies and barriers and deliver sustainable, meaningful, and purposeful change.  Where, according to the recent Ideascale “Crowd Sourced Innovation Report 2021”crowdsourced innovation capabilities have grown and innovation output indicators like implementation rate and time to implement have improved. In fact, businesses that were able to rapidly adapt and focus on innovation(in 2020) are poised to outperform their peers in the coming years”.

Innovation teams don’t innovate

The purpose of an innovation team is to create a safe environment that unlocks organizational and its key external stakeholder’s collective intelligence and innovation agility (capacity, competence, and confidence) to build the capability to change as fast as change itself.

Where the goal is to create a high performing, connected, and networked workplace culture where people:

  • Understand and practice the common language of innovation, what exactly it means in their organizational context, as well as exactly what value means to current and potential customers as well as to the organization,
  • Develop a shared narrative or story about why innovation is crucial towards initiating and sustaining future success,
  • Have the time and space to deeply connect, collaborate, and co-create value, internally and externally with customers, suppliers, and other primary connection points to build external talent communities and value-adding ecosystems,
  • Maximize differences and diversity of thought within customers as well as within communities and ecosystems,
  • Generate urgency and creative energy to innovate faster than competitors,
  • Feel safe and have permission to freely share ideas, wisdom, knowledge, information, resources, and perspectives, with customers as well as across communities and ecosystems.

How innovation teams learn and develop

Sustaining success in today’s uncertain, unstable, and highly competitive business environment is becoming increasingly dependent on people’s and team’s abilities to deeply learn, adapt and grow. Yet most people and a large number of organizations don’t yet seem to value learning and adaptiveness as performance improvement enablers, especially in enabling people and teams to thrive in a disruptive world.  Nor do they understand how people learn, nor how to strategically develop peoples’ learning agility towards potentially co-creating future-fit organizations that sustain high-impact in VUCA times.

At ImagineNation™ we have integrated the four E’s of learning at work; Education, Experience, Environment, and Exposure with 12 key determining factors for co-creating future-fit organizations that sustain high-impact in VUCA times through our innovation team development, change, learning, and coaching programs.

Case Study Example

  1. Educational customisation and alignment

After conducting desktop research and key stakeholder sensing interviews, we customized our innovation education curriculum specifically to align with the learning needs of the innovation team.

We aligned the program design to the organization’s strategic imperatives, values, and leadership behaviors, we reviewed the results of the previous culture, climate and engagement surveys, as well as the range of business transformation initiatives. We then applied design thinking principles to “bring to life” the trends emerging, diverging, and converging in our client’s and their customer’s industry sectors.

Focusing on:

  • enabling people to perform well in their current roles,
  • building people’s long-term career success,
  • developing their long-term team leadership and membership development capabilities,
  • laying the foundations for impacting collectively towards co-creating future-fit organizations.
  1. Experiential learning a virtual and remote environment

We designed and offered a diverse and engaging set of high-value learning and development experiences that included a range of stretch and breakthrough assignments as part of their personal and team development process.

Focusing on:

  • encouraging people to engage in a set of daily reflective practices,
  • offering a series of customized agile macro learning blended learning options, that could be viewed or consumed over short periods of time,
  • engaging playful activities and skills practice sessions, with structured feedback and debrief discussions,
  • providing an aligned leadership growth individual and team assessment process,
  • introducing key criteria for establishing effective team cohesion and collaboration,
  • linking team action learning activities and evidence-based assignments to their strategic mandate ensuring their collective contribution towards co-creating future-fit organizations.
  1. Environment to support and encourage deep learning

We aimed at creating permission, tolerance, and a safe learning environment for people to pause, retreat, reflect, and respond authentically and effectively, to ultimately engage and upskill people in new ways of being, thinking, and acting towards co-creating future-fit organizations.

Focusing on:

  • developing peoples discomfort resilience and change readiness,
  • encouraging people to be empathic, courageous, and compassionate with one another, to customers as well as to those they were seeking to persuade and influence,
  • allowing and expecting mistakes to be made and valued as learning opportunities and encouraging smart risk-taking,
  • reinforcing individual learning as personal responsibility and team learning as a mutual responsibility and establishing a learning buddy system to support accountability,
  • offering a series of one-on-one individual coaching sessions to set individual goals and support people and the teams’ “on the job” applications.
  1. Exposure to different and diverse learning modalities

We designed a range of immersive microlearning bots by providing regular, consistent, linked, multimedia learning options and a constantly changing range of different and diverse learning modalities.

Focusing on:

  • providing an informative and targeted reading list and set of website links,
  • setting a series of coordinated thought leading webinars, videos, podcasts, and magazine articles aligned to deliver the desired learning outcomes,
  • outlining fortnightly targeted team application and reinforcement tasks,
  • helping the team to collaborate and set and communicate their passionate purpose, story, and key outputs to the organization to build their credibility and self-efficacy,
  • designing bespoke culture change initiatives that the innovation team could catalyse across the organization to shift mindsets and behaviors to make innovation a habit for everyone, every day.

Collectively contributing to the good of the whole

Co-creating future-fit organizations require creativity, compassion, and courage to co-create the space and freedom to discuss mistakes, ask questions, and experiment with new ideas. To catalyse change and help shift the workplace culture as well as crowdsource possibilities through open innovation.

In ways, that are truly collaborative, and energize, catalyze, harness, and mobilize people’s and customers’ collective genius, in ways that are appreciated and cherished by all. To ultimately collectively co-create a future-fit organization that contributes to an improved future, for customers, stakeholders, leaders, teams, organizations as well as for the good of the whole.

This is the final blog in a series of three about catalyzing change through innovation teams, why innovation teams are important in catalyzing culture change, and what an innovation team does, and how they collectively contribute toward co-creating the future-fit organization.

Find out about our learning products and tools, including The Coach for Innovators Certified Program, a collaborative, intimate, and deep personalized innovation coaching and learning program, supported by a global group of peers over 8-weeks, starting Tuesday, October 19, 2021.

It is a blended and transformational change and learning program that will give you a deep understanding of the language, principles, and applications of a human-centred approach and emergent structure (Theory U) to innovation, within your unique context. Find out more

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Innovation Teams Do Not Innovate

Innovation Teams Do Not Innovate

Guest Post from Janet Sernack

In our first blog in this series of three blogs, we reinforced and validated the importance and role of collaboration. We then described the range of emerging new, inspirational, and adaptive models that lean into complexity and catalyze and embed sustainable innovative workplace culture change. Where some organizations, like Alibaba, Disney, Google, Salesforce, and GE, developed their future fitness by courageously investing in catalyzing, igniting, and leading change through innovation teams.

Innovation teams are teams that don’t innovate!

Conventional team collaboration performance and development approaches are still relevant and foundational to long-term organizational success.  And, a new range of organizational needs are emerging in our fast-changing and disruptive world, that complement conventional team development processes including the importance of:

  • Providing a unified and holistic and systemic “collective mind” focussed on adding value to customers,
  • Being agile, focused, and in charge to make faster decisions,
  • Sharing resources and insights to reduce costs,
  • Working interdependencies to improve efficiencies and productivity,
  • Shifting focus from being competitive towards co-creating ecosystems to solve bigger, more complex problems, to lead, embed, and sustain value-adding change in a disruptive world.

According to the authors of Eat, Sleep Innovate, an innovation team is formed to develop “something different that creates value” and do this best in a culture where such behaviors come naturally.

These behaviors include:

  • Curiosity
  • Customer obsession
  • Adeptness to ambiguity
  • Collaboration
  • Empowerment
  • Accountability

Purpose of innovation teams

The purpose of an innovation team is to create an environment that unlocks an organization’s collective intelligence (capacity, competence, and confidence) and builds the capability to change as fast as change itself.

Usually, through providing mentorship, coaching, and learning process in ways that align, engage, enable, equip and leverage peoples’ collective intelligence to:

  • Adapt to higher levels of ambiguity and uncertainty,
  • Challenge the status quo and help break a conventional business as usual habits, leadership styles, and comfortable ways of working,
  • Provoke future “fast forward” (horizon three) thinking,
  • Support the implementation of digital and organizational transformational efforts,
  • Collectively and collaboratively drive innovation across organizations pragmatically and make it a reality,
  • Leverage synergies across ecosystems to solve complex problems and deliver increased value to customers.

Ultimately, to provoke and evoke future “fast forward” creative discoveries and experiment with new platforms and possible future business models to help guide future renewal and reinventions.

Delivering these, as smart and multi-disciplinary teams in ways that are timely, agile, and disciplined that potentially support and bring significant value to customers, the market, and to the organization.

Unconventional stretch collaboration requires connection, cognitive dissonance, and conflict

Experimenting with, iterating, and adapting new collaborative models, enables organizations and their leaders, to shift their focus – from being defensively competitive towards being creatively constructive.

Where the goal is to create a high performing, connected, and networked workplace culture where people:

  • Have the time and space to deeply connect, collaborate, and co-create value,
  • Maximize differences and diversity of thought,
  • Generate the urgency and creative energy to innovate,
  • Feel safe and have permission to freely share ideas, wisdom, knowledge, information, resources, and perspectives.

Innovation teams create discord and generate conflict

At ImagineNation™ we have found that the best way for innovation teams to perform is through building safety and trust, whilst simultaneously being safely provocative and evocative in creating discord and conflict to disrupt peoples conventional thought processes, behaviors, and habits.

To engage people in maximizing differences and diversity to generate creative ideas, and experiment with inventive prototypes, that ultimately solve big and complex problems and deliver commercially astute, innovative solutions.

By connecting, networking, and focussing on co-creation and emphasizing collaboration, inclusion, and mutual accountability, and not on being competitive.

Dealing with the organizational blockers – Innovation teams

At ImagineNation™ our experience has enabled us to understand and reduce the range of key common blockers to transformational and innovation-led change initiatives.

Where we support clients identify, and resolve and remove them by enabling and equipping innovation teams to:

  • Develop agile and innovation mindsets: building capability in safely exposing and disrupting rigid mindsets through customized mindset shifting, behavioral-based, skills development programs.
  • Understand the impact of the organization’s collective mindset: supporting teams to develop an empathic understanding of one another, then shifting how they feel and think to act differently, and cultivate the discomfort resilience when facing the challenges and failures in the innovation rollercoaster ride.
  • Enable leadership development: through educating, mentoring, and coaching leaders to grow their adaptive, collaborative, engaging, and innovative team leadership and membership capabilities.
  • Foster the development of an adaptive and innovative culture: by applying the cultural assessment and diagnostic processes that result in pragmatic culture change initiatives.
  • Ensure strategic alignment: sensing, perceiving, and developing a mutual focus, common language and understanding, and a collaborative networked way of working, that bridges the gap between the current and desired states.

Setting up an innovation team – the critical success factors

At ImagineNation™ we have also helped our clients identify, and embed the critical success factors, that enable innovation teams to drive and embed innovation-led change and transformational initiatives by ensuring:

  • Alignment to the mission, vision, purpose, values.
  • Strategic allocation of resources.
  • Leadership team sponsorship and mentorship.
  • Investment in team members and leader’s capability development.
  • Thinking big and focussing on clarifying and delivering future “fast forward” far-reaching solutions to highly impactful challenges.
  • Organization engagement and enrolment in implementing changes and creating, inventing, and delivering innovative solutions.
  • Lines of sight to stakeholders, eco-system players, and customers, taking an empathic value-adding perspective at all times.

Innovation teams – an unfreezing opportunity to co-create future-fit organizations

Embracing this type of collaborative approach creates an unprecedented opportunity for organizations, who have been upended as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, to develop a sense of urgency toward unfreezing and eliminating their corporate antibodies.

Empathizing with the range of challenges leaders are facing right now, where many are slowly waking up to a post-covid world, where there is an unprecedented and urgent opportunity to co-create a “new normal” that is well-designed to lift any of the emotional barriers to teamwork, locked-down relationships and online fatigue.

Opening the door to a new kind of co-creative, collaborative and cohesive team spirit that allows and encourages people to re-imagine, re-learn, reinvent and co-create new, fresh future fit, adaptive and innovative, people and customer-centric systems, structures, business models, and ecosystems.

All of which are mandatory for delivering future “fast forward” strategies for applying the collaborative and collective intelligence required for increasing value in innovative ways that people and customers appreciate and cherish, in ways we have not previously imagined, that connect with and contribute to, the good of the whole.

Find out about our learning products and tools, including The Coach for Innovators Certified Program, a collaborative, intimate, and deep personalized innovation coaching and learning program, supported by a global group of peers over 8-weeks, starting Tuesday, October 19, 2021.

It is a blended and transformational change and learning program that will give you a deep understanding of the language, principles, and applications of a human-centred approach and emergent structure (Theory U) to innovation, within your unique context. Find out more

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Catalysing Change Through Innovation Teams

Catalysing Change Through Innovation Teams

Guest Post from Janet Sernack

What makes Israel so innovative? And what has this got to do with teaming? One of the key discoveries, we made, almost ten years ago, when we relocated to Israel, was the power of its innovation eco-system – the result of a collaboration between the state, venture capital firms, successful entrepreneurs, educational system, business system, incubators, and accelerators. Reinforcing and validating the importance and role of collaboration, where a range of new, inspirational, and adaptive models that lean into complexity and catalyze and embed innovative workplace culture changes, have emerged. Where some organizations have strategically and systemically, courageously invested in applying these new models internally, in catalyzing change through innovation teams.

Transform creative discoveries

Innovation teams transform creative discoveries and ideas into new platforms and business models in timely, agile, and disciplined ways that bring significant value to the market and organization. Who, according to Nick Udall, CEO and co-founder of nowhere, effectively deliver the desired step-changes, breakthrough innovations, and organizational transformation, in ways that “move beyond what we know and step into the unknown, where the relationship between cause and effect is more ambiguous, hidden, subtle and multi-dimensional.”

New collaborative models

The range of new collaborative models, include teams and teaming, tribes, collectives, and eco-systems, are all designed to help organizations innovate in turbulent times.

Where they empower and enable everyone to be involved in innovating, and in responding to the diverse assortment of complex challenges emerging from the Covid-19 crises. They also empower and enable people to co-sense and co-create inventive solutions to the range of “complex” challenges, in ways that potentially engineer 21st-century adaptability, growth, success, and sustainability, in countries, communities, and organizations.

Capacity to change

Groups, teams, and teaming are now the “DNA of cultures of innovation”, who fuel organizations, with an “evolutionary advantage – the capacity to change as fast as change itself.” As we transition from our pre-Covid-19 conventional business-as-usual “normals”, organizations have the opportunity to adapt to the high levels of ambiguity by leveraging their peoples’ collective genius.

Utilizing innovation teams to multiply their value and co-create innovation cultures that catalyze growth, in the post-Covid-19 world through:

  • Emerging and exploring possibilities
  • Discovering creative opportunities
  • Making strategic decisions
  • Incubating and accelerating new ideas.

Realm of the creative team

According to Dr. Nick Udall in “Riding the Creativity Roller-Coaster” – creative teams embrace and work with the unknown, intangible, invisible, the unconscious and the implicate, that their key challenges are “to wander with wonder into the unknown.”

Through cultivating a 21st-century skill set, including – attending and observing, questioning, listening and differing, risk-taking and experimenting, and teaming and networking that enables them to be, think and act differently.

Catalyzing change through innovation teams involves creating a culture of innovation, which according to the authors of “Eat, Sleep, Innovate” – is one in which (mindsets) and behaviors that drive innovation come naturally.

Where creative teams are formed around a Passionate Purpose, that propels them into the unknown, in an unpredictable world, where they connect and stretch with cognitive dissonance and creative tension, through developing discomfort resilience. To co-create collective breakthroughs that shift them beyond managing the probable, toward leading what’s possible.

Role of collective mindsets and behaviors

One of the key elements that we can intentionally cultivate is our ability to develop habits that build our mental toughness and emotional agility to cope with stress and adversity, at the same time, paradoxically, create, invent and innovate.

The one thing that we can all control, and is controllable, are our individual and collective mindsets – how we think, feel and choose to act, in solving complex problems, performing and innovating, to dance on the edges of our comfort zones, in the face of the kinds of uncertainties we confront today.

Challenges in creating a culture of innovation 

Our research at ImagineNation™ has found that many organizations are disappointed and disillusioned with many of the conventional approaches to effecting culture change, largely because of variables including:

  • Confusion between the role of climate, culture, and engagement assessments and processes, knowing which one aligns to their purpose, strategy, and goals and delivers the greatest and most relevant value.
  • The typically large financial investment that is required to fund them.
  • The time it takes to design or customize, and implement them.
  • The complexity of tools and processes available that are involved in contextualizing and measuring desired changes.
  • Designating responsibility and accountability for role modeling, leading, and implementing the desired changes.
  • Building peoples’ readiness and receptivity to the desired change.
  • Efforts are required in removing the systemic blockers to change.
  • Designing and delivering the most appropriate change and learning interventions.
  • The false promises of “innovation theatre”.
  • The time it takes to reap desired results, often years.

In response to our client’s need for speedy, cost-effective, and simple, internal and collaborative culture change initiatives, we developed an integrated, simple, yet profoundly effective approach that integrates three powerful streams for catalyzing change through innovation teams:

  1. Team development and teaming skills
  2. Education and learning interventions
  3. Coaching and mentoring initiatives

By taking these variables into account, focussing on building the internal capability, and offering a different and fresh perspective towards catalyzing change through innovation teams.

Creating a culture of innovation – the innovation team 

We took inspiration from our 32 years of collective knowledge, wisdom, and experience across the domains of change management, culture, leadership, and team development as well as from our 8 years of iterating and pivoting our approach to the People Side of Innovation.

Coupling this with our extensive research sources, we developed and customized a team-based action and blended learning and coaching methodology for innovation teams, described as:

  • Change catalysts who operate with senior leadership sponsorship, empowered and equipped to trigger internal change management, engagement, and learning initiatives.
  • Teachers, coaches, and mentors who provide coaching and mentoring support to educate people in innovation principles and processes that cultivate sustainable innovation through co-creating learning programs and events.
  • A small effective and cohesive team, of evangelists, agitators, coaches, and guides and enables the whole organization to participate through partnering and collaborating on potentially ground-breaking (Moonshot) projects, aligned to the organization’s vision, purpose, and strategy.
  • Amazing networkers and influencers who work both within and outside of silos to inspire and motivate people to co-operate and collaborate by taking a systemic perspective, leveraging organizational independencies, to co-sense and co-create groundbreaking (Moonshot) prototypes that they pitch to senior leaders.
  • Being customer-obsessed and equipped with the innovation agility – capacity, competence, and confidence to adapt, transform, and constantly innovate to maximize the impact of innovation across the organization to affect growth, and deliver improved value by making innovation everyone’s job, every day, to make innovation a habit and way of life.

Developing the future fit future-facing company

Involves a commitment toward catalyzing change through innovation teams, leveraging teams, tribes, collectives as internal growth engines, who collaborate quickly to respond to ambiguity, turbulence, and rapid developments. By being nimble and agile, leading with open minds, hearts, and will to be present and compassionate to emerging human needs, courageously experiment with different business models, and creatively contribute to an improved future, for everyone.

This is the first in a series of three blogs about catalyzing change through innovation teams, why innovation teams are important in catalyzing culture change, and what an innovation team does.

Check out our second blog which describes how an innovation team operates and our final blog which includes an evidence-based case study of an effective and successful innovation team in a client organization.

Find out about our learning products and tools, including The Coach for Innovators Certified Program, a collaborative, intimate, and deep personalized innovation coaching and learning program, supported by a global group of peers over 8-weeks, starting Tuesday, October 19, 2021.

It is a blended and transformational change and learning program that will give you a deep understanding of the language, principles, and applications of a human-centered approach and emergent structure (Theory U) to innovation, within your unique context. Find out more

Image credit: Unsplash.com

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

550 Quote Slides on Design, Innovation, and Change

550 Quote Slides on Innovation, Change and Design

Free Downloads for Keynote Speeches, Presentations and Workshops

Looking for a compelling quote for a keynote speech, workshop or presentation on any of these topics?

  • Innovation
  • Design
  • Change
  • Digital Transformation
  • Design Thinking
  • Creativity
  • Leadership

I’m flattered that people have been quoting my keynote speeches and my first two books Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire and Charting Change.

So, I’m making some of my favorite quotes available from myself and other thought leaders in a fun, visual, easily shareable format.

I’ve been publishing them on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

But now you can download ten (10) volumes of fifty (50) quote posters, for a total of 550, for FREE from my store:

You can add them all to your shopping cart at once and download them for FREE.

Print them, share them on social media, or use them in your presentations, keynote speeches or workshops.

They are all Adobe PDF’s and the best way to add them to your presentation is to:

  1. Put the PDF into FULL SCREEN MODE
  2. Take a screenshot
  3. Paste it into your presentation
  4. Crop it and adjust the size to your liking
  5. Change the background color of the slide to a suitable color (if necessary)

Contact me with your favorite innovation, design thinking, change, transformation, or design quotes and I’ll consider adding them to my library of future downloads.


Accelerate your change and transformation success

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Virtual Keynotes and Virtual Workshops Now Available

Virtual Keynotes and Virtual Workshops Now Available

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has inflicted untold pain and disruption on individuals, families, businesses and economies all around the world.

But, now that we all are obtaining a clearer understanding of what it means to live and work amongst the reality of COVID-19, people are going back to work (even if still remotely) and companies are turning their attention increasingly back to the future.

Now is the time for event producers and innovation leaders to restart their content pipelines to inspire and empower audiences and employees to stoke their innovation bonfires, plan their transformation journeys, or chart their course for change.

People are more ready than ever to engage with virtual content, and you can save on travel expenses at the same time. Whether we’re speaking about inspirational keynotes or empowering workshops that create new capabilities in the audience or bring teams together to co-innovate using design thinking and other tools, frameworks, and methods.

I would be more than happy to create and deliver a customized keynote or workshop to any audience anywhere in the world, on any of these broad topics:

  • Change
  • Innovation
  • Design Thinking
  • Digital Transformation

Or if want to do your own workshops inside your organization but need a little help transitioning these to the virtual world, I would be happy to assist you with this as well.

For more information, please see my speaker page or contact me.

Keep innovating!


Accelerate your change and transformation success

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Now Available – Charting Change™ Facilitated Change and Project Kickoffs

Help Yourself to Successful Projects and Change Initiatives

Too often change management is seen as a subset of project management, causing the people side of change to be an afterthought. Stop it!

Architecting the Organization for Change

Successful organizations plan for change, and so I am extremely excited to announce that people can now get help powering their project or change initiative to a strong start with a facilitated Charting Change™ kickoff event requiring only a very small financial investment that will deliver a large return.

Charting Change™ Facilitated Change and Project Kickoffs include a package of products and services, valued at up to $460,600, for a deeply discounted introductory price:
(contact us for pricing)

  1. Change Readiness Audit (part of Day 1 of 3 on-site) – $5,000 value
  2. Change Saturation Heatmap (part of Day 1 of 3 on-site) – $5,000 value
  3. 20 autographed copies of Charting Change – $600 value
  4. Change Planning Toolkit

  5. Two-Day Guided Change Planning Session (Days 2&3 of 3) – $25,000 value
    • Day 1 – Introduction to the Change Planning Toolkit™
    • Day 1 – Set up the room
    • Day 2 – Conduct the change planning session
    • Day 2 – Change Planning Toolkit™ Q&A
    • Day 2 – Wrapup
  6. Certification of Change Planning Toolkit™ instructors (post-event certification exam)
  7. Change Planning Toolkit™ license (free for six months) – Up to a $425,000 value

TOTAL VALUE = Up to $460,600 for a deeply discounted introductory price
(contact us for pricing)

As part of the package I will fly to your location, work with you to facilitate a change planning or project planning session using the tools from the Change Planning Toolkit™ introduced in my latest book Charting Change, so that your next project or change initiative can be a roaring success and you and your team can become certified Change Planning Toolkit™ practitioners (if desired). If you’d like additional help with your project or change initiative beyond the Charting Change™ Facilitated Kickoff, we can stick with you to provide additional assistance via on-site or virtual support.

FOLLOW-UP SERVICE OFFERINGS

  1. Additional on-site support – by the week
  2. 100 virtual hour support package
    • Can choose a 1-day on-site for the equivalent of 30hrs
  3. Certification Exam

So invest a little in taking a more visual, more collaborative, and well, human, approach to planning your next successful project or change initiative and contact us.


Accelerate your change and transformation success

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.