What Is Transformative Innovation?
When business-as-usual is not an option, sustaining innovation doesn’t help because “it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place,” as the Red Queen said in Alice in Wonderland.
Trying to run faster and faster just to not fall behind when everything around us constantly changes is exhausting and we need a wiser option. “Disruptive innovation” is a popular theory, but concerned mostly by market disruption and the creation of new markets. What if a company, pushed to address more fundamental challenges, finds itself in the situation where it needs to innovate the very ways in which the whole and its parts relate to each other, as to allow more creative energies to flow though it.
That’s an example of what we call “transformative innovation.” Looking at it from a broader perspective, transformative innovation means nothing less than being responsive to life in its full splendor of constant dance and fluctuation. It is a creative act by which we birth our new selves and affirm our capability to evolve as individuals and organizations.
Innovation Ecosystem and Innovation Architecture
“The vitality of an organization’s innovation ecology—the rainforest of ideas, insights, and inspirations that it can draw upon—depends on the same as the vitality of natural ecosystems: their diversity. The diversity of any ecosystem is continually enhanced by the interactions with the surrounding ecosystems. The organization’s innovation ecosystem does not stop at its gates.” — Liberating the Innovation Value of Communities of Practice, by George Pór
The glyph shows simple, 1-on-1 relationships between the components but in reality, those straight lines of connections are also intertwining and cross-pollinating.
At best, the actual diagram of an organisation’s innovation ecosystem is a snapshot of its institutional components. When you want to optimise your innovation strategy for the greatest synergy, then you need a different view, an architectural one that shows the domains of innovation.
“The science and art of architecture lie in skilfully relating parts to a greater whole, creating a form uniquely appropriate for the exercise of a specific set of functions.” — Sally Helgessen
“Innovation architecture” is a multi-disciplinary framework that informs and integrates the complex and interdependent processes within and across innovation domains.
A well-designed innovation architecture allows to:
- Accelerate the innovation cycle
- Orient evaluation of choices and trade-offs among numerous innovation options
- Have spontaneous emergence co-evolve with intentional design in innovation projects
Community Intelligence Innovation Architecture™
The Community Intelligence Innovation Architecture™ (see below) is a systemic framework for the concurrent and integrated cultivation of the following domains of innovation: social/cultural, business/organisational, knowledge/learning, and technology.
Striving for simultaneously moving the edge of innovation in all those areas, organisations can reach a high level of coherence and synergy across the projects we engage in, which is a potent enabler of creativity in both our team and our client systems.
Developing a Strategy for Transformative Innovation
The Community Intelligence Innovation Architecture™ framework is coupled with a research-based and time-tested methodology to create a company-specific strategy for transformative innovation, which we developed and successfully introduced in a number of private and public sector organisations over the past 30 years.
We will work with your leadership team through a series of “transformative innovation” design sessions to help to achieve positive cross-impact across the innovation domains, in re-iterative spirals.
The full power of our “strategy for transformative innovation” design service will appear in the sweet spot, at the intersection of all four domains. When the propeller blades start turning (see above), the wind picks up and creates a vortex of innovation. Each wind stream is strengthened by the combined power of the three others. Optimising the four domains’ interactions is at the core of our art of innovation architecting.