Exploring Drivers of Innovation Change

by Paul Hobcraft

Exploring 9 Drivers of Innovation Change - Innovation ExcellenceI always show a particular interest in statements claiming to have identified a relevant driver of innovation change, then to think through these. Let me offer mine.

Using the different drivers can give you new insights into your innovation activities plus also can prompt significant changes to freshen up your innovation portfolio. They are certainly a good place to start to get the creative juices flowing even more.

It is worth constantly working around different drivers of innovation change?

Periodically I would suggest you work through each of these as potential drives of change and see if this changes your thinking or approach is taking is a real driver and you can really see a different angle or opportunity that might emerge that really does changes the thinking and offer up some really new innovation ideas .

Let me share my opening nine identified drivers for innovation change:

Emotional Drivers.  as we learn, dream, create and get into a ‘freer’ spirit, it often opens up our thinking. I sometimes associate heroes and champions or relate recognized mentors and facilitators and look for what makes the emotional connection, then I ask: “can I use this or be inspired by them” to drive something within my innovation activities or not? What triggers different sentiments, warmth, excitement or feeling?

• Social Drivers – The more we seek interactions, they become (or should become) meaningful and enduring. These connections allow us to think and relate, deepen the association. As we also seek out others accomplishments, can this trigger ideas, principles or actions that we can apply in what we are doing. What can we offer that meets  different desires, aspirations, prompts dialogues and might reflect for instance, a more caring and sharing viewpoint. These are drivers that make us more socially relevant and connected.

• Technology Drivers – These tend to be better leveraged and understood, in collaborative methods and techniques, ones where we can demonstrate, connect the physical and virtual world, which moves us to better, clearer, even faster transactions. Technology is a really powerful enabler of innovation if you tune into the four fast-moving disruptive forces of social, mobile, cloud and analytics that are all driven by an explosion of data and fueling a new era of innovation for many. Imagine if you can harness technologies application and ‘raw’ power, there becomes a higher chance of finding the needle of useful innovation insights that lie within the binary haystack we all are coping with today. As you learn to analyse and sort these technology drivers, can give you new insights into different trends, patterns and needs, that might even radically alter the meaning within your business and how and what you offer, with even new business models emerging from the evaluations.

• Environment Drivers – these become critical. The more we encourage the right environment the more we create a culture that others can relate too and work within. One that encourages, and underlines the determination of bringing in diversity, collaborative and distinctly different behavioral patterns that encourages even more to join in, to relate and participate in generating ideas and solutions. By providing a welcoming environment you can drive growing awareness, trust and shared understanding that build a very powerful set of innovation drivers if the Environment thinking is right and tuned into the world of what needs to be reflected within your products and services..

• Measurement Drivers – We are all familiar with the classic input, process, outputs and outcomes we strive to find measures for, good or bad. I tend to look for measurement in the knowledge that is being driven through an organization in its absorptive capacities of accessing, anchoring and its eventual diffusion. If we measure actual utilization or assimilation then can we explore these in deeper ways, to draw out the aspects that make up both tacit and explicit outcomes needed. Measures can drive change if they are well thought through and connected, both into the business need but more importantly, into the individual’s own understanding of its relevancy. Make your measurements more dynamic, less static by ‘seeing them differently’

• Marketplace Drivers – Today it is all about speed and pace, accessing the changing conditions and pressures coming from the market place. We have this constant need in understanding the rate of change dynamics to work out your fit in new innovation offerings. We need to become far more tuned into pattern recognition, contexts of the forces at work. We need to appreciate the rivalry and competitive hunger. Above all it is figuring out the customers unmet needs and non-stated ones, so all these market force complexities can be worked through in your mind and ongoing evaluations. Tuning into the market forces gives an abundance of new thinking to work into your products and services.

• Design Drivers – approaching issues and challenges with more of a design thinking hat can help identify a number of hidden drivers. The more we experience and experiment, the more we tune into the power of stories, narratives and experiences. This heightens our awareness the more we practice looking ahead. Equally looking back it can reveal much more in our designs and what made up our thinking (at that time). Fashions and traditions, how we work today, how we worked in the past – and how differently in the future – will influence much in our innovation thinking. We need to open up to experiences far more. We do need to focus on function and form far more, that more human centred design need and always look for improving the ‘degrees of freedom’ and easy of purchase.

• Rational Drivers – Organizations survive by their rational drivers, be these strategic architecture, management systems and innovation processes. Those processes and procedures are where you are always looking to achieve and drive execution and results through improving productivity and creativity as well as working constantly at clarifying the interventions, controls and monitoring. The rational drivers, if well set up, can make such a difference to being ‘in control’ of all the innovation activities or not and should constantly be challenged for redundancy or improving upon. Innovation Governance is a classic place for constantly working through the rational drivers and keeping faith in the decisions made and guidance given. Having the rational opinion within your team has great value in keeping random thoughts more ‘grounded’ to the task at hand.

• Intelligence Drivers – The whole focus on knowledge generation and recognition, in awareness, competences needed and seeking diversity of interpretation. The underlying collection of intellectual capitals, our intangible source, that needs to keep feeding in the knowledge stock to allow ideas, concepts and outcomes to flow. Ones that drive to transform intelligence into tangible outcomes is becoming so important to yield fresh value and lead to improved commercial outcomes. Sadly it is often not allowed ‘it’s’ right amount of digesting time, to allow all the connections to be made to be pieced together as something completely different and so far more potentially valuable in new innovations. Listening to different people’s views values their intelligence and adds to ours.

To look around these drivers of change can yield very different thinking, prompt different actions and produce different innovation results. Get your team to discuss each of these change drivers to unearth new innovation possibilities.

Why not go and give these a ‘team test drive’ in exploring, focusing around each of these individually. Ask what can they do to alter their current thinking.

By getting into this regular habit of working around these different drivers of change will keep your innovation engine in much better shape, more in-tune to accelerate away with better innovation outcomes. These can be designed to stimulate and really trigger the imaginations, often with the result of you making some unexpected connections.

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Paul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities. Find him @paul4innovating

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