Interesting questions and epic week

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The leaves are turning yellow.

This has been a very good week in the brief history of Unicornsulting. I’ve been asked two very good questions this week. I might have reason to come back to these questions later on, but here are my initial thoughts. 

Next week I will have a presentation  at Lindholmen Software Development Day in the Business track. I am really looking forward to it. Hopefully I will make a few people upset and some really excited, which might lead to interesting discussions later or.

However, I received two questions this week that requires some attention. And here we go:

Question one: “Isn’t Design Thinking an outdated approach to innovation?”

To me this indicates a dogmatic attitude to approaches. I think that any approach to innovation becomes outdated if you tend to think of it more or less as a religion.

Personally, I appreciate quite a few aspects of Design Thinking because it provides a mindset and approach that is quite often lacking in the organizations that I am helping. Does this mean that I only use or promote Design Thinking as the only path to addressing innovation? Hell, no! The same goes for a BMC, Lean startup, Ten types or which ever approach to innovation you choose. One approach and/or one size doesn’t fit all.

My approach is to seek inspiration from all and apply and test different ways. The approach alines with my Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu practice. If the opponent doesn’t want to move in one direction, don’t use force and be stuck in the mindset which direction that the opponent “should” go. Instead, try to go in the opposite or some other direction.

It doesn’t have so much to do with an opponent, but more the problem of mental fixedness and being stuck with how things should be instead of sensing and adapting. If you fight nature, you will lose every time. Instead try to find the path where there is no resistance or where the opponent (or maybe an organization) wants to go and use that momentum instead to adjust.

Which brings me to question number two…

“So why should anyone hire Unicornsulting instead of a ‘standardized’ approach to improving innovation capabilities?”

There are some really great companies around with a good supply of standardized tools to address innovation in organizations. Why hire me instead of them?

My view is that standardized approaches are great when it comes to raising the lowest bar. However,it doesn’t cut the cheese when it comes to taking organizations that are already doing good and help turning them amazeballs.

One size doesn’t fit all. In order to truly address the culture of innovation (which is one of the important aspects of an organization’s innovation capabilities), I strongly believe that you need to develop a deep understanding where that organization is at and then develop it from there. Of course you can have a systematic approach in doing that, but a too strict model might provide a false sense of security.

The goal with Unicornsulting is not to help organizations that doesn’t have a clue what innovation is and help them beat the average. The goal is to take great organizations them to the top. I haven’t yet come across a standardized approach that is capable of doing that.

There is one skill that I find absolutely necessary when working with strengthening an organization’s innovation capabilities / culture of innovation and that is empathy. Without understanding the latent needs of people in an organization and their customers, partners etc it will be very difficult to effectively boost their innovation capabilities to great heights.

I end my reflection on this question with two other questions to ponder:
Can you standardize empathy?
Can you really boost the culture of an organization without empathy?

Future blog posts…

So, far I have written primarily about the journey of starting an innovation consultant company, but I am getting closer to the point where I feel a need to share my view on innovation and how to boost innovation capabilities. Stay tuned.

Peace,
/Kalle

Three things that I am grateful for:

  1. Scapple by Literature and latte. I primarily use it for mindmapping or organizing random thoughts. I’ve used Mindmanager, freemind, xmind and a lot of other mindmapping tools in the past, but I found them to laden with features. Scapple doesn’t have one thing more than it needs and yet cover more than 90% of my needs.
  2. That things are starting to move ahead. Several fun and interesting presentations and workshops the forthcoming weeks. It is really fun to prepare for these and it feels good to be able to get back to an area where I feel very confident and I have years of experience that enables me to take on challenges that three years ago seemed to daunting.
  3. A very nice walk in Slottskogen. I love the colour of the leaves.
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