A team of Stanford researchers have found that most “innovation methods” don’t actually result in innovative solutions. Most simply result in “innovation as usual.” Their research found that Innovation Engineering went beyond “Innovation-as-Usual” to true Breakout Innovation based on their review of the work that March of Dimes has done with Innovation Engineering. Their two year study identified five practices that enable Breakout Innovation. Each of these align with Innovation Engineering best practices.
1. Share Power: They define the problem at hand with others involved. They trust all players with full information. They support authentic leadership roles and structures for participants..
With Innovation Engineering this means: Blue Cards that enable everyone to understand what is looked for and why. And clear roles - Management Coach, Proc=ess Coach and Project Leader.
2. Prioritize Relationships: They take time to care for everyone in the process. They established terms and commitments that everyone could agree to. They foster a sense of community.
With Innovation Engineering this means: This means leveraging the IELabs portal where it’s clear who is doing what by when. It means everyone is taught and encouraged to help with everything associated with the project.
3. Leverage Heterogeneity: They curate groups with meaningful differences in perspective. They create multiple channels for input to account for different participation styles.
With Innovation Engineering this means: Diversity is embraced and celebrated. Mind Mapping honors each person’s reactions to stimulus - people are encouraged to seek out different perspectives with Idea Doubling, Idea Scan and Trailblazer Delphi.
4. Legitimize All Ways of Knowing: They create a safe space for acknowledging biases and trying new approaches. They include activities that foster mindfulness (meditation, etc.)
With Innovation Engineering this means: Systems such as Death Threats, Rapid Cycles of Learning (Plan, Do, Study, Act ) and Rapid Research makes it safe for anyone to suggest problems and answers. The IE breadth of stimulus mining, create/problem solving tools and even guided meditations enable all ways of knowing.
5. Prototype Early and Often: They begin with prototyping the fundamentals: fine tuning the analysis of the problems to be addressed, the key goals to be achieve, and the best processes to do so. They turn participants’ ideas into prototypes at each step of the process, testing out the viability of that piece before moving on to the next. They engage participants to “roll up their sleeves/“
With Innovation Engineering this means: Enabling systems for concept prototypes and functional prototypes. It also means the bigger picture - Clarity on the Yellow Card (problem, promise, proof) as well as prototyping the business model (monte-carlo simulations of sales, savings and or impact).