When thinking about Innovation, I have been wondering if there is a new way to think about the “process” as companies and individuals embrace the idea that innovation is much more about execution than simply ideation.
In today’s world, human beings individually and collectively create, learn and grow in essentially two ways:
Face to Face interaction (Same time) – or what I call synchronous engagement – bringing the best of what makes us human to the table: Spontaneity, emotional interaction, human interplay and ‘riffing’. And when smart, engaged people are paired with facilitation excellence, magic can happen.
Online interaction – (Different Time) – or what I call asynchronous engagement – excels at longer running interaction where ‘threads’ play out over time; where ideas and points of view – again if properly and effectively moderated – create an audit trail of the emerging themes and allow for more thoughtful participation.
Crowdsourcing approaches can create moments of exciting and thoughtful, open interaction and can be combined with private collaboration that can allow smaller subsets of the crowd to work more intensely to drill into the details. The online research & insight activity essential for innovation can be very flexible: as new trends emerge from the digital discourse, new themes of deeper exploration can be injected in real time – both qualitatively and quantitatively.
When they are paired and integrated it forms what I call the Rhythm of Innovation. It works something like this: Online “crowdsourcing” is used to build a trusted place for “digital discourse”. Themes are explored and emerge. These themes create focus and agenda for future discussions and provide insight for next steps. Ideally the crowd shapes future agenda for more intensive synchronous discussions.
“Same time” meetings (doesn’t have to be “same place”) are then driven from a set of well-travelled discussion items. Participants – sometimes sub-sets or segments of the larger crowd – are able to get out from behind the keyboard and be able to start with the canvas partially filled in. The best of human interaction takes place: increased intensity, focus, social, engagement, group activities. Etc.
The best part comes as the asynchronous online world “picks up the ball” after a real-time event. Action items are explored and reviewed. Ideation and co-creation of ideas are informed by deeper human understanding and the benefit of focus. The “emotional quotient” of the participants vis-à-vis others is significant higher; the ‘crowd’ is no longer anonymous, social cues are much clearer and online “authenticity” begins.
And the cycle repeats.
This rhythm is working well in some my largest clients as the line between offline and online discourse blurs and each begin to inform the other.
When thinking of innovation, think of this new “rhythm”; with the crowd and the human face-to-face worlds combining to form a powerful continuum.