Agile innovation from stars to road

Taking ideas from the stars as innovation onto the road can feel like being stomped by a herd of elephants. It’s people and trade-offs. Well, even while we’re quite a reasonable lot most of the day, we still do a few quite stupid things. Especially if interests, values, and opinions clash. Here’s an agile way to innovate.

It seems (see Joey’s Journey) that fruitful collaboration is a real challenge in innovation projects. Thus instead of presenting a process with roles, tasks and artefacts, this article looks at the collaborative structure. These are the essentials: the speaker’s corner, the innovation circle, speed creation and agile development.

The essential collaboration structure from stars to road.
  • In the speaker’s corner anybody can pitch ideas and find a group of like-minded people. This starts the fan base needed for an idea to grow. Once the fans are here, they can form a group and take the idea from the stars into the clouds. They explore the problems and the possible solutions. Finally, they create a convincing pitch, e.g. based on NABC.
  • In the innovation circle, pitch the idea to experts and sponsors and let it compete with other ideas. Get feedback, assess the maturity and decide, whether to start development or do more exploration.
  • The speed creation starts development. The result: a formed team and a shared vision – agreed between team and the key stakeholders.
  • Agile developments starts and the team builds up the product from the bare necessities so it provides just enough to blast the market.

The message: don’t bother about roles, deliverables, templates, project plans, phases, and more if people are not working together effectively! Think about improving collaboration first. And it is quite a simple structure from the idea to the product: 1) find fans, 2) explore the idea, 3) let the idea compete with others and gain momentum, 4) build the development team and sharpen the business case, and then 5) develop just what it needs to be successful.

1 thought on “Agile innovation from stars to road

  1. I feel that there needs to be slight changes in the innovation circle once the innovation is in the clouds. I would expect to see some business heavyweights involved in the early stages, making Go/No-Go calls and making coarse budgetary decisions. These guys will drop out and assign delegates once the innovation is being developed towards the trees (if they don’t drop out they need to be “helped” in that direction).

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