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I always show a particular interest in statements claiming to have identified a relevant driver of innovation change, to think through and see if they are as applicable to my own situation. Often they are but the underlying force sometimes needs to be seen differently to incorporate this ‘driver’ into your innovation activities and thinking.

I try to constantly work around nine drivers of innovation change.

I periodically work through each of these and see if anything has changed or the fact I am focusing on this specific driver I can see a different angle or opportunity.

Let me share my nine drivers, if you think of any ‘generic’ drivers let me know. These are my drivers for innovation change:

1. Emotional Drivers - as we learn, dream, create and get into a ‘freer’ spirit it 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 to drive something within my innovation activities or not?

2. Social Drivers - The more we seek interactions, they become (or should become) meaningful and enduring. These connections allow us to think and relate. As we seek out others accomplishments does this trigger ideas, principles or actions that we can apply in what we are doing, so as to offer something that meets desires, aspirations, prompts dialogues and more caring and sharing. Drivers that make us more socially relevant.

3. 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 that moves us to better, clearer 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 all driven by an explosion of data and fuelling a new era of innovation, if you can harness its application by finding the needle of useful innovation insights in the binary haystack. These technology drivers need to have a real focus for their meaning to your business.

4. Environment Drivers - these become critical. The more we encourage the right environment the more we create a culture that others can relate too, a climate that encourages, a determination of bringing in diversity, collaborative and distinct behavioural patterns that encourages others to join in, to relate and participate. A welcoming environment can drive growing awareness, trust and shared understanding. A very powerful set of innovation drivers if the Environment is right.

5. 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 - its actual utilization and assimilation that makes up both tacit and explicit outcomes. We also need to keep focused on time related activities, speed of innovation to market as well as project deliverables. Measures can drive change if they are well thought through and connected, both into the business needs, but more importantly into an individual's understanding of its relevance.

6. Marketplace Drivers - Today it is all about speed and pace, accessing the changing conditions and pressures coming from the marketplace. The 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, 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.

7. 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, the more we practice looking ahead, looking back we can reveal much more in our designs. Fashions and traditions, how we work today, worked in the past - and how differently in the future - will influence much in our innovation thinking. We need to look for flows and barriers, make different combinations of potential richness and innovation promise, we need to focus on function and form far more, that more human centred need and always look for improving the ‘degrees of freedom’. This chase for freedom is pushing for reduction in complexity, in conflicting signals, in getting something to work easier along that ‘one click’ concept away from making the transaction.

8. 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.

9. 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. That drive to transform intelligence into tangible outcomes is so important to yield fresh value and lead to improved commercial outcomes. Sadly it is often underappreciated and not allowed ‘it’s’ right amount of digesting time to allow all the connections to be made to piece together something completely different and potentially valuable in new innovations. 

To look around these drivers of change can yield very different thinking, prompt different actions and produce different innovation results.

So have you got any drivers you feel are well worth constantly working through? Let us know.

Going for a drive around each of these regularly keeps the innovation engine in much better shape to accelerate away with better innovation outcomes.

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Paul Hobcraft

Paul Hobcraft

Paul Hobcraft researches and works across innovation, looking to develop novel innovation solutions and frameworks where appropriate. He provides possible answers to many issues associated with innov