Practical Applications

A Task-Oriented Tool

Innovation Styles® is a task-oriented tool designed to boost your success – as an individual, team, and organization. The Innovation Styles model provides it’s greatest benefit when you integrate it into your own approaches to solving day-to-day challenges, building innovative teams, or fostering an organization culture for innovation. You can integrate Innovation Styles into your own organization processes or innovation process model.

When applying Innovation Styles to practical applications, key questions focus the thinking: provocative questions that every person can relate to -questions that unlock innovative thinking whether or not a person has had any experience with the styles.

Conduct Strategic Planning

There are many approaches to strategic thinking: have a bold vision; build on what you know; change the rules; give your customers a choice. Each of these, by itself, represents only one kind of strategy. Using all four styles ensures that you generate a comprehensive, coherent, creative, strategy that can be widely accepted.

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Develop New Products and Services

Your industry climate can affect your strategy for developing new products and services. During an industry slump, your company might enhance its new product portfolios by using combinations of “off-the-shelf” technologies – an Experimenting approach. In better times, you might shift to product breakthroughs using a Visioning approach. With this awareness, you can emphasize the styles you need to excel under any conditions.

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Meet Your Customers' Needs

Innovative new products or services create change for the customers who buy them. The earliest adopters of innovation, who like the new and novel, are typically high in Exploring; the latest adopters, who like to build on what they know and trust, are typically high in Modifying. When you’re proposing a new product or service to your customer, if you speak their “language of change,” it’s more likely they will accept what you have to offer.

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Improve Quality and Productivity

The programs you launch to improve work processes can involve breakthrough change (Re-engineering) and incremental change (Total Quality, Kaizen). Re-engineering relies on Exploring and Visioning to revolutionize a work process. Total Quality and Kaizen rely on Modifying and Experimenting to refine and optimize work systems. You can employ all four styles to foster the right amount of change you want.

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Maximize Idea Generation

Thinking of the four styles as a “compass,” generating ideas while coming from only one direction will result in only one-fourth of the potential range of ideas. And the “nature” of those ideas will be limited as well. Using all four Innovation Styles will produce a more comprehensive as well as creative set of options.

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Organizing Teamwork

When you bring people together in teams to meet day-to-day challenges, they must establish strong relationships and the commitment to being innovative. Each style has a particular way of working within a team environment. By developing awareness and versatility with all four styles, you can optimize relationship synergy while maximizing creative interactions.

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Build Synergy Among Diverse People

When there are people in a group with very different profiles, this can be either an advantage or a hindrance to the group. A key to dynamic and successful group innovation is to include the key perspectives and questions of each style. Otherwise, the group becomes limited in its versatility and conflicts arise.

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Sell Proposals to Customers

New projects create change for the managers who approve them. New products create change for the customers who buy them. Whether you’re proposing a new project to your boss or a new product to your customer, remember: they approach change by their own mixture of Innovation Styles. When you speak their “language of change,” it’s more likely they’ll buy in to what you have to offer.

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Successfully Plan and Implement Organizational Change-Efforts

Changes in organizational culture and structure involve a cycle of breakthrough and incremental change. If an organizational change process is directed only by a “new vision of the future” (Visioning), people who best deal with change by Modifying or Experimenting may be disenfranchised. If the process is directed only by “improving current efficiency” (Modifying), it may not inspire the involvement of people who prefer Exploring and Visioning. For full participation in organizational change, use all four Innovation Styles.

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Manage Career Development

When people plan their careers, they are actually “innovating” with their professional lives, setting an all-important course for their future. Each style gives them a different perspective to consider. When establishing a system of career development within an organization, and coaching others on their careers, consider the impact of each of the Innovation Styles.

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