Building bridges between stocks and flows

Lavertezzo ponte dei saltiI really enjoyed this thinking about stocks and flows that are necessary.

Let me share the part that works really well for me. This relates to approaching social media but it equally applies to building innovation capital, it is recognizing and then building the stock and the flows around innovation.

Robin Sloan does a brilliant job of explaining this:

“One of the biggest takeaways was the concept of stock and flow. Do you know about this? Couldn’t be simpler, and really, it’s not even that much of an a-ha.

There are two kinds of quantities in the world. Stock is a static value: money in the bank, or trees in the forest. Flow is a rate of change: fifteen dollars an hour, or three thousand toothpicks a day. Easy – too easy.

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Organizational legacy often chokes innovation

Legacy often chokes new innovation

Legacy often chokes new innovation

Often organizations are weighed down by legacy; it chokes off innovation and much of the potential creativity. This comes in many forms; in its culture, in its history, its core markets or products, in its systems, structures and processes built around innovation practice.

Today, we are confronted with a very different global market place than in the last century. National borders and regulations built to protect those that are ‘within’ in the past have rapidly become a major part of the ‘containing- restraining’ factors that are rendering many previously well-respected organizations as heading towards being obsolete and not in tune with today’s different world where global sourcing determines much.

They are increasingly trapped in declining markets, starved of the new capabilities and capacities to grow a business beyond ‘traditional’ borders, so this means they are unable to take up the new challenges that are confronting them. They see themselves as reliant on hanging on to the existing situation as long as they can, often powerless to make the necessary shifts, failing to open up, finding it increasingly more than difficult to find the ways of letting go, of changing. They are trapped in legacy.

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Innovation tension lies in our layers and structures

Reduce the tension in the layers or structures for innovation to emerge.

A really hard part of managing in larger organizations is in managing the layers and competing forces. Hierarchy dominates the speed of what we do.

The tensions surrounding innovation

The tensions surrounding innovation

Often we forget to reinforce the very design within our organizational structures, we leave role structures incomplete and uncertain and we set the deliverables in often ‘woolly’ ways so we can side step the often intransigence within our organizations way of working . This just further promotes uncertainly and it is not an adaptive organization but one left open so the leadership can side step when it suites their purpose.

In leaving this so open to ignoring one minute, using it as the ‘whipping boy’ the next they slowly immobilize those underneath. These create unnatural built-in tensions and often create a shearing effect.

They grind against each other, like tectonic plates that force further disruption and upheaval.

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Layers that shear against each other are full of tension.

IFD Tension

“Slow constrains quick, slow controls quick”

There is so much built in tension, bias, barriers, mindsets, mental model conflicts, and all types of friction seemingly going on around us, you must sometimes think all our organizations can only be totally dysfunctional.

IFD The Scream
The Scream by Edvard Munch
for Dysfunctional Organizations

Has anyone not come across some or all of these?

Dysfunctional leadership symptoms and those typical warning signs of dictatorial leadership, no feedback on performance, personal agendas, more ‘political’ compensation than ‘performance related ones, inefficient use of resources, empire-building practices, unequal workload distribution, too much management, fragmented organization efforts. There is simply just too much talk, ineffective  and incessant meetings, a lack of collaboration across departments, ‘selective’ low productivity when you are working way beyond the normal, feeling in a constant crisis mode, watching a morale deterioration take place before your eyes, the,  backstabbing, starving projects of essential resources and finally, working in highly stressful workplaces.

A pretty depressing list isn’t it? I’m sure you can think of a few more besides.

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How do you see your innovation journey?

Two people could be standing up on the mountain, looking out across the same landscape but see the journey in different ways.

The question is how do you see the journey to achieve innovation fitness through two different ‘cloud’ maps

Your journey to innovation fitness-view one

Or do you see this journey totally differently, not what it needs to cover but the route and challenges it will need to work out?

The alternative possible view of your innovation fitness journey

Irrespective the terrain can look rugged and challenging. Are you ready to begin your journey?

the Pathway Curve Methodology

IFD Pathway Curve 1

By taking a more systematic approach to any innovation you achieve a greater understanding over time of what is involved.

Firstly you have to ask what you are trying to achieve, is it incremental innovation, distinctive, disruptive or even radical white space innovation? Do you approach innovation differently for each of these? I would argue you need to learn and build from one to another as you learn on the way, this is my going up a curve that increases in complexity and its scope/ outcome.

How do we embed innovation in all its forms needs what I feel is a unique approach that I have called the Pathway Curve Methodology

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