3. Innovation (Divergent thinking)
Key Practice Specialties and Communities for Adaptive Foresight
- Alternatives & Scenarios – Association of Professional Futurists (APF). Since 2002. Our leading strategic foresight practitioner community. Good business focus. Regular Gatherings. This community is particularly oriented to both exploring possible futures (alternatives & scenarios) and envisioning preferable futures (facilitation, stakeholder analysis, etc.). They are less focused, at present, on forecasting, prediction markets, and other methods of describing probable futures.
- Entrepreneurship & Intrapreneurship – Founder Institute (FI). Since 2009. Teaching founders to do internal or external startups. Also Lean Startup Circles. Since 2009. Communities to implement Eric Ries’ Lean Startup; Intrapreneurship is a specialty that facilitates disrupting one’s current product and service mix from within, creating ideal environments for self-funded startups and spinouts. It gets harder the larger the firm, and is a specialty that deserves its own professional association. It doesn’t yet have one, but the Intrapreneurship Conference is a step in that direction. See Owens and Fernandez’s The Lean Enterprise: How Corps Can Innovate Like Startups (2014) for key intrapreneurship practice tips.
- Facilitation & Gaming – International Association of Facilitators (IAF). Since 1994. Group processes, participatory environments, consensus facilitation, conflict resolution, KM. Offer certified professional facilitator programs and IAF endorsed training programs. Members in 65 countries. IAFNAC is annual North American conference; North American Simulation and Gaming Association (NASAGA). Game-based simulation and learning. Physical and digital “serious games”, strategy games, wargames, gamestorming. Annual conference.
- Ideation & Design – There is no professional association yet for Ideation Management, a critical precursor process to innovation, involving articulating, sizing, and prioritizing customer and firm problems, incentivizing solutions (with prizes, bounties, tournaments, reputation, culture), and refining and prioritizing the best ideas. Fortunately there are now several good Idea Management/Evaluation Platforms, and some large online technical solver communities like InnoCentive. See Terwiesch and Ulrich’s Innovation Tournaments (2009), for good practices. A partly-related community is the American Creativity Association (ACA). Since 1990. Creativity, problem solving, ideation theory, tools, methods. They run an Annual Conference. Non-associated journals: Creativity Research Journal and Journal of Creative Behavior; AIGA: The Professional Association for Design (AIGA). Since 1914. Product, service, and environmental design is another key foresight speciality, focused on creating better futures, typically in a hands on, iterative manner. Annual Design Competitions, Chapters, Student Groups, Professional Dev. Non-associated magazine: Wallpaper.
- Innovation & Research & Development – International Society of Professional Innovation Mgmt (ISPIM). Since 1983. R&D leaders, industrialists, institutions, and consultants in innovation mgmt. Runs Regional ISPIM Conferences. Publishes Internat’l Journal of Innovation Management; Research and Development Management Association (RADMA). RADMA presently does not offer a conference. Publish the academic and business journal R&D Management.
Key Innovation-Associated Practitioner Methods
Collective inquiry into past or current best events, practices in a group, to better imagine what could be.
Uncritical group idea generation (“quantity over quality”), usually followed later by critical methods.
Imagining achievable positive outcomes in detail, and strategies and actions that will help them occur.
Cross Impact Analysis
Creation of a matrix of future-relevant variables, exploration of how the variables may affect each other.
Innovation methods designers use to improve user empathy, design creativity, and problem-solution fit.
Typically 15 or fewer subject matter experts tasked to generate ideas, analyze options, or give feedback.
Graphical mapping of direct and indirect consequences of a particular process, change or event.
Ideation Management Platforms
Software platforms designed to elicit, compare, and refine actionable ideas in a variety of categories.
Six thinking modes helpful to facilitate group & individ. idea generation and critique (Edward De Bono).
User Experience Design
Innovations and experiments to improve usability, ease, and enjoyment of the product by customers.
Ethnographic foresight practice framework that shifts focus from the drivers to the impacts of change.