The following is an outline of how to establish, maintain and quantify the benefits of innovation/motivation consistent with corporate America in the 21st Century.
Step one is to make innovation/motivation a management priority. And making innovation/motivation a priority is not the same as making it happen.
The difficult challenge for most organizations is how to turn all that rhetoric into hard-nosed, revenue growing reality---not just by making small tweaks here and there but by producing a constant stream of breakthrough innovations that compound over time to build a formidable competitive advantage.
The key objective of all of this is to help every single employee think outside the traditional “box” and imagine exciting, customer-relevant solutions that create new wealth for the company.
To accomplish this mission, Calm Seas Consulting has established a step by step plan which follows. We have also developed focused sets of “Diagnostic Questions” and “Innovation Challenges and Leadership Imperatives.” These elements are intended to help the client assess its own situation, jump-start the organization’s innovation engines and facilitate progress on actually making innovation/motivation a core competence.

First and foremost, innovation/motivation must be instilled as a core competence within the organization. This will be a broad-based effort over several years. This process will involve major changes to leader accountability and development, cultural values, resource allocation, knowledge management, rewards and recognition systems, traditional hierarchies, measurement and reporting systems, and a whole host of other management practices and policies.

The steps:
• The appointment of vice presidents of innovation at both the state and regional level.
• The creation of large, cross-functional “innovation teams” in each region employed solely in the search for breakthrough ideas.
• The introduction of a company-wide training program aimed at developing and distributing the mindset and skills of innovation.
• The appointment of part-time “innovation mentors” and full time “innovation consultants” who act as highly skilled advisers to new project development teams throughout the company.
• The creation of “innovation boards” in each region and in each major business unit, made up of senior staff who meet monthly, not just to review ideas and projects, set goals, and allocate resources, but to oversee the continuing innovation/motivation capability-building process.
• The organization of big communication events called “Innovation Days” where innovation teams showcase their ideas to other employees, the media and even Wall Street analysts. Sometimes these events are held in a venue where we can collect feedback and additional ideas from salon owners and stylists--- feature “Oscars” for the best implemented ideas.
• The creation of a comprehensive set of metrics to continually measure the company’s innovation performance as well as its progress in embedding innovation as a core competence.
• The establishment of a sophisticated IT infrastructure called “Innovation E-Space”, which integrates all of the company’s people into the innovation/motivation activities across the corporation.
• Virtual, online “ping-pong” competitions---held regularly and judged b y one of the company’s innovation experts---in which people “bat” exciting ideas back and forth across the organization, improving them as they go.
Our outcome will be a stream of breakthrough ideas for product delivery and customer service coming from all over the organization---ideas that deliver value to customers in ways never before seen either at the company or in the industry.
Furthermore, this will produce a steep upturn in annual revenues.
Step two is a set of design rules for enlarging and enhancing the company’s innovation/motivation pipeline. This is where Calm Seas Consulting installs market proven methodologies for dramatically improving client company’s ideation efforts and for innovating across every aspect of the business model.
To accomplish step two, we must create “Preconditions for Innovation”. There are three critical preconditions for making breakthroughs happen:

• CREATING BANDWIDTH

The company must create a culture where employees are given time to imagine and experiment and develop their own ideas…..THIS IS THE FIRST COMMANDMENT OF INNOVATION. A number of people from all geographic regions of the company will be selected to learn about and apply an innovation process that will later be scaled across the company. They will work together to develop a rich foundation of strategic market insights that can inspire radical new thinking and new growth fueled by innovation/motivation. They will be taught to efficiently generate hundreds of ideas, how to apply discipline and judgment to the process of selecting the most important ideas, how to shape these growth opportunities into compelling business plans, and how to take their plans to market creating financial value.
These people will be taken out of their normal everyday jobs for four hours a week and are not to be “spare” employees who nobody wants. While no specific amount of time is “carved in stone” 10 to 15% of discretionary time is required.
Top management must realize that in order to build a critical mass of skilled innovators, as well as a foundation of truly novel strategic insights, it will need to commit a lot of bandwidth in the innovation challenge right at the beginning.
Remember, the goal is to unleash the imagination of employees across the organization and create a slew of new innovation opportunities.

• MAXIMIZING DIVERSITY

The Calm Seas Consulting mechanism for assembling teams for building innovation insights and new opportunities ensures we get a group of individuals whose thinking is as diverse as possible. We want:
• People who are divergent thinkers and people who are convergent thinkers. (those who think there can be several answers vs. those who think there is only one answer.)
• People who are more analytical and people who are more creative.
• People who are close to the head office and people who work farther away.
• People who are younger and people who are older.
• People with a lot of experience and people with a lot of imagination.
• People who understand technology and people who understand people.
• People from inside the firm and people from outside the firm.
This is going to require a degree of humility on the part of top management because it essentially means that senior executives will have to give up the old, elitist view about who is responsible for the destiny and direction of the organization and start involving many new and different voices in the process of charting the company’s future.
The bottom line is, these diverse groups of problem solvers consistently outperform groups of the best and the brightest. Innovation/motivation depends as much on collective difference as on aggregate ability. Different individuals look at a given problem from different perspectives---and they try to solve it in different ways. The more diverse the perspectives and the approaches to problem solving in a group, the more new thinking is brought to a problem.
The best ideas will come from the people who are furthest removed from the President’s office---those line-level employees who interact with customers each and every day.

• CONNECTION AND CONVERSATION
One of the greatest myths about innovation/motivation, is that breakthrough ideas are produced solely by intuitive individuals or by small creative teams working in isolation. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
Whether it’s Thomas Edison, Ted Turner, or Steve Jobs, these leaders came to important new insights because they embedded themselves in a vibrant web of connection and conversation. Their big ideas were built by interacting and networking with a rich and diverse community of people; they were not exclusively the product of their own intellectual brilliance.
Put plainly, the essence of innovation is “creative collision.” Radical innovations happen when there is interplay of different ideas and domains that don’t usually belong together. And the only way to create that interplay is through connectivity and conversation. Quite simply, the more connections a company makes between individuals and their ideas, the greater the number of possibilities for combinational chemistry.
We at Calm Seas Consulting feel companies not only need to include new voices in the innovation/motivation and strategy-making process, they also need to connect those voices in new ways. Here are the four ways to think about maximizing connections we suggest:

1. Rethink the organization chart
The notion that it is impossible or even dangerous to innovate/motivate a company’s core business is outdated, though it has been that way for decades.
Making innovation/motivation a pervasive and corporate-wide capability calls for new structures that actively foster cross-boundary interaction and that distribute the responsibility and expertise for innovation/motivation throughout the company.
DIAGNOSTIC QUESTIONS……
Do we have a management infrastructure for innovation/motivation that spreads the responsibility through every level of the organization and involves everyone in the company?
Which steps have been taken in the last year to maximize cross-boundary interaction and to encourage previously unconnected groups to trade ideas and competencies?
What are we doing to facilitate direct, person-to-person communication across the organization rather than up and down traditional chains of command?

2. Create an open market for ideas
In most companies, new ideas are in short supply---stifled by a corporate climate that cuts off intellectual oxygen, discourages change, and demands conformity. In those environments, new ideas are attacked like a threat to lives of everyone on the planet. The answer is companies that want to get serious about innovation/motivation have to break the monopoly that closes off the executive suite from new ideas percolating in other corners of the company. To encourage innovation/motivation, a culture must be created where anyone---from anywhere in the organization---can voice an idea and, if it’s an interesting one, obtain fast, easy access to capital and talent for pushing that idea forward.

DIAGNOSTIC QUESTIONS…..
Is our company building an “innovation democracy” where ideas really can come from anyone and anywhere, both inside and outside the company?
Have we changed our management systems and processes to create an open market for ideas, based on the understanding that there are potential innovators everywhere in the company?
Does our management truly believe deep down, that “ordinary” employees can be a source of extraordinary innovation?
What have we done to communicate---both in word and in deed---that everyone at all levels is expected to innovate?
If a person or a group comes up with an idea, how easy or difficult is it for them to get access to funding and top management support?
What have we done in the past twelve months to engage the imagination, know-how, and resources of people outside our organization?

3. Utilize the Internet to harness imagination
Usually, corporate IT infrastructures end up being sterile tools that do nothing more than generate EXPLICIT knowledge. They usually don’t play much of a useful role in facilitating the kind of cross-boundary interaction that creates NEW knowledge. Target company must learn to use IT as a company-wide operating system for innovation/motivation, engaging hundreds of people throughout the company----and thousands of people beyond it---in a system wide, twenty-four-hour, innovation/motivation focused dialogue. They must learn to utilize the Web not just to tap the insights, expertise, creativity, and passion of countless minds, but also to harness the combinational possibilities of all those minds networked together and interacting with one another.

DIAGNOSTIC QUESTIONS….
Has the company created any new forums for cross corporate, innovation-focused dialogue/conversation in the past twenty-four months?
Are we using our IT infrastructures to distribute the responsibility for generating new ideas throughout the organization and beyond its walls?
Does it teach people how to stretch their thinking, and show them how to initiate an innovation project?
Could we describe our Intranet as an electronic marketplace that brings ideas, capital, and talent together?
Are our people connected with a rich community of internal/external experts who can quickly help them solve innovation/motivation challenges?
Are we making proper use of Web-based opportunities for testing new ideas in the market and gauging direct customer feedback?
Are we using our IT infrastructure to help “unstick” opportunities and rekindle projects that seem to be going nowhere?

4. Make more time for face time

To help the company foster innovation/motivation, they should begin organizing regular opportunities for large, diverse groups of people to meet face-to-face, share insights, and generate ideas together in an experiential setting. These kinds of events not only help to harness the imagination of many constituencies that are usually disenfranchised from the innovation/motivation process, but also create an appetite and an enthusiasm for innovation/motivation that can be highly infectious.

DIAGNOSTIC QUESTIONS
Within the past 12 months, has every employee had the opportunity to participate in some organized innovation process?
How often does my company/division/business unit organize large, face-to-face events for knowledge sharing and collaborative ideation?
When was the last time we invited hundreds or even thousands of our people to participate in a “live” conversation on innovation/motivation and future strategy?
Is this all there is to it? No!
You can bring diverse people together, you can give them time and space, you can have them connect and converse, and hope that they produce some new ideas. But if those people are starting with the same old data, the same old orthodoxies (or ideas about what is correct thinking), and the same old perspectives, you will never get anything very radical coming out of the other end.
Asking people to innovate/motivate in a breakthrough way without first building a foundation of novel strategic insights is mostly a waste of time.
The fact is that in order to discover new and unexploited opportunities of any real value, people need to stretch their thinking beyond the conventional. They need to develop fresh perspectives. They need to dig deep to discover insights that others have overlooked or ignored. They need to learn to look at the world, at their industry, at their customers and at themselves through a very different set of lenses. That’s what Calm Seas Consulting is prepared to bring about.

INNOVATION CHALLENGES AND LEADERSHIP IMPERATIVES

THE INNOVATION CHALLENGE
Have you reached the stage at which many or all of the employees believe that innovation/motivation is part of their job?

LEADERSHIP IMPERATIVES
• Ensure that all managers---or at least those under your direction---have an explicit, measurable innovation/motivation goal as part of their annual performance.
• Put mechanisms in place to provide time for employees to innovate/motivate. Hold managers accountable for helping employees find time during their normal work hours for innovation/motivation.
• Create an organizational Infrastructure that spreads innovation/motivation responsibility through every level and every department.
• Make innovation/motivation training a priority. Create the programs to teach everyone the skills and tools of innovation/motivation. Recruit the veterans of these programs as teachers and mentors for new innovators.

THE INNOVATION CHALLENGE
Are you taking full advantage of the diverse talents of your internal organization---and the broader markets in which you compete?

LEADERSHIP IMPERATIVES
• When you are organizing a formal or ad hoc innovation effort, consciously staff the team with a genetically diverse group of people---different backgrounds, organizational levels and work experiences.
• Provide mechanisms, both virtual and face-to-face, to solicit ideas from anywhere, both inside and outside the company.
• Deploy simple IT-based tools and platforms, making it easier to broaden your pool of potential innovators.
• Create or extend a network of external innovators---relevant to your key strategic challenges.
DISCOVERY LENSES
At Calm Seas Consulting we have found that time and time again, innovation/motivation has come not from some inherent, individual brilliance but from looking at the world from a fresh perspective---if you will, through a different set of “lenses.” It comes from an alternative way of seeing things: a particular angle of view that enables the innovators to look through the familiar and spot the unseen.
Four essential perspectives---four “perceptual lenses”---seem to dominate most successful innovation stories and often characterize the entrepreneurs or companies behind them.
In case after case, we find that the innovators came to their insights by:
***THE FIRST LENSE OF INNOVATION***
1. Challenging orthodoxies: Questioning deeply held dogmas inside companies and inside industries about what drives success. (employees should have drills questioning the way business is done in all areas). For example: “What is that piece of conventional thinking---that everybody in the industry has accepted as absolute gospel---now let’s turn it on its head.” Or “What do we do that we’ve always done that doesn’t serve us anymore?”
Remember, innovators are people who are willing to challenge industry orthodoxies that are so big, so uncontestable, and so deeply embedded that they have become beyond discussion---orthodoxies that blind industry incumbents to the possibility of any other business model. Time and again, the strategy innovations that radically change customer expectations, or competitive rules, or industry structures, come from questioning beliefs that everyone else has taken for granted.
• Orthodoxies are not necessarily wrong or bad by definition.
• Orthodoxies are about mind-sets. They tend to become embedded in the way a company or industry does business, forming the dominant logic about the “right” way to compete, price, organize, market, and develop products and services.
• The problem starts when their usefulness has eroded and they start to stifle rather than foster progress. Orthodoxies are potentially limiting if a company cannot see beyond or around them. If left unchallenged, they may blind the organization to new opportunities for creating wealth. In too many cases, success turns “one way” of doing business into “the way,” at least in the minds of senior executives---and this opens opportunities for innovative challenges.

QUESTIONS TO EMPLOYEES:
a. (GOAL)---Find the dogmas
Name some common assumptions in our business model such as “This particular customer group is the key segment” or other believes about “value proposition, supply chain, product configuration, pricing, marketing/strategy”, and so on. Then ask why do these commonalities exist? Are they because of some fundamental law of economics? Or are we simply hostage to the same deeply entrenched beliefs? Ask them to think about what would happen if they reversed these common assumptions and industry strategies? Ask them to imagine alternative ways of doing things and what new opportunities would present themselves as well as how would our customers benefit?
b. (GOAL)---Find the absurdities
Ask employees….What are the things that this company or others in our industry do out of habit everyday that are absurd when see through the eyes of our customers.
What are some of the annoyances, frustrations and inconveniences that are being forced on our customers for the sake of the company’s own convenience? (No matter how small!!!)

c. (GOAL)---Going to extremes
Ask employees to look at any performance parameter like, say, price, efficiency or speed of services and then ask them “What would happen if they dramatically improved it?” Ask them to consider how they might change that parameter now by 1 time or 10 times better but by 50 or 100 times better. Ask them how that would benefit their customers.
d. (GOAL)---Searching for the “and”
Ask employees to name situations where the customer faces a trade off and think about how to resolve it. Quite often, customers are told that they can either have this or have that---but they can’t have both. Ask employees, “What if they found a way to give customers both tings at the same time?” “What would happen if you turned an either/or into an ‘and’”?
This Calms Seas Consulting exercise teaches employees that whenever they hear the word “or”…it’s an invitation to innovate.
***THE SECOND LENSE OF INNOVATION***
2. Harnessing discontinuities: Spotting unnoticed patterns of trends that could substantially change the rules of the game. The goal of the second lens is to recognize patterns of change ( at the intersection of technological change, socio-demographic change, political change, economic change, lifestyle change, etc.) that could drastically alter the current rules of competition and potentially create new opportunities---if you act on them before others do.
a. Looking where competitors are not.
Ask employees: Where could we go to get some firsthand experience of technological changes, lifestyle changes, socio-demographic changes and so forth? Where could we go to get those inspiring bursts of insight that trigger innovative new ideas? (The only way to get them is by personally experiencing new and inspiring things in out-of-the-ordinary places.)
b. Amplifying weak signals
Time and time again, what starts out as some seemingly insignificant development will eventually turn into a major discontinuity---one that threatens old business models and opens up opportunities for exciting new ones. However, instead of amplifying these “weak signals” and asking where they might lead, companies usually discount them. Their reasoning tends to be “Right now, it’s just this little, tiny thing, so why should we bother about it?”
What must be done is to take these incipient trends---these things that are changing in perhaps a very minor way at first---and exaggerate them, projecting them out into the future. With employees, we should play an imaginary game of “scale up,” asking employees, what would happen if a particular trend grew and became more important. What kind of difference would it make? What are the second- or third-order consequences of this trend? Who would be affected by these consequences?
The point is that, to some extend, a lot of developments are inevitable. They are clearly going to come. But the time to start figuring out where they are leading is at their beginning stages, not when they are already upon you and beginning to undermine your business.
c. Understand the context
When you spot a trend, or even just the beginnings of a trend, how can you tell whether it’s important or unimportant? How do you know whether it’s just a ripple in the ocean or the first sign of an oncoming tsunami?
Ask employees to step back, look at the trends we have outlined, in their historical context, and ask themselves, ‘Is this just a random event, or is it a tide of history?’ In other words, is this trend something superficial and isolated, or is it actually part of a development that has far greater magnitude and much broader implications?
d. Finding the interactions
One of the problems we all face today is information overload. There are simply too many things happening---too many different pieces of information---and we can’t see the connections between them.
Once we have built a list of trends pointed out by employees ask them “Do certain trends fit together in some way?” “Can you spot any emerging patterns, as well as the opportunities those patterns may create?” And ask them, “When this group of trends is put together, what is the bigger story that emerges? Does this set of trends point toward an inevitability?”

***THE THIRD LENSE OF INNOVATION***
Leveraging Competencies and Assets
The challenge is to get employees to view their company not as business units or organization charts, but as portfolios of competencies and strategic assets. Usually, it’s difficult to see things like skills, processes, technologies, assets and values as distinct, stand-alone entities because they are completely embedded in a company’s current business model. But radical innovators have the ability to separate particular skills and assets from the existing business and then leverage them in their own right to generate growth opportunities.
Let’s be clear:
A strategic asset is a corporate possession that is difficult to imitate, develop or acquire and that provides a basis for competitive advantage.
A core competence is a unique (or rate) bundle of skills, knowledge, and experience that delivers a valued customer benefit and competitive differentiation.
The ability to leverage competencies and strategic assets in new ways or new settings serves to multiply the profit-making potential of these resources.
Think of the whole world as a Lego kit of different competencies and strategic assets, owned by different companies, which can potentially be reconnected like building blocks or used in a new context to invent novel products, processes, services and business models. Understanding this, you can easily see how today’s start-up companies can effectively be born “full-size” by quickly and cheaply outsourcing everything from design, prototyping and manufacturing to logistics, billing sales and support.
Our first task with this lens is to try to re-conceive as a portfolio of embedded resources---core competencies and strategic assets---that can be recombined or leveraged in their own right to create wealth in interesting ways. This is not as easy as it sounds because most companies define themselves by what they do rather than what they know or what they own so one more time…by “core competencies” we mean things that a company knows how to do uniquely well---its skills and unique capabilities. By “strategic assets” we mean things that a company owns---brands, patents, infrastructure, customer database, proprietary standards and anything else that is both rare and valuable.
First have employees identify core competencies that:
• Create value for the customer
• Are unique or at least scare (at a minimum in our industry, and better yet, in the world)
• Are sustainable over a significant period of time
• Are important to the company’s position today
• Can be leveraged into new products, markets or businesses
Once the list is complete, carefully compare each of them with the five criteria for core competencies making sure you can state the evidence of why each meets the criteria. Our experience shows most companies really have only one to three thru core competencies.

Next, Identify company’s Strategic Assets
The basic five categories of strategic assets are:
• Input assets---Access to suppliers, supplier loyalty, financial capacity.
• Process assets---Proprietary technology, standards, functional expertise, infrastructure.
• Channel assets---Access to distributor loyalty, distribution networks.
• Customer assets---Customer information, customer loyalty, brand recognition
• Market knowledge assets---Understanding of customer, competitor and supplier behavior

Ask employees, using these five categories:
• What assets does our company possess that are rare, valuable to customers, transferable to new opportunities?
• Could we exploit our strategic assets in new ways to bring new value to customers?
• Could our strategic assets be valuable in other industry settings?
• Can we build new business models that exploit our existing strategic assets---that is, can we imagine alternate uses for our strategic assets?

These questions will help employees appreciate strategic assets that may so far have been underleveraged or simply taken for granted inside our company because they have never been considered in this context before. The aim of Calm Seas Consulting is to have employees identify a comprehensive list of strategic assets such as brands, patents, technologies and so forth that have the potential to be leveraged in new ways.

***THE FOURTH LENS OF INNOVATION***

Understanding Unarticulated Needs
This is the fourth lens that we must use to discover new insights---the ability to see or find an unmet need or a customer frustration that can serve as the basis for a new business opportunity.
As radical innovator/motivators we must be deeply empathetic…that is, we must understand---and feel---the unvoiced needs of our customers. We must bypass traditional market research methods and rely instead on “getting into the customer’s skin.”
We must recognize needs that customers don’t even know they have yet. Or we can solve some common frustration in a way that people could never have imagined---which is precisely why they are not articulating the need or asking for a specific product, service or business to address it.
Since we must understand our customers’ wants and needs, we need to remove the distance between ourselves and them. We need to immerse ourselves in their environment and make their needs, frustrations and desires our own. This means getting out of the office and into the field, using a variety of tools and techniques to drive new customer insights first-person---from observation and direct customer experiences---rather than relying on others to conduct research. We want to “become” the customer, to feel the customer’s experience, to identify and understand the customer’s problems and then look for ways to solve them.
To accomplish this we should use these three effective tools:
• Direct Observation: “Shadowing” the customer from multiple vantage points.
Have store managers ;
spend half a day with salespeople
spend half a day in a customer’s location
work the floor for half a day
Have salespeople;
Spend half a day in a customer’s location
Work the floor for half a day
Unpack the truck for half a day
Have store employees;
Spend half a day with a salesperson
Spend half a day in a customer’s location
Spend half a day unpacking the truck
Have warehouse employees;
Spend half a day with a salesperson
Spend half a day on the floor of a store
Spend half a day unpacking a truck
Spend half a day in a customer location

• Customer Experience Mapping

Let us look at the entire customer experience surrounding a particular product or service. Have employees ask themselves, what could be displacing or substituting for that product or service? Most of our customers are prisoners of their experiences (and their understanding of how a particular service or produce is usually delivered), so most of those customers would have a preconceived idea about what should be like. What we must do instead is to have employees map the entire customer experience—from the first need for product through to the final billing.
Do we find that, at several stages, our customers have significant needs, problems and frustrations?
So instead of looking at the whole experience in an abstract way, company is focusing on the realistic problems that certain customers face. Now we can begin to ask ourselves, how many of our customers are short on time----people whose lives are hectic and complex and for whom our services (and the way we provide them) cause even more chaos and disorder? What if we made their problem our problem? How could we show that we understand the customer’s time constraints by coordinating our activities around their lives---and around their schedule---rather than ours?

The third effective method to understand our customer’s unarticulated needs is:
• Analogies from other industries
Ask our employees to list the needs that other industries, products or businesses fulfill that our company has not yet been responsive to.
Are there examples in the ways other industries and markets are solving customer problems?
Could we use these analogies to create a more ideal customer experience in our own industry?
Here is what we must appreciate: we are never going to understand how to reinvent our client’s experience by looking at other hair care suppliers. Instead, we will have to look outside our industry to identify what we think are some of the very best customer experiences in life and then use these as examples for what our client can do differently.
Have employees search out really positive customer experiences and capture what they see or feel—using photos—videos—or cards where they can write down what makes the experience so special. Sometimes it will be just the little things.
Next have employees spend (time) as a customer. Have them call in to place an order for a product the store is out of. Have them ask for help in a substitute product (to experience what it’s like). (the point is to have them experience the negative feeling and record it or write it down.)
Finally, have the team members put up all their photos and cards and stories and ask themselves, How can we take what we’ve learned about creating these positive and negative feelings, and start making changes to the our company’s experience? What could we do to alleviate this particular negative and turn it into a positive?

THE DISCOVERY PROCESS
We have just listed the four specific types of strategic insights necessary to building game-changing ideas. These four kinds of insight (unexamined dogma, unexploited trends, underutilized competencies and assets and unvoiced customer needs) are the building blocks for innovation/motivation breakthroughs.
Many companies already invest money in accumulating insights of one sort or another, but they usually don’t invest enough in generating the right kinds of insights and all too often their insights are neither fresh nor differentiated. You can’t build a highly differentiated strategy---and this is the only kind of strategy that delivers above-average performance---with undifferentiated insights. Putting time, money and effort into building a foundation of truly new insights is the critical starting point for any innovation process.
Without these insights, an organization can run plenty of off-site brainstorming sessions but will probably find that they produce few, if any, game-changing ideas. Why? Because, despite a wealth of industry date, customer date, market research reports, technology road maps and trend surveys, their people will invariably end up addressing strategic issues from the same old perspectives.
The most effective way to start building a foundation of insights that can inspire breakthrough innovation/motivation is by engaging a core group of people representing a diagonal slice of the company. The group should actively involve people from all across the company reflecting the diversity of thinking we talked about earlier. From this core group, we will create four dedicated “discovery teams”---one for each lens or category of insights. This means we have one team focused on challenging orthodoxies, another on harnessing discontinuities, a third on leveraging competencies and assets and the fourth on understanding unarticulated needs.
Each team will then go off to do its own discovery work using one of these perceptual lenses---equipped with a specific set of tools we have developed for stretching their thinking, developing the right perspectives and spotting new, unexploited opportunities.
As the teams go out, it is very important they involve the rest of the organization too. This way we not only engage people through the company in the strategic innovation/motivation initiative, but we also tap into the collective wisdom of the organization about the orthodoxies that most deserve to be challenged, the trends that seem to have the most potential for industry upheaval, the competencies and strategic assets that could best be leveraged in new ways and the customer needs that are currently going unmet.
One of the ways we will make this happen is by sending out members of the “discovery teams” to talk to diagonal slices of the company for a few hours at a time, explain what they are trying to do and ask other people to contribute their views. The input that is captured in these sessions must be fed back to the rest of the team members to support them in the process of developing new insights.
At a later stage, when the discovery teams are distilling out those insights, they will also go back to test and validate them, making sure there is nothing important they might have missed.

The “discovery teams” should evaluate the quality of their potential insights and make a final selection using the following criteria:
• Does the insight allow us to see new opportunities and describe the strategic implications for disrupting or changing the rules of the game?
• Does each insight represent a unique point of view backed by documented learning (data, observations, interviews, secondary research)?
• Does the insight challenge convention and not merely restate the obvious?
• Is each insight articulated well (leaving no room for multiple conflicting interpretations)?
• Does each discovery team have a portfolio of insights? For example, do the “orthodoxy” team and the “discontinuity” team have insights across each element of the business model? Has the “competencies” team gathered insights that reflect latent, core and possible future competencies? Does the “customer insights” team have insights across the entire customer experience? Or across important target segments?
• Did the team step out of the comfort zone to generate this insight, or was the insight based on “outsourced” or “second-hand learning”?
After having made a final selection from the many suggestions, our four teams will now present a powerful collection of new strategic insights that can serve as the foundation for break-the-rules business innovation/motivation. These final findings are the DISCOVERY INSIGHTS.
They will typically fall into three categories:
• What was previously unknown…..” something we never saw before.”
• That which was previously underappreciated---“something we saw, but, frankly, we discounted it or didn’t do much about it, because it just didn’t seem important to us until now…”
• That which was previously underleveraged---“something we’ve been working on already and that we know is important…but wow, we ought to be really doing way more about it.”
These important insights are intended to broaden the perspectives of management and will later be fed into a companywide conversation on innovation/motivation and strategy with the aim of inspiring a mountain of new growth opportunities.
Ultimately what we want from the discovery phase is not jut a collection of insights but a common point of view. We want our discovery teams to be able to say, for example, “Here is what we believe to be:
a. The most important orthodoxies that the company can overturn
b. The discontinuities that have the most potential to upend our industry
c. The core competencies and strategic assets we can best leverage into new products, markets or businesses and
d. The most significant unmet needs of our customers and potential customers that we can address to create new value.
THE INNOVATION CHALLENGE
How do we create the fresh new insights that lead to game-changing innovations?

Leadership Imperatives
• Use the four perceptual lenses to expand your thinking in four new dimensions: challenging orthodoxies, harnessing discontinuities, leveraging competencies and strategic assets and understanding unarticulated needs.
• Make these four lenses the foundation of the company’s proprietary point of view on the future.
• Engage a broad cross section of company personnel in generating these insights and in validating them.

THE INNOVATION CHALLENGE
How do we know if we’re pushing our thinking---challenging our core beliefs?

Leadership Imperatives
• Analyze the market and competitive situation differently from the way you have done it in the past. Try to get different answers by asking different questions---using the four lenses of orthodoxies, discontinuities, competencies/assets and customer insights.
• Systematically challenge the way business is done within the company and in your industry. You may decide to preserve some of your existing practices, but you should do so knowingly and deliberately, rather than blindly on precedent.
• Include “outsiders” in your innovation/motivation process who can bring a fresh view to the table---one that is unbiased by industry conventions.
• Challenge yourself and others to create the richest set of focused discovery insights; have you described well the “unknown, the underappreciated and the underleveraged?”

Author's Bio: 

DEACON JODI MOSCONA

Deacon Jodi Moscona was born in New Orleans and attended Catholic schools. He graduated from St. Rose de Lima Elementary School and Brother Martin High School. He holds a BA degree in Political Science from the University of New Orleans and a Juris Doctorate from Loyola University of the South. He also holds a certificate from the Religious Studies Institute and a Diaconate Certificate from St. Joseph’s Seminary College at St. Benedict, Louisiana. He moved to Baton Rouge nearly 20 years ago where he currently lives with his wife Darlene and their daughter Alicia, a 2006 graduate of LSU.
Deacon Jodi and Darlene also have two sons, Brian a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Matthew a graduate of the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University. Brian lives in Atlanta and works at Holy Spirit Prep where he teaches and coaches. Matthew is a radio personality in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
After a two year assignment as Deacon Associate at the Christ the King Catholic Church and Student Center on the campus of Louisiana State University, Deacon Jodi has now been assigned to the same position at the Cathedral Church in Baton Rouge. In addition to his duties at the Cathedral, Deacon Jodi is a retreat master and part of the Manresa Retreat Team. Deacon Jodi has delivered retreats throughout Louisiana. Deacon Jodi has also authored many articles and has recently released his latest book Journeying on Holy Ground focusing on the need to set priorities in life to acheive successes.
Deacon Jodi has taught classes at all levels and is an adjunct professor. He is regularly invited as a guest speaker and lecturer. He has also counseled corporate executives in leadership for managers, ethics in the corporate world and innovation/motivation initiatives for the 21st century. He can be contacted at jmoscona@diobr.org