How do you manage your costs of uniformity?

The recent talks driven by experts on the necessity to revive creativity and multiplicity of ideas for a more sensible innovation has nicely outlined an approach that is critical to this blog: understanding the limits of uniformity and seeking to address them for more innovation. Our management report, “Diversity as a success story“, outlines a step by step approach to analyze such costs, as well as a holistic understanding of the social and economic threats implied by uniformity. Freeing ourselves from uniformity is not only a necessary condition to fully exploit our human creative value, it is critical to continuously nurture our innovation culture, and willingness to change. In the upcoming management report we will issue shortly, “Human centricity and systemic innovation”, we also discuss how this reverse engineering process is crucial to build knowledge networks focused on customers in entire organizations.

Understanding the limits of uniformity

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Economic and political trends have recently shown diversity and uniformity drive two faces of the same innovation coin: our ability or inability to jointly make sense of global and systemic issues and define collaborative solutions. Between inclusion and exclusion, our global innovation discussion tries to identify a clear limit between individualization of services and scales needed to sustain economic and business models. As a result, the imbalance generated by thinking frameworks developed through highly engaged yet limited online communities outlines the necessity for businesses and innovation makers to analyze the processes and ideas leading to lack of diversity and meaningful developments.

Through a thorough and holistic understanding of individual and group behaviors posing threats to creativity, management and operational teams can openly discuss the innovation environment they operate with. The idea is not to point to specific issues and assign responsibilities, it is rather to analyze how those unconscious or conscious roles affect the creativity value chain across the organization, and therefore to adapt processes and operations accordingly. After having scoped diversity styles and difference virtuous circles for their projects or their teams, innovation practitioners can use the cost of uniformity framework to draw tangible boundaries to their knowledge and creativity, and seek to overcome them through collaborative innovation.

How to assess your costs of uniformity

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The uniformity values identified in the analysis help understand the core behaviors to avoid if innovation wants to include diversity as a core value. Based on those human learnings and habits that have inspired automated and industrialized ways of working, it is possible to anticipate the frustration and lack of innovation that experts have already identified in numerous disrupted sectors and economic models. For instance, the costs of uniformity assessment for weareinnovation.org would read as follows:

  • Work: “The “SEO” bias to sense”

Developing and maintaining the size of our social communities requires a number of posts and publications to heighten visibility for readers, but also for algorithms and bots that participate to share our information. Although dedicating development and review time to manage the blog is crucial, the repeated share and communication on existing content has proved irrelevant as bots and algorithms, as well as individuals, may lose the human sense driving both analyses and overall value of our global story.

 

  • Win: “Too much emotions kill emotions”

An idea to stand out from the crowded innovation discussion built on the Internet was to concentrate on emotional drives behind innovation and issue regularly “inspiring” articles for change through success stories and storytelling. As a reverse effect from the “Work” value, this tendency leads the overall story to repeatedly share insights and views that necessarily abound on social networks, losing sense of the real business difficulties experts face in translating those values into tangible innovation ideas. Yes, there needs to be an inspiring story. But if it remains disconnected from innovation real issues, it certainly loses its credibility.

 

  • Sacrifice: “Where is this idea gone, again?”

Writing from and for innovation experts generates a myriad of new ideas in terms of format, content organization and production. Yet it is very easy to shy away and think there is no capability internally or externally to produce certain types of formats, such as videos or presentations.  Instead of trialling and focusing on the impression that specific formats are challenging to produce, it turned more inspiring to embed the development content of such formats within the content production model, and create interim stories that compile latest analyses shared.

 

  • Compete: “Is expertise in everything expertise in nothing?”

There is no official brand supporting this blog, not even a company or technology platform. The title, “We Are Innovation” stands as a reminder that we own a joined responsibility in developing technologies and ideas that affect us, as a global innovation community, as well as individuals evolving in different parts of the system we generate. Finding the right tone and voice to highlight this specific positioning, which also stands as a unique information provider value, is critical in developing further innovation stories that inspire change makers. 

 

  • Hide: “If you don’t know me, how can “we” be innovation?”

As a way to highlight experts’ views and discussions, I tend to hide the personal thoughts and critics that could arouse from my experience and knowledge. This is a dramatic mistake. Many other information blogs and platforms operate on a model similar to mine, that is sourcing information not only from social media but also combining sources with their own innovation expertise. My innovation expertise is specific, diverse and full of real life stories that can inspire other change makers. It only makes sense to further highlight my own thoughts by introducing a personal view in the opening comments of articles, bringing further variation and meaningful emotions to experts’ talks.

Following this cost of uniformity assessment, a plan to reverse engineer value towards diversity values can be developed to create meaningful and sensible innovation on the long term. By defining rules and boundaries which can evolve continuously based on projects and teams, individuals find the freedom and space they need to express their ideas and differences. As a result, innovation makes clearer sense to customers, developers, as well as internal and external sponsors. Read more in our management report: “Diversity as a success story“.

Don’t miss the upcoming issue of “Human centricity and systemic innovation”. Follow us on Gumroad to receive the link to the report as soon as it is published.

weareinnovation.org writes the innovation story that thousands of innovation experts around the world constantly develop and share on WAI social networks. Browse our knowledge library and read our management reports to learn more.

Photograph: Nirina Photography

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