Bust to Dust, Ashes to flashes, Chickens igniting eggs!

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In this post, Matthew Nelson synthesis the art of Innovation Management through the mindset of the mythical Phoenix in the context of communication of communities. Leading up to the Degree Show, he shares his perspective on the Phoenix as Innovation Manager.

Unlike the mythological creature the Phoenix, who knows that when it is getting too old, it can regenerate to be newly reformed; innovation initiatives, especially within the start-up scene, do not come packaged with such magical assurance. No special formula will allow for anyone to become an instant start-up success. The recent increase in successful start-ups gives a false perception that they fail less often, however it is only the sheer increase in quantity of participants in the communities involved, which give rise to more success being shown.

The emerging role Innovation Management is paradoxical in nature. Management is best described as knowing when to use known procedures to deliver constantly quantifiable outcomes. However in contrast, innovation, which relies on creativity, is a journey of action with unknown destination, delivering something new. Common knowledge within innovation is that coming up with the NEW does not guarantee success and following existing procedures is doomed to follow existing failures.

The Phoenix is one mindset of an Innovation Manager, which navigates the art form of iterating alternatively between innovation and management mindsets. The Phoenix rotates between creativity and management, while understanding what to burn and what to keep. Like the empty egg in which the Phoenix collects its predecessor’s ashes for its next rebirth, an Innovation Manager needs to know what to gather and keep during the journey of redefining past stagnant ideas for future success.

This cyclic state creates tensions from uncertainty, based in biased memories of fear associated with past failures. Tension is formed when the unknown emerging innovation is miss communicated, building associations with failures of yesterday. This calls for the art of an Innovation Manager to change the meaning through reframing associations in new contexts-communicating evolving contexts, which allows innovation to emerge.

The conundrum of mindsets for the emerging role also creates continuous frictions between everyone holding stakes in new innovative projects.  It is up to Innovation Managers, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes and flying towards the sun, to use and exploit the brilliance of these frictions to trigger empowerment for those involved. This allows them to break free from doomed management processes and embrace uncertainty for the collective to collaborate and ignite innovation.

Communication is a key transgressive process, each iteration strengths meaning for members involved. Meaning can be redefined in any iteration, via changing the context it is communicated within. The art of understanding how to navigate and control communication between diverse collectives of people, helps facilitate the acceleration of association that leads to contribution, and congealing of innovative communities.

My research focuses on communication in context, alongside triggers of association, to create a fire in the hearts of followers allowing them to lead in innovation projects that can create value through stronger sense of membership. As an Innovation Manager acting within the mindset of the Phoenix, I plan to help facilitate an increase in the speed of these iterations of communication and navigate the context of best triggers of association, which can both empower audiences and motivate them like a contagious fire, increasing collective collaboration for innovation to emerge within community.

To learn more about the Phoenix and Matt’s research, stay tuned for the upcoming MAIM 2015 Degree Show, taking place at Central Saint Martins in the week starting on the 24th of June.