A Good Man in the Storm: Lessons from Innovation Management

Image 1 of 1

Each member of the MAIM Class of 2016 proposes their individual perspectives on innovation management in the lead up to their Degree Show “Through the Kaleidoscope: Perspectives on Innovation Management”. In this post, Ivette shares her perspective on how to embrace uncertainty.

A Good Man in the Storm


Leski (2015) and Holmes (2014) compare the creative process to a storm. The storm gathers from what appears to be nothing building up from disturbance, clustering energy and resources, being shaped by different iterations, making the energy greater than any single iteration.


As an Innovation Manager I’ve come to realise that the key to innovation lies in the capacity to let the journey lead the process, because the process is always changing. The more the process changes, the more it challenges the different interactions in turn creating more opportunities to reshape the strategy.



The Ability to Affect and be Affected by the Storm


It is by the organic self-production of multiple new beginnings that strategies become more empathetic with the process. Innovation Managers need to allow themselves to enjoy the chaos of interacting with the whole, as it is only by connecting parts to the whole that curiosity arises in order to make sense of unexpected perspectives.  Doubt radiates a sense of wholesomeness, as it constantly challenges a state of curiosity which induces an ever-ending process of discovering always one new opportunity to bring forward. It is by the self-production of multiple beginnings that the strategy becomes more empathetic with the process.


Curiosity unveils an unlearning-experience,  as it implies stepping outside of pre-conceived perceptions so that the mind opens up to view the world with other lenses. Unlearning translates into a different view of learning [or a different word for failing], as it questions things that are known to be certain and leads to the discovery of new meanings. It is the ability to find non-obvious ways to manage the invisible that will support the creation of new perceptions.


To make sense of uncertainty Innovation Managers experience the actions of failing, doubting and unlearning, it is by these actions that Innovation Managers are able to manage the constant flux of the Digital Era, managing unexpected situations and welcoming disruptions without feeling as if disruptions are getting in the way of the process.



Beyond Radical Innovation of Meanings


As an Innovation Manager I support the strategy of design driven innovation  as it supports the creation of radical innovation of meanings by proposing a breakthrough vision and discarding a user-centered approach.


Verganti (2009) argues that the core strategies used through a design driven innovation process are: ‘a quantum leap in products performances enabled by breakthrough technologies and improved product solutions enabled by better analysis of users’ needs’ (Verganti, R.; 2009; p.4). However, I would argue that the strategy of a design driven innovation process should be the combination of radical leaps in technologies supported by an anticipated vision of foreseen possibilities of how the future should be, situating curiosity and empathy as the main drivers in the anticipation of user expectations.
I would like to believe that Innovation Managers have the superpower to manage the invisible.



Stay tuned for the upcoming MAIM 2016 Degree Show, taking place at Central Saint Martins from 22 to 26 June 2016.