Juice's Illustrated Point of View on Innovation - Innovation In A Box

Animated video about the Juice Innovation program
April 22, 2020

Explore a new way of thinking about innovation.

You know that old cliche that says you need to think out of the box to generate breakthrough solutions? Well, the evidence suggests otherwise.

Research shows that the use of a structured innovation approach allows an average group to produce 500% more useful ideas than a so-called creative group using conventional brainstorming.

Innovation in a Box produces breakthrough thinking. In effect, we give people a new box that provides structure, clarity and tools that will help them innovate effectively.

We agree with that old cliche when it suggests that we operate in boxes. But we'd argue that having a box is actually a good thing. Your box is a product of nature and nurture; your genes and your life. It provides you with structure, processes and tools that help you navigate the world.

In fact, successful organizations also have boxes. In Good to Great, Jim Collins says great companies are like hedgehogs, they have a singular focus, they're the best at what they do, and it works for them. In other words, they're great at operating in a profitable box.

Whether you're talking about individuals organizations, the problem comes when what's worked in the past is insufficient to deal with a current reality.

Illustrated Introduction to
Innovation In a Box

Start your Innovation in a Box journey with this graphically rich introduction to innovation, the i5 process and the practical tools that help you and your organization enable innovation. Take some time to flip through this comic book and let your ideas start flowing!

True innovation changes lives and fortunes.

We live in a world characterized by complexity and change. Change can be political, economic, environmental. It can be social, measured in individual behaviors, or broad demographic trends. Change is also driven by science and technology, evidenced in the flood of discoveries in physics, computing in the life sciences that are constantly transforming our lives. And we're compelled to respond, but are we really responding with innovation?

People have a tendency to freely swap the terms problem solving and innovation. But they're not the same thing. Problem solving is reactive: You see the problem, it requires action and you fire-fight. Innovation is proactive.

And while problem solving is necessary for survival and staying competitive. All it really does is maintain the status quo. It's easy to mistake this for innovation. But you don't actually get ahead of the curve when you're problem solving.

True innovation changes lives and fortunes. It’s future focused, it's opportunity seeking, it transcends the status quo. It's about leading instead of playing catch up.

Yet, while change is pushing us and the clear payoffs for real innovation should be exerting a powerful pull, breakthrough thinking is still rare. And the reason is simple:

Most people just don't have a clue what thinking out of the box actually means.

And whether we use those exact words or not. What is clear is we cast folks adrift. Now, I think we know better.

What's the number one thing employees need from their supervisors to ensure engagement and effectiveness? Clarity.

But clarity is absent from most innovation. And it gets worse - the lack of clarity, plus the pressure of creativity on demand, triggers a fight or flight response. Innovation requires openness and a flow of ideas. Instead, we push our people - and they push back or they simply shut down.

It's not enough to say “Think differently!”. If we expect people to think outside of their boxes, we need to provide them with a new box that gives them the support they need to be engaged and effective.

People & Process: Key To Achieving a 500% Increase in Useful Ideas

We know there are five attributes of highly creative individuals. In an unstructured environment, someone who is highly creative will produce a lot of ideas, a wide range of ideas, original ideas, and they elaborate the grow and strengthen the ideas. And underpinning those four is openness, which is a willingness and ability to consider and risk those original ideas.

But you might say “I'm not especially creative, I'm just average”. Well, even if we're not creative geniuses, we can still leverage that research. We can't change our wiring. But there are two ways of increasing our creative output. To achieve that 500% increase that I mentioned earlier: through people and process.

By people, we mean creating an innovation Dream Team. I'm no Da Vinci, but I can increase the number of ideas I produce by increasing the number of people on my innovation team. And if I want to increase the range of ideas, I'll increase the range or diversity of the people on that team. And finally, if I want to increase the originality of the ideas that I'm generating, I'll enlist unique personalities who bring original perspectives.

4-Quadrant Model For Powerful Innovation Teams

We use a four quadrant model to describe and build well rounded innovation teams, each of the quadrants is a box representing a different way of thinking and innovating. A balanced team will have people who are:

  • Analytical and logical: They'll be good at investigation.

  • Big picture thinkers: They’ll be excited by and good at generating lots of ideas, what we call ideation.

  • “People people”: They’ll be focused on the impact of the team solutions, especially on customers.

  • Implementers: They're going to be organized and disciplined planners and project managers. Without them, our best ideas will probably never be delivered.

A dream team can effectively think out of the box because it has all the boxes covered, and each member gets to operate in their box exploiting their strengths.

i5 Process: Tools For Productive Innovation

But you ask, “What if my team, as nice as they are, isn't a dream team?”. What if we're all implementers or all ideators, or what if you don't even have a team, but are left to innovate on your own? This is where the i5 Process comes in. The five stages of the i5 Process mirror the boxes in our thinking preferences model, and each box contains tools that make “out of the box thinkers” engaged and productive.

  1. Identification tools to help you identify the right problem

  2. Investigation tools for seeing the big picture and drilling down to root cause

  3. Ideation tools for generating and strengthening a wide range of original ideas

  4. Impact tools to decide which ideas are the best ideas

  5. Implementation tools to bring the best ideas to life

Instead of asking you to think out of the box, we're going to help you step into a different box. In that box, you have clarity around goals, process and actions. For example, let's say you're a strong implementer, who has been told to be more creative. Rather than just handing you a marker and a flip chart and expecting you to free associate your way to a breakthrough, we'll give you some simple time tested methods that will help you generate a wider range of original ideas. Some will be comfortable like value chain analysis, while others might stretch you a bit, like stimulus-response. But they all give you a structured method, a new box, that will make you more effective and help you feel grounded.

And it works no matter what your original boxes are. Asking a strong creative like me to manage a project is asking me to think outside of my box. And I know from experience that although I may never be a natural at it, I can pull it off. In fact, I can do it well using implementation tools like Gantt charts & prototyping.

Innovation In A Box Training

A Simple, Structured Process to Enable Innovation.

At Juice, we're passionate about creating organizations that flourish, which means organizations that produce great results and great customer experiences, and do so on a foundation of exceptional employee engagement.

To do these things, we have to create products and services that gain traction. We know a lot about innovation, alignment, engagement, conversation and dialogue. But what we do best is develop learning and change solutions that stick. In the case of Innovation in a Box, this means creating a grassroots culture of innovation in your organization, one person and one team at a time.

Register now for one of our next Innovation in a Box Virtual Training Sessions.

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Let’s talk about enabling innovation in your organization.

We’d love to explore how we can help you energize innovation within your workplace!

More About Innovation In A Box Training

Juice custom designs solutions to engage your employees, and offers other services to enhance your current offerings.

Related Resources

An Introduction to Innovation in a Box Training

An Introduction to The Big Picture - An Experiential Learning Simulation

On-Demand Webinar: Introducing Innovation In A Box Training

On-Demand Webinar: Is innovation possible in the public sector?

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