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The organizational assessment, analysis, and report, are based upon the application and integration of several leading-edge frameworks.  These frameworks include:
  • Innovation Framework (Penker)
  • 3 - Horizon Framework (McKinsey)
  • Innovation Strategy Profiles (Booz and Company)
  • Innovation Leadership Styles (Lowe, Williamson, & Wood)
  • Innovation Personas (Ideo)

Innovation Framework

A core framework underlying the assessment process are the six core innovation questions listed below.  (Click on each box for a detailed explanation).
why what how where when who
(Click on each title to expand the box)



The simple question “Why innovate?” leads us to examine the strategic nature of innovation. We know innovation is a strategic necessity, because the purpose of innovation is to ensure that your organization survives, and the evidence overwhelmingly shows that any organization that doesn’t innovate probably won’t stay in business for long. Hence, the innovation process should be aligned with the organization’s strategy, and innovation should be a key factor that defines how the strategy will be realized. The relationship between strategy and innovation, and the condition that they are enabling and driving each other, is an essential cornerstone of the Innovation360 Framework. The why questions cover whether the organization aims for profit or growth. In the case of NGOs and NPOs, profit can be interpreted as utilization, for example citizen/member advantage or usage. The why questions also address the degree to which the organization focuses on small, incremental improvements or radical innovation, whether the organization is pursuing both at the same time.



When we ask the question “what to innovate,” we recognize that the unpredictable nature of change requires us to prepare for many types of innovation options for a wide range of possible futures. Therefore we use the typology introduced by Trott (2008) to gain greater specificity about the kind of innovation that is applied. The seven types of innovation are the following:

  1. Product Innovation: the development of a new or improved product.
  2. Process Innovation: the development of a new process, for instance a manufacturing process, talent-management process or supply process; typically driven by digitalization, automatization, robotics, artificial intelligence, and new man-machine interfaces such as tablets and smartphones that can be integrated in managing and optimizing processes.
  3. Organizational Innovation: a new venture division, a new innovation center, internal communication system, and introduction of a new accounting procedure are some examples.
  4. Management Innovation: examples include TQM (total quality management) systems, BPR (business processes reengineering) and Agile Development for software engineering.
  5. Production Innovation: quality circles, just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing systems, new production-planning software as well as new, more advanced and technology-related areas such as Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) used to connect machines to each other as well as to producers, operators, and even customers.
  6. Commercial/Marketing Innovation: can be new financing arrangements, new sales possibilities, pricing models with low-entry process levels, market approaches (e.g., direct marketing); this can also be referred to as business-model innovation, meaning the development of new or improved business models and value propositions.
  7. Service Innovation: examples include Internet-based financial services (typically referred to as FinTech), user-experience-based service innovation using new interfaces like virtual reality and augmented reality.

By linking why with what, we delineate the strategic rationale of the innovation-management work within the organization.



In the Innovation Framework, we divide how into four components: Leadership, Capabilities, Personas, and the Innovation Process. The leadership styles in the Innovation Framework are based on the work of Loewe, Williamson, and Wood (2001), who describe five types of leadership such as the following:

  1. The Cauldron: an entrepreneurial style where the business model is frequently challenged.
  2. The Spiral Staircase: a style where you climb upward without losing the overall goal.
  3. The Fertile Field: a style where the organization tries to use existing capabilities and resources in a new way.
  4. The Pac-Man: a style where you invent, outsource, and finance startups.
  5. The Explorer: a style where you explore possibilities and invest time and money in them without demanding short-term profit.

The Innovation Personas in the Innovation Framework is based on the Ten Faces of Innovation described in the work of Kelly and Littman. Kelly and Littman divide the ten personas into three categories: learning personas, organizational personas, and building personas. The learning personas are individuals digging for new sources and knowledge; the organizational personas are the ones structuring, challenging, and orchestrating the work; the building personas are typically the intellectual architects, the storytellers, and the caregivers, as well as the ones setting up a proper environment. The ten Innovation Personas are as follows:

  1. Persona: The Anthropologist (Learning)
  2. Persona: Cross-Pollinator (Learning)
  3. Persona: Experimenter (Learning)
  4. Persona: Hurdler (Organizational)
  5. Persona: Director (Organizational)
  6. Persona: Collaborator (Organizational)
  7. Persona: Experience Architect (Building)
  8. Persona: Set Designer (Building)
  9. Persona: Storyteller (Building)
  10. Persona: Caregiver (Building)

The sixty-six capabilities in the Innovation Framework are organized into sixteen aspects to simplify the analysis, all decribed in the Wheel of Innovation®. The Innovation process, consisting of the phases ideation, project selection, and commercialization.



An innovation process is realized through the tools and infrastructure that support it and the people who are involved in the process. Today’s innovators need to determine whether their innovation processes will be purely internal or will take some form of open innovation, where stakeholders external to the company or organization are involved in the process. These decisions will determine the innovation infrastructure provided by the company as well as three related elements such as the following:

  • The type of innovation (e.g., open innovation, engaging people internally and externally)
  • Collaborative platforms to support agile and fast value creation
  • The physical workplace (where people are engaged and motivated)



The simple answer here is “All the time!” However, every activity in a business needs to be assessed to fully understand its impact, and this is especially the case for creative work such as innovation. It is imperative to fully understand what is driving value and to measure the work effort and the end results in order to optimize the outcome of the innovation work. In the Innovation Framework, we therefore assume that innovation will take place constantly and at a high pace and that it will be guided and monitored by metrics and coached for value and results.



The one innovation refers to all people participating, internally and externally, in leaving ideas all the way to testing them, prototyping, developing to launching them. Typically, you organize people into innovation board, innovation task force, sponsors, project leaders and process owners.

Three Horizon Framework

The 3 horizon framework was originally developed by McKinsey and was published 20 years ago in the book The Alchemy of Growth.   It has become a sustainable model due to the insights and gudiance it provides when looking at a firms portfolio of innovation efforts and how they relate to susutainable growth for the enterprise.

3 horizons
Our assessment incorporates this model as we recommend best practices for assigning Innovative development projects across three horizons.

Horizon one covers immediate and incremental improvements that return measurable impacts and keep the IT infrastructure at peak performance.

Horizon two introduces workable concepts that offer the greatest promise for expansion or market capture, assuring revenue for the future.

The third horizon is the most creative and expansive, commercializing applications from the second horizon in original and unpredictable ways. Although these ideas present the most significant potential, it will take precise and intelligent deployment of technologies from the first two horizons to get there.

Innovation readiness analysis should concern itself just as much with internal processes as with external offerings. Your InnovationIQ score will indicate which areas could profit most from new approaches, both in terms of profitability and market share.

From there, you can go on to reimagine the interactions of your high-performance teams, as well as, test business prototyping sessions. There are many pathways that lead to streamlining workflows and ensuring stronger revenue streams. Initially, they all begin with an assessment to evaluate how ready you are now to seize new ideas and make them work.

Innovation Strategy

The Innovation Capability Assessment examines the innovation strategy present in the firm according to the framework developed by Booz & Company and published in The Global Innovation 1000: How the Top Innovators Keep Winning. This framework defines 3 different approaches to innovation:
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  • NEED SEEKERS – actively and directly engage current and potential customers to shape new products and services based on superior end-user understanding and strive to be the first to market with those offerings.

  • MARKET READERS – watch their customers and competitors carefully, focusing largely on creating value through incremental change and by capitalizing on proven market trends.

  • TECHNOLOGY DRIVERS – follow the direction suggested by their technological capabilities, leveraging their investment in research and development to drive both breakthrough innovation and incremental change, often seeking to solve the unarticulated needs of their customers via new technology.
All three strategies share a set of core critical capabilities, while each of the three strategies also have a distinct set of critical capabilities associated with it. The Innovation Capability Assessment examines alignment of the  innovation strategy present in the firm with core capabilities and business strategy.

Leadership Styles

The Innovation Capability Assessment evaluates the presence of different innovation leadership styles according to the framework defined by Loewe, Williamson, & Wood (2001).  In this framework, the choice of innovation leadership style depends on where the firm thinks opportunities lie.  While many successful companies practice several styles, each style represents an internally consistent approach to innovating that mobilizes a wide variety of people and involves a coordinated package of management techniques that nurture it.  The levers management can utilize to differ dramatically depending on which style is being practiced. Levers that are perfect for one may actually block another. Thus, companies that utilize several styles must generally separate the pursuit of one style from the pursuit of another, because the management systems that affect each have to differ.
The Innovation Capability Assessment examines the organizational alignment around the different innovation leadership styles listed below.
The Cauldron - This style is perhaps the most entrepreneurial and demanding; leaders catalyze the entrepreneurial energy of the entire management team so the group repeatedly challenges everything about the organization. The team constantly rethinks its business models and rapidly creates new models for both existing and new businesses. This approach results in rapid change throughout the organization. Enron and Lucent Technologies’ networking businesses (especially during the period when it was being spun off from AT&T) are each examples of boiling Cauldrons of innovation.
The Spiral Staircase. Here managers innovate so consistently and so often in their existing business that, over time, they repeatedly change its very nature. Just as a circular staircase takes you upward without much changing your latitude or longitude, a Spiral Staircase innovator rises dramatically in its chosen business while seeming to stay in the same place. Charles Schwab & Co., Toyota, and (sometimes) British Airways.
The Fertile Field - In this approach, managers focus on finding new uses for existing strategic assets and competencies, sowing them across a wide field that extends far beyond the company’s existing operations. Emerson Electric, the St. Louis electrical equipment manufacturer, is an example, and so are GE Capital and NiSource, the holding company that includes Northern Indiana Public Service Co. in the US.
The PacMan - In this model the company effectively outsources much strategy development and R&D to the marketplace, investing in startups and gobbling up those that prove themselves. Effective PacMan investors are not just gobbling up entrepreneurial startups to enjoy the fruits of their labors, however, but assembling coherent competencies for the future. Examples include Cisco in computer networking and WorldCom (now MCI WorldCom) in telecommunications.
The Explorer. Here a company sets out work in a big, poorly understood field where it knows it will take labor for many years before seeing profits. It keeps its investments small at first, but achieves its goal through a series of relatively low-cost probes that progressively solve the problems that had prevented the innovation from happening. Examples include Motorola’s development of cell phones from 1973 through 1984 and Monsanto’s pursuit, from 1978 through 1995, of the technology that underlay its push to apply biotechnology to agri-business.

Personas and Prespectives

The innovation capability of an organization is grounded in the capabilities of the employees and enabled by the presence of specific perspectives known to enable and drive innovation.  The assessment evaluates the presence of these key personas within the organization.  The personas are categorized into learning personas, organizational personas, and building personas and based on the model from Ideo and published in The 10 Faces of Innovation, Kelly & Littman (2005).
gear brain
Learning personas gather new sources of information to expand knowledge and challenge established worldviews.
  • The Anthropologist – Ventures into the field to bring new learning and insights into the organization by observing human behavior and developing a deep understanding of how people interact physically and emotionally with products, services, and spaces.  Extremely good a re-framing a problem.
  • The Experimenter - prototypes new ideas continuously, learning by a process of enlightened trial and error. The experimenter talks calculated risks to achieve success through a state of experimentation as implementation.
  • The Cross-Pollinator – explores other industries and culture and then translates those findings and revelations to fit the unique need of their situation. Draws associations and connections between seemingly unrelated ideas or concepts.
Organizing personas know how to move an idea forward withing the structure and confines of an organization and serve to transform raw concepts into executable plans, supported programs, and delivered products and services.
  • The Hurdler – knows the path to innovation is strewn with obstacles and develops a knack for overcoming or outsmarting those roadblocks.
  • The Collaborator – helps bring eclectic groups together, of often leads from the middle of the pack to create new combinations and multidisciplinary solutions. Works across boundaries to focus on shared objectives.
  • The Director – gathers together talented cast and crew and helps to spark their creative talents. Helps set the stage, set priorities, and focus efforts.
Building Personas – Apply the insights from the learning roles and channel the empowerment from the organizing role to make innovation happen.
  • The Experience Architect - designs compelling experience that go beyond mere functionality to connect at a deeper level with customer’s latent or expressed need.
  • The Set Designer – creates a stage on which innovation team members can do their best work, transforming physical environments into powerful tools to influence behavior and attitude.
  • The Caregiver – builds on the metaphor of the health care professional to deliver customer care in a manner that goes beyond mere service.
  • The Storyteller – builds both internal and external awareness through compelling narratives that communicate a fundamental human value or reinforce a specific cultural trait.

Product Innovation Process

Driving growth through innovation requires the ability to continuously adjust market offerings in response to changing market conditions.  The capability is powered by an efficient and robust product innovation process that consist of four general steps.   The first step is the generation of new ideas based upon market opportunities and trends, competitive landscape, and customer needs.  The second step is the process of selecting which ideas merit investment of resources for development and commercialization.  Here decisions need to be made in alignment with business strategy and organizational capabilities and require a portfolio management process.  In the third step,  the selected ideas are transformed into deliverable products and services through a development process.  The fourth stage is commercialization which includes market innovation and launch practices as well as sales  management.  The process then repeats with the input from customer feedback and competitor reaction to new offerings.
The assessment process includes examination of core capabilities related to this product innovation process along with examination of the alignment between strategy, market conditions, and three key innovation process parameters: speed, bandwidth, and risk,
Key Competencies:
  • Risk management
  • Business model Innovation
  • Customization
  • Modularization
Key drivers:
  • High level of competition, disruption and shifting market logic.
  • Rapidly changing technology such as Internet of things
Key Competencies:
  • Market knowledge
  • Governance and compliance
Key drivers:
  • Long production cycles
  • Market barriers
  • Regulations
Key competencies:
  • Active portfolio management
  • Brand knowledge
  • Modularization
  • A and B testing
  • Prototyping
Key drivers:
  • Uncertain market. Hard to predict trends.
  • Risk spreading.
Key competencies:
  • Market knowledge
  • Customer insights
Key drivers:
  • Short-term cash flow, no room for failure and no need for jackpot.
  • Expensive and inflexible production system, meaning you cannot easily adopt a new kind of production.
Key competencies
  • Risk management capabilities
  • risk affection/attraction rather than risk aversion
Key drivers:
  • Optimization in a red ocean
  • Optimizing what you have optimize with low short-term risk
Key competencies:
  • Customer intimacy
  • Measurement
  • High-speed iterations
Key drivers:
  • Blue Ocean strategy initiatives.
  • Higher risk short-term

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