For those tasked with innovation, creating anything new—whether a product, service, experience or process—requires more than simply coming up with the best idea. It requires the engagement and alignment of the many individuals inside organizations who are important to its success.
In Communicating the New, professor and innovation consultant Kim Erwin calls out the role of communication in the innovation process as a powerful integrative tool for individuals and teams to define, accelerate and explain The New.
In collaboration with over 30 contributors at the forefront of innovation, she defines a new communication mission for innovators—one that prioritizes the engagement of others in advancing new ideas into organizations and markets
To support this new mission, Communicating the New presents a framework and methods to help innovators address 5 distinct moments in which communication methods can advance the development process.
5 ways communication methods accelerate innovation
How to help teams find the conceptual center of their work?
How to achieve alignment around what's known, desired and proposed?
Because creating The New involves the integration of many forms of data and insight— such as market data, industry trends, user context, cultural change, emerging technologies—helping teams know what they know takes time.
Individuals and teams need help achieving two critical objectives: quickly achieving clarity around the problem or the proposition, and building that all-important alignment in the larger working team. Tools and methods that address this situation are considered in Chapter 1: Finding the Conceptual Center.
How to give a concept shape, texture and definition?
And how to frame the work in ways others can understand and remember?
Teams need help framing their thinking, especially in the early stages, in
ways they and others can understand and remember. The objective is to do so in
a way that creates a fresh mindset, so that the new proposition has focus,
meaning, texture and accessibility. The framing techniques in Chapter 2 offer a simple way to test a group's thinking about The New, using language to prototype the concept.
How to identify and target constituents for The New?
How to pre-empt the power of no?
How build a strong network of collaborators and contributors that will accelerate and champion The New?
In business schools it has become standard
practice to train students in stakeholder interviews. Few other professions
focus on how to size up the human beings who need to be invested in the
But even MBA programs tend to favor functional assessments – what do people do and buy – over holistic assessments – who are they, and how do they live. Chapter 3 helps creators of The New cultivate deep curiosity and empathy for the people who will be engaged in The New over the long haul so as to more effectively engage them in the short term.
How to engage and introduce new thinking to others?
How to build belief, conviction and ownership around a novel and unfamiliar concept?
Innovators and entrepreneurs face significant hurdles in establishing the relevance and the potential of the New, especially with those who were not involved in its creation and yet who are essential to its success. Experiences can be a powerful platform with which to engage stakeholders of all levels. Chapter 4 presents a model for creating unconventional but effective engagement – a “design for experiences” framework.
How to signal early that new thinking is both underway and forthcoming?
How to create broader organizational pull for the The New?
Every team should be thinking early about how to help projects “go viral” inside the sponsor organization. We need to draw attention to an initiative before synthesis is finished, laying early groundwork for what comes later. And we need to create channels for diffusing ideas as they are ready for review. Chapter 5 presents tools for getting the word out and creating widespread support for The New.