Do Purpose First, Select a Framework, Then Do Projects
Without a Clear Purpose, Innovation Drifts Off Course
It may seem obvious but unless you know who you are, and what your purpose is, as an organization you will flounder.
Innovation Leaders sometimes get it backwards. This wastes Time and Money.
In the innovation space there is endless discussion about frameworks. Which is best? Can I blend frameworks? If everyone else is jumping off the Design Thinking bridge shouldn’t we? Just kidding, Design Thinking can be a good choice, as can Agile, or Lean, or your own blended system. Using a structured innovation framework is a project success factor.
There is also a lot of yakking about culture. Nothing wrong with desiring an innovation friendly culture, although talking about it isn’t going to make it happen. It happens through projects.
The best innovators organize their efforts around projects.
But, you need purpose first.
Without a common focus, a purpose that describes how you provides value to others, you’ll be doing projects that are ultimately doomed to failure. Even a success, if not aligned with purpose, will weaken your organization in the long run.
Leaders, make sure your innovation projects ladder up to, and are sympatico with, the oragnization’s purpose. When it does, you’ll see these benefits:
- Teams inspired to provide value for others
- Projects aligned with a vision for the future and a strategy to get there
- Finding and Framing organizational challenges and opportunities with more direction
- Energized idea generation about potential projects (that is, what projects might we do?)
- Clear convergence and selection of the most promising, and purpose-aligned, projects
- Project scheduling (aka Innovation Road-mapping) aligned with purpose and strategy
- Execute and implement projects with confidence you’re stepping into a greater version of who you are
Understanding your purpose is the first step to building a culture of innovation. Purpose informs every step of the innovation process, whichever framework you use. So, a good starting point for innovation is defining or clarifying your purpose, coupled with an assessment of your innovation culture. With a clear purpose and a better understanding of where you are, innovation-wise, you can get to the hard work of executing projects that will make your business strategy a success.
This blog post was co-written with Kathleen Curtis Wolfe of The Purpose Partners.