Using Innovation tools in Pocket Mod

I created below images to be part of a pocket mod, covering few innovation tools that I use.

Functional Analysis

Ideal Final Result

Trimming typically used in conjunction with FA

Trends of system evolution, though there are 8 for simplicity sake printing only 5 simple

SCAMPER has formed basis for many innovation offerings, it is simple yet powerful

Resources everywhere


Community Stimulation Ideas 2

In this post, I will touch one aspect of the stimulation exercise viz. visioning (not those usual platitudes, but something more real and has utility to the community). Both the methods are very similar and rely on the same simple cognition fact that we cannot tell lies backward in time. We can easily build a grandiose of lies as we move forward in time but try doing it backward, we cannot go farther than 2 steps. The methods are

  1. Ideal Final Result from the TRIZ method portfolio
  1. Future Backwards from the Cognitive Edge method portfolio

IFR/Ideality as it is popularly known is a combination of 3 things is defined as [Benefits/(Cost + Harm)]

Instead of taking incremental steps forward in time, you take a far reaching jump to sometime in future and assume that the functions/benefits of the community is achieved without any harm and cost to the members. As you move backwards you can notice the number of options/choices increase.

Once you have done this, you search for solutions for intermediates back from the IFR, you can bin time as is convenient to the community

3 questions that should be asked in the same order during this process are

  1. What is the IFR of my community?
  1. What is stopping me from achieving that and why?
  1. How could you make that disappear? What resources are available to help?

Finally you can possibly find other communities that have already solved those problems.

During the process of doing IFR you can actually surface many conflicts that exist between community and members, as IFRs tend to be vastly different, mark them as key opportunities or issues that need resolutions/agreements.

Future Backwards is a complexity based facilitation technique that is used "to increase the number of perspectives that a group can take both on an understanding of their past, and of the range of possible futures. It can be used to discover what entrained patterns of past perception in an organization are determining its future"

In a Future backwards you will have

· Current state (the situation that we are currently in and going backwards what decisions, events and turning points led to it)

· Hell (if Murphy’s law was in full action ("everything that can go wrong, going wrong"), what events can lead to it and what would happen to the situation in a specific time period usually 1-2 years)

· Heaven (if everything was going right, what would the situation look like and what events might lead to it in the period)

· Turning points or Accidents (that can lead from one event to previous i.e. backwards in time)

Like in the picture below

You will start with explaining the current state and drawing key ideas/events. Choose one of the most significant idea/event and keep going back in time identifying prior turning points. This is step 1.

Start from top right to map back from the impossibly extreme heaven and do the same process of mapping backwards turning points possibly towards a past event. This is step 2.

Next start from the bottom right to map back from impossibly extreme hell and do the same process of mapping backwards turning points possibly towards a past event. This is step 3. Time stamps are optional for all the events. Facilitation takes 2-3 hrs with some deep silences in between.

Several outcomes are possible from the above 2 methods that include visions, roadmaps, patterns of entrained thinking, seeing how past influences our future, marked differences in different groups’ understanding of the current state etc.


Community Stimulation Ideas 1

I presented the below concept map to one of our client managers for stimulating a community. We did an ideation afterwards and came up with ideas relevant to each facet of the map. This post is a listing of some of those ideas.

To start with I am picking members and their identity, this is one of the most important foundation of the entire community movement itself. Without a shared sense of identity and purpose there is no community action, but it is necessary for us to keep them independent. Example, A local Rajinikanth fan club (the identity) might take up a community drinking water project (the purpose). In IT Services industry we tend to overlay identity and purpose a lot and hence neither becomes magnified well enough for action.

Subroto has this ‘twice away’ rule, that the purpose should be for someone who is twice removed from the community like a ‘customer’s customer’. This rule makes you keep the identity and purpose distinct in a natural way. There have been communities within MindTree that have used this in their roadmap specifically Technical Leadership community.

Here are the ideas on identity

  1. Creating a visual identity, these could be logos, icons, website themes, etc
    1. Better will be to allow the community to come up with its own images
  2. In addition to the visual identity catering to other senses like having a slogan or tag line
  3. Gift these logos in forms that can be used, worn, shown, carried around. I call these ‘props’ these can include mouse pads, bags, pens, vendor ware type t-shirts, mugs, etc
  4. Have the community identity/logo printed in business cards
  5. Introduce members to the community in a rigorous schedule like 3 per week and continuously for 30 weeks. There are several ways to do this
    1. having a standard set of 5 questions and leaving the last question for the member to ask and answer
    2. Sabre asks its employees their hometown while profiling and that is a strong identity
    3. Including a personal version of the vision from every member
    4. Asking specialization while introducing
    5. Allowing for self declaration of expertise
  6. Building expert locator page from above introductions
  7. Have a competency mapping that is not more than 2 levels
  8. In a loosely connected virtual world it is unfair to assume that members will only use your community space, poll for where majority members are and move your community action there
  9. If members are participating in external discussions or conferences magnify them internally. Example that is popular is participation in forums, commenting on external blogs etc
  10. (Re-)Publish case studies of members that are openly available, this will add value and recognition to the virtual space in the set identities
  11. Allow and finance members to take field trips to proximal domain areas in academics or industry. Supply chain community will want to spend a day in UPS to see what is their supply chain process like.
  12. Arrange academics to come in and present new concepts to the community
  13. Identify local chapters of larger communities and get invites for events to members
    1. Get active members to go together
    2. After the event get them to present it internally
  14. Find and encourage behavior of active members. Move peripheral members to participate with one action example is marking “like”, rating content etc
  15. If a member is active, remove any road blocks to further activity
  16. Publish non-intrusively about member activity, live feeds, activity streams are doable
  17. Give active and central members role to play in strategy and plan meetings
  18. Identify at least 5 heartbeat measures example sessions, views on site, discussion responses, connects, new members, introductions, newsletters etc
    1. Support all of them
    2. Set targets for all of them and follow up rigorously
  19. Empower financially to the allowed maximum as per budget
  20. Identify a social object that members relate to

    You have more ideas? please do comment…


    Community at the verge

    I had this naïve understanding of CoPs, that there will always be only one dominant identity (location, technology, role, batch, gender etc). But the more closely I observe them, the more interesting they get. In reality conversations in groups get richer only when 2 identities collide, mingle, may be even conflict and disperse.

    As I reflect on my own professional life in hostile client locations I have worked from, it starts with the conflict of identities, the typical consultant (aka the devil) versus client (aka been here done that). When I took conversations forward towards any objective even with conflict, trust relationships were always built by default.

    So it is with CoPs. Trouble comes when K Managers are given responsibilities of nurturing communities but not necessarily improving the conversation quality. Hugh Macleod, Doc Searls all say conversations can be controlled only by improving them and for that independent thinking from multiple perspectives (hence identities) is necessary and that only smart conversations scale (without the central KM team probably)

    If you are a K Manager here is a measurable objective, of the N conversations that you enable (?) or participate, what % of them improved (?) by your action, opinion, setting.


    ? defined by someone else as always…change this


    Stories and Community

    In my organization we did “joy of giving” week, and a community within our organization used these specific stories below to inspire giving to an NGO called Goonj. The community (Dhriti: the woman’s network within the company) did an awesome story campaign based on unsung  heroes  from ibnlive

    Campaign images are below


    Community Leaders Revitalization

    Here is a list I thought would be relevant to build skills/mature on specifically for community leaders.

    •  Building Trust
      • With a person
      • With a service or a system
      • With an organization
      • In relation with the belief and value system of community members
    • Persistence
      • Finding the right thing to persist on
      • Reasoning on why persistence is needed
      • Ability to make a group of people persist on something
    • Volunteerism
    • Tenacity
    • Managing Adversity
    • Finding Purpose

    I think there is more than what I have outlined above, and it is in the complex domain


    H1 2009 Round Up

    Here is a 2009 first half year round up. Not much as I see it, but I could still be happy that I am a great filter.


    A great pitch will look like this when built with popular social objects, in this case Hugh‘s cartoon base.
    Also of note is the Grabowski ratio in action M/E costs.


    • Within the CoP context I think desigining such spaces will energize and commit more people to the cause of knowledge. It is better and possible to design spaces for social interactions in your current context than blabber about knowledge eco-systems in ppts. Thanks to Kim for the hat tip.
    • In addition to Stephen P. Borgatti and Jos´e-Luis Molina paper , Toward ethical guidelines for network research in organizations
      this post will help kick start action in SNA if you are thinking of conducting one. Thanks to Graham Durant Law.
    • Interesting interpretations on network types and underlying SNA Methods. Great example on how easily we can misread a network diagram from Connectedness.
    • Though many people adopt NPS for analysing customer satisfacion scores longitudinally, I am seeing NPS in the context of communities for the first time
    • As unusual as it can get, community based km at SAP

    Social Media Examples


    • We have been hearing stories get you jobs, make people change, spend more, trust more etc, here is a nice example from an eBay sale.
    • The classic story archetype of J Campbell more movies this summer and the next and the next, you never get bored it is that good an archetype.

    Is there any another way to allow people make sense than by narratives so variations can fit to context?

    Knowledge Representation

    I have this fetish for information visualization and flowing data has been my primary solace, here is Fusion Tables from Google. This I think is a direct take on ManyEyes from IBM.

    Random KM

    Yeah I hear this big picture missing thing a lot.
    • From Dave Snowden, lists facets on opportunity scenarios in recession times. I need to apply trends and its system evolution laws for articulating the opportunities within an industry. I have been using STC (Stands for Size, Time and Cost) from the TRIZ toolkit for quite a while now and it is very powerful for scenario thinking.
    • In a way organizational knowledge base system is very similar to these online giving markets. Giving part means the existence of trust both by the giver and taker.
      Great pointers on the success elements for such a market.