Innovation Cues: Force Field Analysis

When Kurt Lewin came up with the framework for Force Field Analysis it was only applied to social situations, as in conflicts/society. If we take the same framework to innovation it becomes hugely applicable in developing ideas within an organization, which in itself is a complex social setting. In this post I will try to explain the basic form of force field analysis and how I think it can be applied in an innovation context.

First the concepts, “force” is a factor that drives movement within a setting, and “field” is an overall/gestalt setting as combination of many elements including motives, needs, ideals, values etc. In the analysis we list down forces that move a goal in opposite directions as is like below

Goal: _____________________________________

Worst Outcome aka Hell: _____________ Ideal Outcome aka Heaven: __________
Forces in the negative direction

Forces in the positive direction


Key questions to ask in the analysis after you list forces are

  1. What can I do to eliminate/reduce the forces that are against developing an idea further?
  2. How can I reinforce/strengthen the positive forces that will push the idea further faster towards an ideal outcome?
  3. Can I add a new positive force?

It is interesting to note the similarity between Ideal Final Result or Future Backwards here. But the key difference is force field analysis is centered in the “NOW” (not on a future or past), thereby assessing the current setting and draw a path to creating favorable conditions for innovation to flourish.

Even if it means communications/messaging, building relationships, having an open conversation, resolving conflicts of interests, agreeing to share credits/power/outcomes, among other “political” action that an innovation manager does. 


Patterns in Leading Change

The idea of patterns is not new, but what is new is the methods and models for change that are now available that leverage patterns. Behavior and organizational change can now be effectively managed with these tools. I believe these will spawn variants in the consulting business (offered with the following adjectives superior, new, all new, refined, proven etc). Below are the originals that I learnt from.

Fearless change 

is a classic work, this book has a comprehensive collection of  patterns and methods to manage change, and it is very people centric. It is a worthy investment for any organization that is serious about making change be it *mm, km, innovation, 6 sigma, operational excellence or whatever.

Behavior Grid

from the BJ Fogg research base is another solid tool. I strongly recommend using the grid and methods or the easier wizard which I am sure is also a product of the applying persuasive tech.

behaviour grid

Here is my spin to the behavior grid specifically for innovation, change should be viewed as change in parameter. Green, blue, purple, grey and black are just ways in which a parameter can change. When the TRIZ contradiction matrix or another method set says parameter change, use the above as guideline for the real change.


Ideation by Forced Association

I had this great opportunity to see an ideation in action facilitated by Prakasan and Satish. The idea was to get as many ideas as possible for a gift product to one of our clients. The technique applied was “Forced Association” between technologies and the gifting opportunity.
This triggered a further thought while I was browsing the Franchising Magazine looking for business opportunities. The idea is to break human life into several phases from infant to elderly with specific phases like school going by bands of grades, young mothers, teen, working bachelor etc and then force associate these with the franchising business areas that may be education, clothing, food etc and get as many as ideas possible to uncover feasible, profitable, business opportunities.
I think I will do this myself and post my ideas.
I am told there are many more techniques like SCAMPER that can be applied to such ideation facilitation. Here is an excellent resource from the Millers to do such facilitations.


Archetype Homework

While I was going through a batch of AAR reports (modified to suit our needs) churned out from completed IT projects, the idea of creating archetypes occured.So I go get my method here , due to lack of participants which would have definitely added to the richness of cluster names,(It became a dull self indulgement exercise over a gloomy weekend) I go on identify clusters and their negative and positive extreme traits. I will call these edge characteristics of any archetype. Group them and there they emerge the archetypes, not exactly. I could not give them the name.
Coming back to my feeds this morning always has a better name for characters. I am going to use these names and one of my own which I will call The TimeKeepers.There they are the changers, the contributors, the coasters and the timekeepers.
I will have to create these somewhere to see if I can ever communicate through them.
I am not sure if the shift from stereotype to archeype has happened here by clustering and extreming the characteristics.


9 Windows

Deficiencies of 9 Windows in being able to capture the flows between levels of systems or with respect to time. This in turn leads to diminished understnading of the whole dependencies and possible interconnectivity between them. Has some one been able to overcome this by specific practices.