Innovation, change, the ability to notice patterns, and try unique or novel approaches will continue to be a differentiator in your organization, team, and self. 

The idea that the complexity of work is increasing is accurate if we accept that complexity is the interactions between multiple pieces within different environments. Many of those pieces are unknown or unknowable until a challenge or need for change happens. 

In a recent webinar on change and innovation, I shared processes and ways to support innovation in your work

Innovation and overcoming stuckness Nine Windows – Mike Cardus

Innovation and Overcoming Organizational Stuckness 

We shared the 8 Causes that Block Innovation.

8 Causes the Block Innovation
  1. Having a fixed vision (or model) of the solution or root cause. 
  2. False assumptions (trusting the data). 
  3. Language that is a strong carrier of psychological inertia, specific terminology carries psychological inertia. 
  4. Experience, expertise, and reliance upon previous results. 
  5. Limited knowledge, hidden resources, or mechanisms. 
  6. Inflexibility (model worship; trying to prove a specific theory, stubbornness). 
  7. Using the same strategy. Keep thinking the same way, and you will continue to get the same result. 
  8. Rushing to a solution – incomplete thinking. 

While each of these causes is pernicious, when working with teams and leaders, we understand that these exist and find a way to work with them instead of fighting them. Many of the Innovation Stuckness areas are natural biases that we use to make decisions and survive within our environment. 

Innovation Method to Encourage Innovation 

Several years ago, while learning about TRIZ, I came across Nine Windows. I’ve used it several times with individuals, teams, departments, and organization development. 

nine windows innovation blank

How to use Nine Windows for Innovative Problem Solving

Below is the prework I would send to you when working through a challenge or wanting to innovate something. 

  • ECOSYSTEM = the structure, systems, rules, regulations, and behaviors that shape your people’s life and work. 
  • PEOPLE = the people that use your service/product or support
  • MARKET POTENTIAL = known or assumed potential 

Nine Windows 

What is the question or challenge we are exploring? 

YESTERDAY ECOSYSTEM

Write about the ecosystem or context/systems in place, related to what your idea looked like in the past.

YESTERDAY PEOPLE

Write down your ideas about people’s behavior and expectations within the ecosystem you defined.

How do they learn, use, and remember yours or similar products or services in their ecosystem?

YESTERDAY POTENTIAL

How was the market viewed for your services/product or support in the past? Is there any potential market that is still relevant to the past? 

TODAY ECOSYSTEM

Write your thoughts about the ecosystem/context and systems in place related to your idea. 

TODAY PEOPLE

Write down your ideas about people’s behavior and expectations within the ecosystem you defined.

How do they learn, use, and remember yours or similar products or services in their ecosystem?

TODAY POTENTIAL

How the market views your services/product or support in the present? What potential market is relevant? 

TOMORROW ECOSYSTEM

Write your thoughts about what the ecosystem/context and systems in place related to your idea might look like in the future. How will it evolve?

TOMORROW PEOPLE

Write down your ideas about people’s behavior and expectations within the ecosystem you defined.

How do they learn, use, and remember yours or similar products or services in their ecosystem? 

TOMORROW POTENTIAL

What is the market potential for your product or service in tomorrow’s ecosystem? Will your product or service need to adapt?

innovation and nine widows planning a work change - mike cardus

With innovation and complexity within your work, working through the past, current, and potential future will develop new paths and emergent strategies for making a change. Innovation comes from identifying what is currently happening and how to find differences that matter to make louder or increase. As you innovate and enhance what is working well and what might work better, you copy and make better versions. Being stuck will get you nowhere different – nine windows removes the stuckness and supports your progress to somewhere better. 

Here are the slides from the webinar:

Ever wonder how other teams make collaboration look so easy?

If so, you’ve recognized a challenge with your own team. And that’s the first step in finding a solution. Now, it’s time to do something about it.