The Seven Disciplines of Transcending Innovation
Transcendent Innovations are born of 3 developmental phases:
- Discovery of an unmet human need
- Invention of a transformational solution
- Universal Adoption of that solution
It is absolutely critical to understand that all the disciplines are inter-related, multi-disciplinary, fully integrated, and build on each other.
Discipline #1: Clarify your Transcendent Value ©
Ask the employees of any good or great company what their organization stands for, and they will most likely say, “We make the best computers, or shoes or (insert your product/service)”. This is conventional management doctrine – “be clear about what you do”. In stark contrast, a loyal employee of a Transcendent Organization like Apple or Nike is more likely to say “we help people unleash their creativity” or “we inspire people to be more athletic”. The key difference is that Transcendent Organizations have an audacious point of view on things. Nike’s point of view is that anyone can be an athlete. Apple’s is that everyone can be creative. This opens the doorway to transcendent innovation.
A great True Purpose combines a passionately held point of view of founders, leaders, and employees, with a deeply insightful compassion for what humans (consumers/customers) need most deeply. In this way both the organization and those it serves find fulfillment in a long term relationship.
A critical success factor to clarifying your True Purpose is understanding how “universal” insights are most powerful when they connect to the highest order needs of people.
View DISCOVERY Phase Deliverables
Our Services during the Discovery Phase:
- Transcendence Audit: We conduct a proprietary audit of your organization comparing it across all 7 Disciplines against the “ideal”. We provide a SWOT analysis on how you can transform your innovation capacity and business models to create sustainable differentiation.
- Holistic Category Environment Map: “Category busters” or transformational new ideas usually are best discovered by outsiders or non-experts. We train you to develop a fresh perspective on your organization and sector. Through proprietary frameworks and tools, we help you see a whole system view of the world, enabling you to discover opportunities outside of not only your field of vision, but also beyond that of your competitors’.
- Facilitated Fusion Sessions: These leverage the insights gleaned from the Transcendent Audit to help your team develop your True Purpose.
- Ethnographic Research: Our research team helps you identify deeply compassionate insights into the deepest and highest aspirations of key stakeholders and develop universally scalable value propositions.
Discipline #2: Build a Holistic Value Proposition
Humans are feeling animals that think, not thinking animals that feel. But, management doctrine is singularly focused on rational logic: how we can invent a product or service with superior features and benefits consumes most organizations.
In reality, emotions are far more powerful than logic. Once the right feelings are evoked in your target audience, the desired consumer behavior, thoughts and words soon follow. This is the secret to why Apple’s success confounds its competitors who often sell superior features and attributes at lower prices and still lose market share.
The science behind this phenomenon is based upon how the limbic system of the human brain creates “feelings” that lead to involuntary reflexive actions. It is these actions or urges that play a predominant role in influencing decisions. And it is only after this that post-rationalization takes place in the neo-cortex. The limbic system has zero language capability, so the only things articulated clearly are the thoughts that the neo-cortex creates. Thus, traditional consumer or social research can be hugely misleading.
Transcendent Brands intuitively or serendipitously developed Holistic Value Propositions that deliver emotional outcomes equally if not more powerfully than tangible outcomes from innovation.
View INVENTION Phase Deliverables
Our Services during the Invention Phase:
- Facilitated Fusion Sessions: The sessions help multi-disciplinary teams to leverage insights from the Discovery Phase to develop powerful Holistic Value Propositions and Purposeful Innovation Briefs.
- Transformational Innovation Coaching: Blue Earth coaches help organizations to create an internal process for facilitating intrapreneurial prototyping, designed experiments to achieve fast, low cost learning through an organic process of failure, learning, refinement and ultimately transformational results.
- Transformational Roadmap: A critical outcome of the process is it leads to a huge number of potential game changing ideas. We coach leaders on how to prioritize and resource these ideas from a portfolio management stand-point, leading to some quick wins to earn credibility while nurturing market/sector transforming projects under the radar.
- Transcendent Branding: Strategic development and execution of transcendent brand name, logo, visual identity systems, tag-lines.
Discipline #3: Cultivate the Transcendent Adoption Curve
Most business plan processes taught in leading institutions and Fortune 100 stage-gate processes promote the management doctrine of finding the “largest possible market” and evaluating ideas based on this metric first. After all, if there isn’t a market, then why bother? Right? Wrong.
By definition, transformational innovation doesn’t target the biggest market – it creates markets. And, big things start small – the bigger the eventual market, the more focused your launch needs to be.
By this time you have identified a game-changing opportunity, developed a transformational solution. Now you have the minor problem of achieving universal acceptance for your solution!
Again, big things start small. How your brand makes a first impression, with whom and where has a profound impact on how difficult it will be for your brand to become transcendent.
You can substantially increase the odds by targeting who needs you most (and will be the most forgiving of cost and performance) where their “first date” will create the best first impression. Being the “firstest with the mostest” is highly over-rated when it comes to value creation and preservation.
If you are smart, you will find ways to connect with consumers where your product/solution truly stands out – ideally because all your competitors are competing for the mass market in the mass channels and ignoring the fact that first impressions are humongously more important than mass distribution.
Discipline #4: Build a Purposeful Route-to-Market
All things considered, once you know who to target and where, it is a matter of building the right infrastructure and business model to achieve that objective in an economically sustainable way.
Most organizations assume that they must leverage existing infrastructure, assets and core competencies, even when they seek to create transformational change. This prevailing doctrine is one of the biggest reasons why so many Fortune 500 companies fail to create transformational change, and become irrelevant, or worse, obsolete, as smaller firms overtake them in value creation because they are unencumbered by legacy systems.
Discipline #5: Communicate Your Highest Truth
This is potentially the most unintuitive of the disciplines. The advertising industry has spent trillions of client dollars helping to rapidly commoditize their brands.
Ironically, advertising executives understand that change is emotional more so than most technocrats that lead large organizations in the for or nonprofit sector. However, they add emotion to a rational message, instead of supporting an emotional message with rational back-up. They have it backwards. Which is why only a tiny handful of companies in the history of commerce have built truly transcendent brands.
Discipline #6: Nurture Transcendent Intrapreneurship
It is a fairly well understood fact that when a visionary founder/leader leaves an organization because of retirement, death or being forced out by shareholders, many great organizations see an alarming dip in their fortunes. It happened to Starbucks until Howard Schultz returned to the helm. It happened to Apple when Jobs was forced out, and might be happening now after his death.
It is critical to decode their decision making processes, their vision and cascade these through the organization at all levels.
Additionally, most big organizations have the ability to attract great talent. The question is, how many of the potential change-makers inside these organizations are truly being empowered and enabled to fulfill their highest potential? Why wouldn’t an organization want to identify and create more transformational leaders? It can be done. Gifford Pinchot, Blue Earth’s Intraprneurship mentor, has seen it and helped nurture intrapreneurship inside incredible organizations like Dupont, 3M, GE and others. He is credited with coming up with the term “intrapreneurship” and wrote a seminal book on it in the 1970s.
Management doctrine is obsessed with things like control, tracking, resouce management and incentives. What is needed is alignment of purpose, skill and freedom. Contrary to conventional wisdom, transformational intrapreneurs don’t need more resources – they need to be trained in the skills and given the freedom to operate with minimal resources and bureaucracy.
Discipline#7: Champion Holistic Sustainability
Conventional wisdom talks about the triple bottom line. This ignores some critical nuances. For 9 billion people to enjoy the basics of life within the known limits of the planet’s resources, to reverse ecological degradation, and to survive the increasing pressure for transparency and conscious business practices, Transcendent Organizations of the future need to integrate sustainability into every aspect of their business. The Blue Earth Network imbeds all five domains of sustainability as espoused by Michael Ben-Eli into our processes of discovery, invention and adoption.
The five domains of holistic sustainability (as adapted from Michael Ben-Eli’s work):
Economic: There has to be real value creation to make transcendent organizations and their stakeholders viable. A vast majority of S&P 500 companies are creating less than 1% real value after deducting the cost of capital. Finding ways to innovate with lower upfront investment and risk is crucial.
Social: With more of the world’s population increasingly armed with multipurpose communication devices, the day is not far when the impact of an organization’s value-chain on its global stakeholders will be instantly visible, available and usable by people who make decisions on whether to engage with you or not. Sooner organizations take the lead in making their valuechains sustainable and above reproach from concerned citizens the better.
Bio-diversity: With science beginning to catch-up with nature’s sophisticated and delicate ecological balance, it may soon not be enough to use a catch-all phrase like “environmentally responsible”. Putting in place steps to get ahead of the curve on ensuring an organization’s impact on the increasingly visibly interconnected ecosystem is the wise way to go.
Materials & Energy: This is the more obvious aspect of environmental sustainability. Use as little as possible in as renewable a way as possible. This is critical to safeguard an organization, and ultimately the planet, from potentiall fatal shortages.
Personal: This is the invisible elephant in the room. Sustainability programs focus so much on community that they often ignore the fact that individual humans play a disproportionately large role in all the other aspects of sustainability. For transcendent organizations of the future to succeed, they need to remember that humans are feeling animals that think. Millennials, in particular, are unwilling to sacrifice their values as they make purchases or make a living. Helping all stakeholders live a better, more fulfilled life, is the hall mark of success for the best organizations on the planet.
View ADOPTION Phase Deliverables
Our Services during the Adoption Phase:
- Facilitated Fusion Sessions: Develop creative ways to segment the market, identify best first adopters, and develop a route to market strategy.
- Blue Earth Adoption Curve Design: Assistance in developing a scaling strategy and business plan that is adaptive and organically refined over time.
- Coaching: Helping leaders navigate the multi-disciplinary issues surrounding core competencies, legacy systems and organizational alignment over the development of a game-changing business model. We provide case studies, anecdotal examples and inspiration to help leaders navigate this critical issue.
- Blue Earth Business Model Design: The key to creating new infrastructure is to start small, experiment and grow organically. This is a paradigm shift – big things start small – building new infrastructure can be done at low cost, with low risk. We help organizations figure this out.
- Transcendent Communication: Blue Earth has cultivated a team of copywriters and art directors trained in the 7 Disciplines of Transcendent Organizations who can help you develop your Highest Truth and bring it to life in the most authentic and compelling way.
- Intrapreneurship Systems and Coaching: We help you audit the climate for intrapreneurship, identify ways to enhance it, identify and nurture great intrapreneurial teams.
- Transcendend Intrapreneurship Training: Training for multi-disciplinary intrapreneurs and their sponsors on how to organize, resource and manage the process of transformational innovation with commitment, ingenuity, and freedom – on a shoe string budget.
- Sustainability Audit: Assist organizations in developing a roadmap to achieve leadership in sustainability by integrating it within the core of the business and its purpose.
- Economic sustainability coaching: This is integral to transformative innovation – how do you create a bigger pie, rather than focus on how to divide an ever shrinking one. For nonprofits, its a question of achieving self-sustaining revenue streams via social entrepreneurship, or by building a large and diverse donor base.
- Social Virtuous Cycle: Integration of social causes with the organization’s core value creation model enables creating authentic value while making marketing and operations more efficient.
- Environmental audits and LCA: Our sustainability team offers cutting edge tools and skills in helping organizations determine and manage their impact in a positive way.
- Human insights: Our research group works seamlessly across consumer understanding, employee development and stakeholder understanding to help organizations become great at building and leveraging thriving human relationships.