Research and Media

Tag: leadership

Creating Innovation Strategy using Narrative-Based Methods

Innovate at Iowa State Presents Abram Anders

October 2nd, 4-5 p.m. On-line for Faculty, Staff, Graduate Students

Innovation Leadership and Mindset Workshop

This session will introduce narrative-based design methods developed to support a human-centered approach to creating an innovation strategy and communicating it through mindsets and practices that can impact behavior and performance. After a brief overview, participants will engage in a co-creative workshop based on these methods to explore opportunities and to envision innovation strategies for adaptive leadership at ISU.

Why narrative-based methods?

Recent studies of creativity, innovation, and adaptability have found that a fundamental challenge for organizations is to become ambidextrous in order to both exploit existing capabilities and explore new capacities. Put more simply, organizations must be able to efficiently execute on a strategy in order to perform, while also investing in research and development to innovate. At a basic level, organizational innovation requires a process that supports choosing ideas to pursue, organizing teams to implement these ideas, and completing projects in a way that leads to progress and learning.

A less frequently recognized aspect of effective innovation is the role of abductive reasoning. Recent studies show that highly innovation organizations, teams, and individuals find ways to engage noisy information, search for alternative and intermediary models, and engage in holistic and recursive processes. A key component of abductive reasoning is that deals with developing and evaluating explanations for poorly understood aspects of a problem space.

In order to support adductive reasoning, innovation strategy can be linked to practices of storytelling and narrative creation. We are, perhaps, already familiar with the ways that stories can support strategy through communication and dissemination. A story links a strategy to the reasons it matters in the form of concrete benefits for specific human beings: partners, clients, customers, users, consumers. However, stories can play an equally crucial role in discovering worthwhile problems and opportunities for innovation. Furthermore, storytelling can be crucial to creating the types of unanticipated connections that facilitate novel idea generation and development of effective solutions.

Communicating Vision and Values through Human-Centric Design

Anders, A (2018, October). Communicating strategic vision at human scale: a research based model. 83rd Annual Association for Business Communication Conference. Miami, FL.

Communicating vision and values is a fundamental challenge for leaders in any organization. This presentation shares a research-based model for communicating strategic vision at human scale. Through an emphasis on persuasive storytelling and empathetic story listening, it offers techniques for achieving greater alignment across organizational levels and promoting connection and trust between an organization’s diverse stakeholders.

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