Developing an activity-based framework for Innovation

Working with ideas and collaboration needs to be simple, effective – a humanistic, natural way of working. It needs to link thinking with doing as reflection in action as described by Donald Schön in ‘The Reflective Practitioner’ who draws attention to the natural and effective way we work ‘naming and framing’ tasks as natural progression of a situation feeding back on those working on it.

The Soft Systems Approach, by Peter Checkland

Collaborative Ideation

I have developed a methodological framwork centered on facilitating collaborative ideation – based on an examination of Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) and Systems Analysis.

The Soft Systems Approach by Peter Checkland applies a simple methodology to complex, real world problems. SSM is therefore not an academic specialisation – but a response to people working in the real world in a natural way addressing normal, complex problems and issues requiring clarification for ideation, development and conceptualisation. It provides a useful methodology for placing creative human activities in the context of what sequences are used when working conceptually to provide solutions to understanding problems:

My innovation process model is developed in the broad terms of Peter Checkland’s Soft Systems Methodology: It is adapted to a simple 3-phase interaction-ideation-collaboration iterative framework.

The CO-IDeate Framework

The CO-IDeate framework is not a process-explicit model, but a method for understanding the needs facing how teams are to work using co-ideation to implement solutions to challenges – the ‘problem’ situation. ‘Problem’ in commas, since the method-framework is not intended to replace more detailed systems-analysis models but supplement as a simple effective tool and process description.

Soft Systems methodology is a tool that is not only extremely helpful to designers, educators, business, government (policy analysis) and research, but for any group or team wanting to co-create. It is:

  • A total problem-solution defining and solving cycle captured in an activity model

  • Considers values and goals equally with sharing ideas

  • Defines and shares (ideas) for understanding consequences

  • Introduces the desirability of thinking in alternatives

  • Can also be applied to simple issues when time is not available for meetings to reach understandings and agreement

  • Can easily be applied and adapted to systemising a flexible interactive decision-making process based on the application of collective intelligence.

  • A simplified model of a complex adaptive system of cognitive interaction for analysing, understanding and implementing complex projects

The Why Questions

CO-IDeation is a project-framework based on answering the why-questions  based on simple identifiable processes to develop:

  • Concepts and conceptual understanding

  • Strategies oriented towards situation-independent knowledge

  • Solutions and mechanisms bringing them into being

The CO-INNOVation framework is developed so it can be easily communicated  as a ‘filter’ – enabling models with more detailed properties to be co-ideated. It uses the activity language introduced earlier, reinterpreting 20th century systems models with a 21st century mindset.