We teach Idea Flow Mapping to map the journey of a new idea, from inception to implementation, including how it was impacted by its organizational and social context. The process enables leaders to better diagnose and reduce friction and optimize the healthy flow of new ideas from anywhere in the organization. Idea Flow Mapping helps with designing pathways for new ideas to go through healthy processes of de-risking, socializing, and scaling. This can lead to profound improvements in organizational design.
The Secret Life of Ideas
Every new idea, project or enterprise has a life cycle from inception to completion that is as unique as a fingerprint. This is because every idea exists within a unique context, faces a unique constellation of risks and opportunities and requires the engagement of a unique constellation of stakeholders to engage. As the idea progresses through its life cycle it passes through different stages. Each stage results in either the end of the idea life cycle or its progression onto the next stage. Early idea life cycle stages include things like sensing emerging need/possibility, idea inception, activation of champions or early adopters, etc. Middle stages of an idea life cycle often involve deeper learning efforts, piloting, iterating, de-risking and clarifying implementation requirements. Later idea life cycle stages include things like official approvals, funding allocations and scaling. By becoming explicitly and consciously engaged in understanding and designing the life cycle of an idea, friction can be reduced and Idea Flow increased. This allows people to bring more purpose-drive ideas to life with reduced levels of effort and social friction and increased levels of engagement and empowerment.
Idea Flow as a Human Health Intervention
The 21st Century has revealed a catastrophic gap in our societal capacity for addressing the later stages of Idea Flow, the stages of application, scaling and ongoing adaptation. One cataclysmic exemplar of this societal imbalance between knowledge creation and knowledge application - we know a lot about the sustainability imperative, its human health impacts and what we must do to secure the health and wellbeing of current and future generations, but we have applied, scaled and adapted very little of what we know.