May 5 chat: 'A Common Model for Innovation' with Paul Hobcraft and Jeffrey Phillips

Renee Hopkins's picture
Chat Date: 
Thu, May 05, 2011

On Monday, April 25, Paul Hobcraft of Agility Innovation and Jeffrey Phillips of OVO Innovation published a Collaborative Innovation Reference Model.   You can read about it here.  They did so in the belief that innovation remains a cottage industry, restrained by the lack of a common approach or reference model.  This lack of a common model creates uncertainty for potential corporate innovators, who must decide which innovation method or approach seems the most appropriate or valid.  The lack of a common approach creates uncertainty because there are many competing methods and tools – open innovation, business model innovation, disruptive innovation, needs-based innovation – that all seems reasonable but supporters who benefit from the advocacy of their approach. Paul and Jeffrey will be our guests for the May 5 Innochat as we discuss "A Common Model for Innovation."

Here's more background from Paul and Jeffrey:

We believe that the innovation space needs a common starting point – a collaborative reference model.  Certainly many other large and successful industries have common standards – the IBM PC, for instance, or common accounting protocols in financial services.  With these shared and transparent frameworks, clients can gain knowledge and understanding and find people with skills and capabilities.  Consultants and practitioners demonstrate that their solutions are based on a common framework and then create differentiation based on their unique skills.

A common model for all innovation probably isn’t practical, but a common reference framework may be feasible.  If so, we believe it will accelerate the demand for innovation, reduce risk and uncertainty and improve the opportunities for success.

What is the Collaborative Innovation Reference Framework (CIRF)?

We developed a model in three parts, starting from the “top” and peeling the onion to expose new layers.  The first portion of the model considers aspects like strategy, people and process, and defines a reference framework.  The second portion of the model uses the framework to define five key capabilities that must be considered in any innovation effort.  Those capabilities are:

  • Strategic context – how does innovation align to and support strategy?  How are the goals communicated?
  • Trajectories, Discovery and Insight – trend spotting, scenario planning and customer insight to determine what unmet or unarticulated needs exist within the evolving market space
  • Systematic Innovation Process – what is the “workflow” your team should follow and how is it defined?  How do people understand their roles?
  • Go To Market – once you have a good idea, how is it transitioned to a new product or service, launched into the market and commercialized?
  • Enabling and Scalable infrastructure – what knowledge, tools, methods, skills, software and other “infrastructure” enables innovation and helps your company to scale its capabilities

The third portion of the model examines innovation methods or “types” (ie Open Innovation, Business Model innovation, etc) in context of the reference model, to identify what factors within the five capabilities are most important for success based on the innovation type.


  1. Is innovation a “cottage” industry?  If so, is that because of a lack of a standard approach?
  2. Would a collaborative, common reference model accelerate innovation adoption?
  3. What should be included in a collaborative model if it is needed?  Does the model presented by Hobcraft and Phillips begin to achieve those goals?
  4. “Who” should develop and validate such a model?


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