Task 3

Deviate

Deviate: Innovation Design Task 3

The task of Deviation is to deliberately put the known path aside and co-emerge a novel and new path via considered experimentation. 


The goal of Deviation is not to come up with a solution or a product — that comes much later in the process. The goal of Deviation is to develop a new and novel approach to your matter of concern. 

This “approach” can range in scope from a radical but small scale innovation, to something paradigm busting and truly worldmaking. 

Here, during the task of Deviation, the ontological new emerges via a process of exaptive design. While the multiple practices of Engage and Disclose are holistic and do overlap, with Deviate that is not the case. It is important to do these sequentially.

7. Staging: This involves two things: (1) 

  1. defining the scope and scale of what can change, and
  2. deciding what to block and what to follow. 

It is here that one sets up what Erin Manning calls the “enabling constraint” — that which you refuse. This comes out of the activity of Uncovering. 

Ideally one blocks or refuses a paradigm or world. Such a blocking will potentially lead to the greatest possible novelty.  

As critical as what is blocked is the question of what is followed. This grows out of the activity of Exploration where promising unintended possibilities have been discovered. Once the initial conditions of blocking and following are staged, it is time to move onto the activity of Experimentation.

8. Experimenting: With what is blocked and what will be followed in its place, one carries out a series of experiments, following, stabilizing and co-emerging unintended possibilities. 

These experiments follow what we term the Exaptive Innovation Process. This involves a series of iterative experiments in blocking and following that move one further into the unknown — the new and novel.

9. Transversal Articulation: As the practice of experimentation progresses, one needs to take stock from the perspective of the emergent novelty that is being developed. 

As humans we are deeply connected to our past (and the reasons for what we do and did). This practice allows us to step out of that history and see the new for what it is, and what it could be. We are pausing to articulate our transversal (sideways) moves in their full radicality. So we can continue to experiment, but from the perspective of what is being born.

10. Worlding: The preceding practices lead one into an emerging novel paradigm/world. Worlds are not discovered but co-emerged and co-evolved

Now it is time to pause the experiments and attempt to collectively articulate what new approach and what new world is beginning to emerge. This practice is both speculative and ontological. The crux is to keep the emergent difference alive and not reduce the possible to the merely probable. The articulation of worlding is also the articulation of tools, practices, embodiments and territories (it is not an idea). A novel assemblage is forming.

Worlding: one can think of the entire process of innovation as this task. 

The danger is to see this activity as “ideation” where a vision of the future is made and that everything from this point forward is just planning and executing on this vision. That would be to fall back into the “God model” of innovation. 

The activity of worlding does not magically produce a world but rather builds out an emergent path into a possible territory that will later take on a life of its own.

[Ouroboros: Quite often the activity of worlding falls back into the known. This is to be expected. Radical innovation is difficult. The activity of Ouroboros is to assist in pushing your emergent novelty further via a series of paradoxical techniques where the world turns upon itself and emerges as another.]

11. Strategic Joining: Other worlds are possible and yes other worlds can be speculatively developed. But, how does this have a meaningful transformative impact on our reality? Strategic Joining seeks to begin testing answers and possible pathways to transformational impact.

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The Innovation Design Approach is
leadership's blueprint for organizational
innovation.