I was lucky to be interviewed by Niclas Apitz from Technikzentrum Lübeck. We had a good talk on how you can move the need for innovation up the ladder by talking about what is nice to improve and what is need to improve.You can find the interview in German by following the link and below is the interview in English.
What does innovation mean to you?
My aim is to simplify innovation so I define it as improvement through new thinking. You can complicate anything by calling it disruption, incrementel, user-driven or you can use another buzzword, but at the end of the day it’s about getting rid of some problems and fulfilling some potentials. I love improving a performance or a situation for someone and I do that by helping them think and act in new ways, so to me innovation is not only focused on products or processes. It’s about all kinds of improvements.
What role does collaboration play inside the innovation process?
Collaboration and diversity is very important. It’s easier to think new thoughts when you meet people with a different mindset. In social relations we tend to seek consensus and harmony, but when you are working with innovation you should invite people who don’t understand you, because they can’t see your problems. They see something entirely different and that can create solutions you can’t come up with yourself.
Today, there are several methods for startups and innovative companies to choose from – please explain what “The 1925 Model” is and what makes it so unique?
To me it’s just a habit, but I have talked to people working with different methods and they zoom in on three things.
The crystal clear question is new to them, because it requires them to define the possible improvement before starting. A crystal clear question should include a task, an ambition and a target group. What is that you want to improve? How much do you want to improve it? Who will benefit? If you are able to include that in your crystal clear question you will also know exactly when you have actually answered the question. You will be able to measure your success.
The comparison stage is very fruitful to many people because that’s where the actual new thinking begins. The fact finding stage is easy. That’s just data and data beats opinions, so that’s fairly easy, but the comparison stage forces you to play with associations and asks your brain to work in a more fuzzy way. Some are tempted to skip that stage because it at first seems unnecessary, but they end up loving it because it adds so much value.
What triggered you to develop The 1925 Model?
A simple need. I was in charge of a project where students, entrepreneurs, business people, artists and scientists were to collaborate and innovate together. I needed to come up with a working method, so I wrote the story in the book to make a likely scenario where they would succeed. Stories often seem more real than reality so the project participants quickly accepted the scenario and from there I developed The 1925 Model.
Do the rules of The 1925 Model apply to startup companies the same way as they do to corporates?
Yes. In Denmark I have used The 1925 Model in private companies, municipalities, public schools and the Defence Ministry. They all get it.
What advice would you give to students interested in founding a company? Is it possible with the 1925 Model to determine whether it is a good idea or if it is a great idea?
I would invite them to use a new tool called the Improvement Index. That helps users determine whether their suggested improvements are nice to improve or need to improve and whether they create value before or after the decimal separator. That determines whether the improvements are whipped cream or Schwarzbrot. They are both nice but Schwarzbrot has a more lasting value.
Where can I get more information about the model and purchase the innovation box?
You can find it all at www.the1925model.com
Do you also offer train the trainer courses, for those who want to be become a coach of the model?
Yes. We already offer a two-day certification course, but soon we will offer a train the trainer concept. The educated trainers can work inside their own company or be hired by The 1925 Model to run sprints, accelerator programs and training sessions for our customers. We are also working on a subscription based business model, where customers can set up an innovation department or boost their current department by buying improvements delivered by subscription.