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Henley Innovation Praxium

The iQuest Hothousing and accelerating innovation

The iQuest, or innovationQuest, is a next generation leadership programme designed to help project teams breakthrough business critical issues and generate elegant and innovative ways forward. The programme is designed for between 2-4 teams (either within one organisation, across a value chain of companies, or chosen from a syndicate of non-competing businesses) to generate breakthrough insights, accelerate innovation and rapid-prototype solutions. By working simultaneously with more than one team, the programme harnesses diversity of experience, encourages sharing of best practice and enables cross team, industry or organisational mentoring and coaching. With its focus on achieving breakthrough, the iQuest also provides an opportunity to research and enquire into the cutting edge of innovation practice, enabling learning to be disseminated throughout participating companies.

1. Creating the container Leaders are often the key, not to the final solution per se, but in creating the container that either enables or disables a team to breakthrough and find elegant solutions. This first phase up-skills leaders in what it means to lead a team through the highs and lows of the creative process, establish the conditions for success and how to onboard a project team into a piece of work that requires a step-change in thinking, learning and creating.

2. Accelerating to breakthrough Once the team has been on-boarded, the challenge is to both extract and collate its collective intelligence (what it knows), so it can then learn to step beyond what it knows and into the unknown. Working in the unknown requires a different set of personal, team and systemic skills, overcoming the perpetual temptation to flat-line and rework what we already know and like. This is an intense period of breaking down barriers, exploring assumptions and learning to see with ‘beginner’s mind’. This in turn moves into a period of allowing new order and pattern to emerge from complexities, dilemmas and paradoxes. Finally, each team can then shift their attention to how they move ideas forward and take their innovations back into their organisations in ways that minimise resistance and maximise their chance of support and of success.

3. Rapid prototyping This third phase takes place back in each of the teams’ respective organisations, and is supported through peer coaching and the guidance of external catalysts. Depending upon the nature of the projects, this phase could be about delivery of a one-hundred day action plan, building an infrastructure for change, or setting up a sequence of rapid prototypes to test and refine solutions. The challenge in this phase is also how to on-board the next community of people (leaders, teams and stakeholders) who need to take this work on, and includes developing strategies to overcome the naturally occurring cultural patterns that are designed to crush anything new and different.

4. Embodying learning This last short phase focuses on reviewing the journey. It involves making meaning and learning from the numerous layers of experience – personally, as a team, for the leader, about the project, about our own organisations’ patterns, best-practices and challenges – as well as reflecting on the function of our innovation in the wider ecosystem. The journey completes with the team claiming their new skills and capabilities so they can be sustainably replicated and transferred to other key projects and initiatives.

A 10 Step journey Setting Up Period: identifying the 2-4 teams, their business

How is this different from other programmes…?

critical issues/projects and a start date.

The Leadership Workshop: a 2-day meeting with the team leaders and sponsors that also kicks off some initial preparation work.

The Resourcing Period: this is the time to ensure the right people are on the team(s) and includes initial experiments with next generation communication. The On-Boarding Workshop: a 3-day experience that simultaneously on-boards each of the teams, prepares them for the acceleration phase, and launches several lines of critical enquiry. The Research Period: this is where small sub-groups take responsibility for working up these various lines of enquiry ahead of the critical Questing phase. The Questing Workshop: a 3-day dialogue which helps teams get behind the presenting issues, assumptions, preconceptions and step further into the unknown together. The Deepening Period: this is often an opportunity to immerse themselves in the underlying knots (entanglements), nets (interdependencies) and threads (pathways) of their Quest.

The Illumination Workshop: a 3-day intensive where the teams step back and learn to see new order and find new patterns. The Testing period: an in-house period where the team seeks ‘council’ and focuses on rapid prototyping and implementation, so as to deliver the difference they set out to achieve.

The nowheregroup has for the last fifteen years been supporting leaders and teams in some of the world’s largest businesses to catalyse business innovation, build cultures of innovation and design and lead organisational transformation. This programme, combined with the research and learning skills pioneered by Henley Business School over the last fifty years, offers a highly concentrated exposure to this cutting edge practice, which has emerged from years of work with companies like BP, Nokia, Roche, Shell, Syngenta, Unilever, Vodafone as well as with numerous government agencies and local communities. So what’s different? Not only is the world becoming more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous but the old ways of doing things are beginning to lack the lustre and creative spark needed to truly shape the future. Meanwhile, a growing number of companies are beginning to catch glimpses of more “post-conventional” futures realising that a huge amount of latent value exists in the space and relationships between teams, departments, functions, stakeholders. These glimpses are providing leaders with a growing awareness that they are currently under-resourced (skilfully or energetically) to evoke the purposeful and innovative futures about which they dream and strategise. At the same time a new way is emerging that focuses on next generation strategy, culture, leadership and communication. The iQuest is a way of learning about and playing with this new business paradigm.

The Integration Workshop: a 2-day debriefing session to extract and integrate learning at every level across the teams and wider community.

Our ambition Our ambition is to have rolling iQuests in the UK, mainland Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific. This would in turn establish diverse regional communities of companies, and a global eco-system of leaders and teams who are regularly cross-fertilising their insights and experiences about next practice. This would include online, interactive space, international events and co-creative conferences, all held together through next generation research activity

Contact details

To help attract and set up each of the iQuests (with 2-4 project teams) we are hosting a series of Dialogue and Dinner events to reveal glimpses of this new practice, and outline in more detail how the iQuests works.

For more information please contact: Claire Hewitt Praxium Director Henley Business School Greenlands Henley-on-Thames Oxfordshire, RG9 3AU

If you would like to attend or help set up and co-host, a Dialogue and Dinner, please contact Claire Hewitt. Tel +44 (0) 1491 418 866

Dialogue and Dinner

The iQuest  

The iQuest, or innovationQuest, is a next generation leadership programme designed to help project teams breakthrough business critical issu...

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