Innovating our Common Future is the motto of the ISPIM 2021 conference in Berlin. With our Special Interest Group, we expect the worldwide leading innovation professional from research and advanced practice. Together with our colleagues from Borderstep we are hosting this event and contributed Values-Based and Sustainability-Oriented Innovation Management focus theme of the conference.   Changing customer and stakeholder values and normative frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations create new challenges and opportunities for innovation. We call for demonstrations of innovation approaches and solutions for key societal challenges on local, regional and global levels and how these can create our common innovation future.  

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In this webinar in collaboration with CreativeLabs, Henning introduces the values-based innovation management framework and presents unique facilitation methods. Learn how to generate ethnographic customer insights to drive product and service innovation, how to model values-based business and how to review business policies to drive innovation. Each approach is exemplified with selected cases from UXBerlin consulting projects.

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Innovating in Times of Crisis is the motto of the upcoming ISPIM Virtual Conference. We are featuring a new Special Interest Group with a dedicated track on Values-Based and Sustainable Innovation with some of the worldwide leading innovation specialists from research and advanced practice. As co-hosts of the conference we also contribute Values-Based and Sustainability-Oriented Innovation Management as focal topics. Changing customer and stakeholder values and normative frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations create new challenges and opportunities for innovation. We call for demonstrations of innovation approaches and solutions for key societal challenges on local, regional and global levels and how these can create our common innovation future.   20200522_CSI_Game_Instructions_ISPIM

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The current global crisis is shaking up everyone. Everybody’s life and every business is affected. While most people are still overwhelmed by the speed and diversity of related news and countermeasures, for some theorists these reactions already prove mankind’s ability for radical change based on scientific anticipation, values of solidarity and a primacy of politics and multilateralism over short-lived interests. However, will it allow us to look beyond the day into our common future?  

The management view

Corporate managers are well aware from previous crises that new profits, but also heavy losses in market share, arise in phases of economic downturn, more so than in phases of growth. Most of them anticipate that many of these losses and gains will outlast the acute crisis situation, and that innovation is their best vaccination against such a crisis. Some suspect that today’s customer concerns and desires make tomorrow’s business models, and look for ways of their sustainability-oriented renewal.  

The customer view

Likewise, many customers take a crisis as a chance to review their routines, and to reflect upon what is important to them, what they are missing most during a lockdown, and what they care about in any case. Even though some individuals are seeking to turn back time and suspect evil forces behind the situation, many are dealing with the crisis creatively, as any crisis pushes our readiness to change and innovate.  

The social researcher's view

Social research points out that the resulting shifts in behaviour and values are tricky to detect. Close observation and well-informed interpretation are required to see how and why customers do what they do: Which previously weak signals now turn into mainstream? Which new behaviours and values emerge that lead to a depreciation of taken-for-granted routines and push the adoption of innovations? And which customer insights can be derived from what we have been missing most?  

Beyond the new normal

Most people are now striving to get back to what is called the “new normal”, and imagine it like the life before the crisis, just with a few acceptable handicaps. However, we need to get beyond just going back to get in touch with what we care about. Along with an increased readiness for change comes the risk of seeking innovation primarily in crisis management mode. Already managers and politicians are negotiating which types of (combustion, electric, hydrogen) car engine purchases should benefit from state funding to overcome the economic downturn due to the crisis – instead of clarifying a shared vision of sustainable mobility first. According insights (e.g. from Agora) and scenarios are already available. Such foresight might keep them from state funding of generic categories of economic actors (e.g. small versus mid-sized companies) and interest groups independent of their environmental performance. Based on this it would be easier to see that recovery plans for combustion engines are not the way forward, but that whole ecosystems involving new services, regional planning and infrastructures, legislation and tax models are crucial parts of the agenda. However, moving towards a desirable future, it may not suffice to meet minimal environmental requirements and thresholds. Instead, we should agree upon and strive for a positive impact in each industry and each firm.  

Advancing from coping to caring for our common future

The conference theme of values-based innovation and the headlines of the global innovation conferences – ISPIM 2020 (Innovating in Times of Crisis) and ISPIM 2021 in Berlin (Innovating Our Common Future) – indicate this shift in perspectives. They also point to a major challenge we are facing over the next few months: How to proceed from coping with the current crisis to caring for our common future. Accordingly, this question will guide closing panel this year (with Allen Alexander of University of Exeter, Joana Breidenbach of betterplace.org and Klaus Fichter of Oldenburg University & Borderstep Institute for Innovation and Sustainability). What distinguishes coping from caring? Would you agree to the following contrasting juxtapositions?   Actually, coping and caring are not either or, nor a sequence of activities – as this table may suggest. Instead, the ways in which we cope with crisis already reflects the ways we care for our future – the second perspective is just more comprehensive.  

Upcoming isses for innovators

Moving on from coping to caring, how can we include sustainability-oriented goals into normative directives for companies and economic stakeholders, and transfer them into domain specific challenges, goals and innovation projects to achieve? How can we succeed with new business models that foster sustainable development? How can we continuously assess related activities against our normative goals? And how should we engage the stakeholders (especially customer and employees) in the process? The upcoming conferences 2020 online and 2021 in Berlin (both co-hosted by UXBerlin) address these and related questions. We will be happy to have you join us!

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We started a new project introducing future scenarios to the Customer Journey team of a large vehicle manufacturer. In the first session we reviewed trend exploration and scenario analysis, and developed a raw scenario for future vehicle services. We will follow up with normative scenarios and scenario management and introduce a forward-looking team to managing their way of dealing with uncertain futures.

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We have successfully completed an ethnographic research and customer journey project for TUEV NORD Mobility. Together with representatives from our client, we created 3 future state journeys, came up with 10 new concepts, 56 ideas and a lot of newly discovered or reformulated challenges for digitization and organizational development. Adding on to the promised results we also delivered two executive posters, one summing up the key insights and the other one providing an overview of the current customer journey and three future state journeys for different personas. We thank our client representatives for the excellent cooperation!

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As partner of IZT we are part of the European Horizon 2020 project 5G-Victori, providing ubiquitous super-fast, reliable connectivity and seamless service delivery. The project focussed on large scale trials of next generation of communication networks and services for advanced use cases in Transportation, Energy, Media, and Factories of the Future. We contribute sustainable business models and the values-based innovation approach to generate alternative business models for each vertical use case. Each should be aligned with the SDGs, ist impact should be measurable following the DECD (2018) standard to link SDGs and targets to impact models and indicators. For more information check the project website. There you will also learn what victori stands for: VertIcaldemos over Common large scale field Trials fOrRail, energy and media Industries.

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In a medium-sized company, based on the values of the employees, we have elaborated upon the core values of the company, its overarching purpose, an ambitious mission and a vision for the future. Using various collaboration methods we have addressed the crucial questions: • Values: What is most important to us? What do we stand for? • Purpose: What do we want to achieve? • Mission: Where do we want to be in five to ten years? • and Vision: How can we vividly depict the world we are striving for?   By combining and iteratively revising answers to these questions with selected employees, the vision can be formulated as a desired image of the future with a "vivid description" (Collins & Porras 1996).

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The +3 magazine asked, and Henning Breuer was among the professionals who answered the question how innovation succeeds, within 1440 characters: "The very concept of innovation (unlike the ones of product improvement or ideation, for example) implies an extraordinary level of ambition, success, and risk. There is no simple recipe for successful innovation. However, organizations can create the necessary conditions and a culture conducive to innovation. For this, they need resources that are not absorbed by everyday business. They need methods and experience to think ambitiously into the future and to handle risks in a learner’s manner. Above all, they should know why they want to be innovative at all. A short-lived hunt for new trends and market opportunities is neither efficient nor successful. Companies need to clarify their ideas of what is desirable, and important to customers, employees, managers and other stakeholders. These values offer a heuristic for the development of new business fields, orientation for their design and starting points for the integration of even contradictory interests. Values understood in this way help formulate visions and a mission that is worth working for. They do that especially well when it comes to shaping our future, developing new processes, products, services, business models, or designing new organizations and networks."

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