“Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of the things that May be only?”

            – Scrooge to the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens)

We had a lot of fun creating this year’s Christmas card. We hope you enjoy it.

In coming up with the idea, we had to do some serious retrospection about innovation: What are the innovation ghosts from the Past that we’d all rather forget? Where are we today in Canada when it comes to innovation? And what might the future hold?

We decided to let the dreaded suggestion box represent the Ghost of Christmas Past. We also realize that suggestion boxes are still very much in the present in many organizations, along with ideation sessions, surveys, misaligned team building efforts, “Dragon’s Den” style events and more. While each has their place in innovation, thinking of these “innovation theatre” tactics as the sum total of what you need to do to be more innovative in your organization is one idea we hope you will leave in the past.

The Ghost of Christmas Present has received the latest innovation report card. As I’ve mentioned in this blog space previously, Canada gets a “C” grade in the 2015 Conference Board Report How Canada Performs, and ranks ninth out of sixteen peer countries on innovation performance. What is a poor Ghost to do? Ours is frantically searching through the wastepaper basket of rejected ideas to see if there’s anything that got missed.

Which brings us to the future.

In the quote at the top of this blog, Scrooge begins to realize that while his past and present were downright scary, and his future is looking even grimmer (i.e., he’s dead), perhaps he has some power to change the “Yet to Come.” We do have control over our destiny, if we choose today’s actions mindfully and strategically.

Thus, the question becomes, “What will you change today to create your organization’s innovation future?”

In our cartoon, we show a few hints of what your future might hold. Diagnostics, useful information, and innovation management are all critical paths to managing the process of innovation. We’ve talked in this space about creating a culture of innovation, of wiring your organization’s DNA for innovation. In 2018, you’ll hear a lot more from us on how your organization will need to learn to “think” its way through innovation and the type of thinking that’s required to do so. This is innovation of the “Yet to Come,” and it’s within your power to choose this future.

Wherever you are on your innovation journey, we wish you a merry Christmas, joyful holidays, mistakes that offer gentle lessons learned, and the the bridge you need to fuel for your innovation future.