The innovation framework designed to shift your team’s thinking, enhance collaboration and achieve new levels of performance to create value in your organization.

 

The Challenge:

You’re tired of sending people to training and not seeing a shift in behaviours, hoped for increases in performance, or promised outcomes.

You have goals to meet and you’re concerned about how your team(s) will help you get there.

You need innovative and creative thinkers focused on solving problems in your business and delivering value to your organization and clients.

You’re navigating change and need a way to help your team develop the agility and resilience to overcome uncertainty and constraints, and help you lead it.

You need a way to de-risk new initiatives. 

The Solution: The ThinkUP Innovation Framework™

Janice Francisco, our founder, developed the ThinkUP Innovation Framework™ through 10 years of applied research into how teams use innovation to respond to change.

A unique and coordinate solution applied in real work settings, the ThinkUP Innovation Framework is used to custom design an action-learning and whole-systems approach to team development. It is used to teach you and your team(s) the innovative thinking skills, tools and process needed to collaborate effectively, work across functions, respond creatively to change and add continuous value to the organization.

Your investment in training using the ThinkUP Innovation Framework brings immediate, sustainable and long-term impact on your organization as you and your team(s) develop the confidence to use the innovation skills, tools and process gained over and over again.

The ThinkUP Innovation Framework™…

    Introduces the FourSight Thinking System™ to organize and guide individual and collaborative thinking.

    An assessment helps individuals understand how they naturally engage in creative process and what this means to how they approach thinking challenges. Collaborative tools help teams think better together.

    Consolidates training by supporting the team in applying the process and tools to a real-work challenge.

    The day-to-day experience of the team is leveraged to reinforce the thinking skills, tools and process so these become part of the fabric of their work. 

    Embeds a practice for reflective thinking.

    You and your team will learn from your experiences in using the process and tools, and build the knowledge and skills necessary to develop mastery on the team and impact across the organization.

    The ThinkUP Innovation Framework provides real value through action learning versus sending people on courses and having them bridge the gap between the generic knowledge gained in the course and the concrete application at work. There is real value of a “critical mass” of participants versus having one or two people learn something then fight against status quo to try and apply it.

    DA, Senior Leader, Finance Industry

     We designed the ThinkUP Innovation Framework™ to support leaders and their teams in maximizing impact on 3 levels in your organization:

    At the individual level, the ThinkUP Innovation Framework optimizes thinking ability by teaching creative thinking and creative problem solving.

    At the team level, it optimizes collaboration and communication.

    At the organizational level, it optimizes and accelerates change and innovation.

    Additionally, leaders gain tools to manage people and delegate work, and through training and coaching, enhance their management skills to lead change and catalyze innovation.

    The Results Achieved with the ThinkUP Innovation Framework™

    Teams who’ve used the ThinkUP Innovation Framework report increases in trust and accountability. Team members collaborate, communicate and work better together. They have more willingness to take on responsibility. They have a greater appreciation for the pressures and decisions their managers need to make, and a greater appreciation of the diversity and strengths team members bring to the table.

    They say things like:

    “You can throw any change at us and we know we can handle it.”

    AND

    “This process takes the uncertainty and ambiguity out of innovation.”

    Here are some of the results our clients have achieved using the ThinkUP Innovation Framework.

    CIO successfully launches a new innovation team

    A new innovation team was forming and operating under ridiculous deadlines; they had to be up, running and delivering real value rapidly. We helped the Chief Information Officer quickly scope what he needed to do to support them and get other C-Suite leaders on board.

    We delivered training and coaching support that allowed the team to break down silos and get other functions engaged in helping them meet the organization’s mandate. Team members quickly gained the trust of leaders and employees in the organization and became in-demand go-to people to help resolve challenging issues.

    The CIO’s take on what we did? “You took the ambiguity and uncertainty out of what it means to be innovative.”

    Time to result: 3 weeks

    Corporate security uses collaborative development to create an innovative security strategy

    A corporate security organization needed to develop an innovative strategy to protect a national organization operating globally with increasing concerns of cyber threat, personal and physical asset security. Security expertise was spread across the organization and they knew they couldn’t develop the strategy in silos. Instead, they wanted creative thinking and collaborative involvement from all staff and leaders so that multiple perspectives and better thinking could come to the table.

    With the ThinkUP Innovation Framework, we helped this organization create an approach to collaborative development that they could replicate as refreshes were needed.

    Staff appreciated the opportunity to learn about the issues facing the business: to contribute new thinking and to see how their efforts helped to shape final decisions on the strategy. More importantly, they reported a new understanding that shifted their thinking from looking at security incidents as single events to incidents that occur in a broader context. They liked that the silos were broken down; it gave them more ways to contribute their expertise to what inspired them to be in the security business—keeping people, property and assets safe.

    Time to result: 4 months

    Facilities organization leads change and improves collaboration across functions

    A facilities organization had to plan a move and new-build of their 3000-person headquarters, while at the same time implement a new service delivery model. All facilities management would be outsourced and they would be working with an entirely new set of partners to design and deliver facilities services. They needed everyone operating from the same vision for service delivery; collaboration and co-creation were critical to success.

    Using the ThinkUP Innovation Framework, we helped them develop the skills necessary to lead change and collaboration across functions and with their new partner. By including the lead delivery team from the new partner on training, both organizations had a common process, language and tools to keep them focused and thinking creatively in the right direction.

    Time to result: 4 months

    Training department delivers new value to science organization

    The internal training department of a science organization was under pressure to deliver more value to their clients who were science professionals. Senior leadership was entertaining fully outsourcing training delivery. The training team needed to better engage their clients to ensure training offerings addressed emerging issues in the field and had professional and industry relevance. And they needed better processes to do it.

    We used the ThinkUP Innovation Framework to improve their client engagement, instructional design and project management approaches so they could deliver relevant training and learning events for their clients. The team went on to demonstrate new value and developed strong relationships across the organization.

    Time to result: 6 months

    Knowledge management leadership team optimizes performance through collaboration

    Organizations need information to build knowledge and make decisions. Much of the work of the Knowledge and Information Management function is to establish and implement standards that ensure information valuable to the organization is captured and easily accessible.

    The Senior Leadership Team (SLT) in this organization wanted to engage members of their Extended Leadership Team (ELT) in optimizing how the ELT supported the SLT in achieving its performance objectives. Lacking the experience, resourcefulness, resilience and strategic thinking skills to lead their teams to create value for internal clients, the ELT weren’t able to bring the thinking to the table that was needed to help the SLT understand and resolve tough issues.

    The SLT reached out to BridgePoint Effect to guide and support them in this challenge. The SLT decided to engage the ELT in a very real-work challenge: developing and implementing a new client services strategy. This project meant changing the way they collaborated with the ELT. Without realizing it initially, the SLT had set the stage for a very interesting experiment. By asking their ELT to be responsible for developing the knowledge and information necessary to inform and make decisions on the client services strategy, they were giving the ELT a front seat experience of the challenges their internal clients faced when managing knowledge and information in their own business function.

    Our solution involved teaching the FourSight Thinking System™ to the SLT and ELT and then designing an on-the-job learning process that supported the SLT as they guided the ELT in applying the FourSight Thinking System to the strategic planning process.

    In collaboration with the SLT, we devised a strategic planning process that integrated with the organization’s established practice. Dividing the ELT into four diverse teams, each including one SLT member, we designed the challenge so that no one team could produce their deliverable in a vacuum. With each team responsible for one of the successive four phases in the planning process, none of the teams would be successful if they weren’t able to figure out how to manage the hand-off of their work to the next team and engage other teams in contributing ideas to their work and validating the acceptability of their deliverables.

    Fortunately, the FourSight Thinking System we introduced to the team has a structure, process and tools to guide and enable all of this collaborative thinking.

    At the end of each work phase, each team conducted a lessons-learned exercise to reflect on their process, and capture ideas and insights. These opportunities for sharing and reflection would allow them to share key lessons with the broader group and build knowledge across the function on how to improve the strategic planning process.

    Early in the strategic planning process, the ELT members shared a major “aha” moment about learning to collaborate in an interdependent environment. They struggled to get started because they realized they didn’t have a discipline and practice for document management that supported them in capturing and sharing the information across the team. There was more to collaboration than putting things into an online repository. A key learning from this “aha” was the connection between documented evidence and how it supports collaboration. You can collaborate more effectively with good document management practices. It’s not enough to do your work and hand it over; you need to balance the context for doing that work with your process, the people involved and the desired outcome. In coming up against a real barrier to the operationalization of knowledge and information management in the organization, they shifted their perception of the services they were providing and the problems they were helping clients solve.

    This realization occurred because of the way the FourSight Thinking System organizes thinking, makes it explicit, creates a natural means to document thinking as you move through the process step, and requires that you assess what happened during the process step to drive a decision on how to move forward to achieving your desired outcome.

    About three months into this project, the SLT was surprised when senior leaders from other functions asked, “What did you do to your team?” ELT members were leading more productive meetings and collaborating with clients in new and better ways to find knowledge and information solutions that met their business challenges. ELT members were experimenting with using the FourSight tools beyond the immediate strategic planning process—they had transferred their learning to benefit other areas of the organization.

    ELT members commented that “You can throw any change at us and we’ll be able to handle it.” They had a new understanding of how to get work done on teams, and they attributed this to having the common language, process and tools to support collaboration and innovation that FourSight provided.

    The SLT recognized they had become a learning organization through the practice of reflecting on and capturing ideas and insights, and creating meaning and value out of them together. The Senior Leader of the group shared that our solution underlined the value of aligning both process and culture-change efforts, and the significant difference a learning culture can make to achieving business results.

    Time to result: 4 months

    Mid-level IT directors spin leadership development into bottom line profits

    This national IT organization had a challenge. Years of cost-cutting, tight deadlines, changes to IT infrastructure, architecture and their service delivery model left staff and their directors entrenched in silos, feeling overworked and doing their best to avoid raising the ire of another group in the organization. Client satisfaction with IT was low, burnout trends were rising in the IT group and directors were grumbling about the impact on people and productivity given all the changes. With more change on the horizon, the VP Human Resources and the VP IT Strategy knew they needed to do something to help IT teams cope with the changes and get everyone working better together. The objective: lead a change in how IT Directors led themselves, worked with each other and with their people, so it became easier to lead the next wave of change and build relationships with clients.

    Our ThinkUP Innovation Framework solution was uniquely designed to integrate with a broader leadership competency development program. Our solution specifically worked to build competencies for innovation, collaboration and communication by introducing the FourSight Thinking System™  and asking leaders to integrate it in how they delegated work and engaged their teams, clients and other functions in meetings. One of the biggest challenges these leaders faced was the fact that many had risen through the ranks in the organization. They’d been on the side of “doing” for many years before they became leaders. They had technical expertise and longevity in the organization. They were respected problem solvers who took on more problem-solving than they should. As a result, first-line managers and staff were overly dependent on directors and weren’t being given opportunities to develop problem solving and technical expertise.

    We wrote about this client in our blog.  We worked in the organization for three years, taking a new cohort through our ThinkUP Innovation Framework program each year.  Our solution produced results. It met the objectives of the leadership development program. It significantly improved collaboration, communication and innovation, and it had a residual impact on employee engagement, staff development and client relationships.

    Perhaps more importantly, in an organization that had been focused for many years on cost-cutting, they learned a big lesson about the value of collaboration. Two directors realized each of their teams were independently and unilaterally attempting to solve the same recurring incident from a different perspectives; neither of the approaches was producing needed results in incident management. In IT organizations, when client-facing systems are down, it costs money. In this case, customers couldn’t make purchases and every hour of downtime represented lost revenue that likely wouldn’t be recovered. By bringing their two teams together to look at the problem using the FourSight Thinking System™, these directors were able to lead their teams to explore the challenge from a number of perspectives and through the eyes of stakeholders. With a shared and deeper understanding of the challenge, the teams were able to generate more promising ideas and develop an extraordinary solution—one that was expected to address this recurring incident once and for all. Time to solution for these teams wasn’t more than a couple of hours; the bottom-line impact was calculated as high, not only in cost savings and expense avoidance for resolution but in the ability to capture sales revenue and keep clients happy in a competitive market.

    Time to result: 6 months

    High-potential Millennial leaders learn to collaborate when they realize Google doesn’t have all the answers

    A financial services organization runs an annual leadership development program. Getting selected to participate in this program is a privilege. Once in the program, in addition to some specialized skills training, participants work to tackle challenges assigned by the CEO. Each quarter the cohort is asked to resolve a complex problem—the answer to which is unknown or unproven and could take the organization in a new direction.

    In this particular cohort, all of the leaders were in the age group defined as Millennials. In the first quarter, the cohort was given this challenge to resolve: How do we become a culture of innovation?

    Throughout the first quarter, the HR Director leading the program observed this cohort had difficulty working through their challenge. Faced with ambiguity and uncertainty, this cohort struggled to organize and focus their thinking; and they didn’t work well together; personalities got in the way of productive collaboration. When they couldn’t get answers from the HR Director and CEO to resolve the uncertainty and ambiguity in the challenge, participants turned to Google to find answers. While they each demonstrated great skill in gathering information, collectively they had difficulty sense-making and building new knowledge that was appropriate to the context – everyone was solving the problem from a different perspective. As a result, the solution they offered didn’t address the problem. In fact, it ran counter to what is needed to foster a culture of innovation because it suggested a select team of individuals, siloed and split off from others in the organization should be responsible for delivering on any innovation needs.

    Our ThinkUP Innovation Framework solution introduced the FourSight Thinking System™ and helped the team develop awareness, knowledge and skills to organize, focus and broaden their thinking when tackling complex challenges. Because FourSight models innovation process, the team developed insight into what it takes to be innovative and gained a process and tools that support collaboration. Friction on the team was reduced and collaboration improved when everyone understood how thinking preferences can derail collaboration and problem-solving, and what they needed to do to work better together.

    Following the training, the team had to apply what they learned to resolve their Quarter 2 challenge. The complex problem was to translate what they learned from us about innovation into a half-day event that would help headquarters staff understand what it means to be innovative and how they could contribute to innovation. As the cohort worked through this challenge, we provided some process coaching to help them over some of the tougher aspects they needed to tease out and helped them understand the finer details of how to manage themselves and each other through the process.

    The cohort rose to the challenge given in Quarter 2 and produced a logistically sound, well-attended and appreciated learning event for headquarters staff, despite the constraints of a tight budget and a short window. In the process, they emerged as a higher-functioning team with greater respect and trust in each other to deliver.

    In the end, you could say the team learned that they could do better than Google: they had new knowledge, skills and awareness about themselves as problem-solvers, innovators, team players and leaders. In a final lessons-learned meeting with the cohort, they counted these as peak learning events: learning how to work outside their comfort zone and remain productive even when faced with ambiguity and uncertainty; understanding their thinking preferences and how these contribute to problem-solving; having a process to think more creatively and contribute to innovation;  knowing where they need to be flexible and develop skills to collaborate; learning the proper way to brainstorm and being able to lead their teams through more productive brainstorming sessions. More importantly, they recognized they had a tangible experience of what innovation looked like, and how everyone, given the opportunity and a creative thinking process and tools, could contribute. 

    Time to result: 2 months

    IT Team learns to rethink innovation and how to deliver value to the business

    Imagine scoping and clarifying the opportunity to use new, leading-edge technologies in your business, only to be told your solutions aren’t wanted or to find you’ve worked hard to implement the wrong solution.

    This IT Team in a highly regulated science field was responsible for delivering new value to their organization. They found they did a great job of clarifying applications for new technologies that could be used in the business, and yet they were having little success in delivering solutions that their business clients wanted or perceived as having value. This IT Team was pushing the boundaries on what was possible in their organization and bumping into implementation challenges every step of the way. It wasn’t very rewarding work; in fact, they said it was frustrating and demoralizing.

    In charge of delivering on a large business transformation agenda to refresh legacy systems and deploy new technologies that would revolutionize how the business delivered services, the IT Team couldn’t seem to get any traction. They needed a way to lead change in the organization, and better engage and collaborate with their business clients in that process.

    We were invited in to help the IT Director optimize his team’s performance and teach process and tools for engagement and collaboration.

    The first step in our ThinkUP Innovation Framework solution for this client was to measure the capability of the team to grow, transform, and innovate by administering the Organizational Growth Indicator (OGI) assessment.

    The OGI assessment uncovered that the team was most challenged when it came to aligning around strategy, collaborating with others internal and external to the organization to resolve challenges, and that they generally lacked the problem-solving skills necessary to drive innovation.  Our work with the team also brought to light that they perceived innovation solely as the implementation of new technology. Outside of their awareness was that innovation is a process of thinking meant to create value in the organization.

    We then delivered a customized training program that used the FourSight Thinking System™ to deploy a shared language, process and tools for innovation. We were able to help individuals across five teams in this organization understand how they naturally engage in creative process and what this meant to how they work as a team to approach innovation. We taught collaborative tools and process to help navigate thinking on the team and showed them how to use these to collaborate more effectively with stakeholders, business clients and other functions in the organization.

    As a result of our engagement, the team learned the value of meeting their clients where they were, first focusing on clarifying what’s not working or required improvement in how they deliver services. They also focused on how to collaborate with the client throughout the entire innovation process. We taught them how to bring clarity to roles and responsibilities in the innovation process so that engagement became easier. They shifted their thinking of their role from that of purveyors of new technologies trying to convince adoption, to that of collaborative problem-solvers searching for ways to create business value. In the process, they learned how to more effectively clarify challenges, and to generate, develop and implement ideas to solve them. By doing so, they were able to build relationships and trust with their clients, and feel better about what they were achieving. 

    Time to result: 3 months

    Product Engineering and R&D groups lead improvements in cross-functional collaboration

    The product engineering and R&D teams of an aerospace firm were being asked to be more innovative. Their organization hadn’t fully developed its innovation strategy and still, the teams were motivated to contribute to new growth objectives. These teams knew they couldn’t innovate in a vacuum and were concerned about overcoming a history of working in silos. Managers were concerned they weren’t seeing significant results from the adoption of Team Agile processes.

    In our ThinkUP Innovation Framework solution, we used the Organizational Growth Indicator to help the Senior Leadership Team (which included the Directors of Product Engineering and R&D) understand where to focus the innovation strategy and innovation skills training for the teams.

    As part of our solution, we introduced the FourSight Thinking System™ to these teams. Individuals completed the FourSight Thinking Profile Assessment and received feedback in the training on how their thinking preferences for engaging in creative process influenced how they solved problems and contributed to innovation. After gaining personal and team awareness of these thinking preferences, the primary focus of the training was to teach these teams how to organize and focus their thinking and show them how the FourSight tools and process could be used to support cross-functional collaboration. In turn, they were able to conceptualize, develop and successfully implement a practice for cross-functional collaboration.

    In a follow-up coaching session, we helped these teams understand how to get more from their Agile practices by integrating them with the FourSight Thinking System™. Using what they’ve learned, these teams are running more productive cross-functional meetings, leading changes in work processes through staff engagement, and they’ve been able to assess the needs and influence the development of a broader culture of innovation in the organization.

    Time to result: 2 months

    Human Resources Branch creates value for employees and clients through collaborative engagement

    It’s typical for Human Resources teams to be asked to help improve employee engagement in an organization, but what if you’re the source of the engagement issue?

    The Senior Leadership Team of a Human Resources group in a large government department was tired of hearing what a crappy job they were doing in delivering value to departmental managers. Despite innovating their service delivery model, they heard the same complaints over and over again: “Why can’t you deliver the human resources services we need better, faster and more simply?” A contributing factor was that human resource advisors weren’t trained to lead creative collaboration; they were trained to compartmentalize departmental managers’ human resources needs into established processes. Advisors weren’t looking for creative solutions to challenging situations; they felt bound to a history of rules and weren’t happy with many of the changes to the recently implemented Human Resources service delivery model.

    We used the ThinkUP Innovation Framework to help the Senior Leadership Team develop a change management approach to “Change the Face of HR” and improve customer experience. The approach involved training the Senior Leadership Team and then training middle managers and supervisors on how to use the FourSight Thinking System™. This gave the entire extended leadership team a common language and process for tackling the challenges associated with Changing the Face of HR and a flexible yet structured approach to engage staff to resolve these challenges more collaboratively. Middle managers, with their supervisors, were then tasked with applying their newly learned skills to engage their staff in the change process and lead their teams through creative dialogue to surface and resolve lingering issues about the new business model.

    From there we trained HR Advisors on the FourSight Thinking System™ and coached managers as they led staff to apply what they had learned to engage with clients to better understand their needs, and to fast track and find creative solutions in rule-bound processes.

    With their new skills, managers were able to develop winning and strategic responses to the need to develop a Talent Management Framework and engage staff more collaboratively in matters that impacted them. Employee satisfaction with how they engaged with managers and in how change was introduced to the branch showed consistent increases over time.  Client satisfaction with HR services showed increases over time as well.

    In a final deliverable to this client, we worked to capture the best practices in collaborative engagement they had learned across the branch, and developed an Engagement Framework and Job Aids for ongoing use. In effect, the branch learned to make the creative collaborative engagement of clients and staff part of the fabric of their work and as a result, was able to Change the Face of HR and deliver greater value to clients in the process.

    Time to result: 6 months

    Imagine what we could do for you!

    How the ThinkUP Innovation Framework™ Works

    The ThinkUP Innovation Framework moves through three distinct phases we call Situate, Educate and Create.

    The SITUATE phase is about defining and planning, as we design our approach to meet the realities of your work context. Working together with the leader(s) of this effort, we articulate the shift in performance you want to see in your team and identify where in your work plan your team will start to apply the new skills they’ll learn.

    This effort can take as little as a couple hours of dialogue, to a day or two of strategic planning. Optionally, you can include a pre- and post-training diagnostic through our Organizational Growth Indicator Assessment to provide quantitative, validated feedback on your return on investment for running this training program.

    The EDUCATE phase focuses on engaging and training your team.

    Once you’ve helped us define and plan the engagement, we work with you to provide messaging to employees about the purpose and expectations of the training they will get.

    Training is highly interactive and engaging and is typically delivered in 1.5 days.

    The CREATE phase is where it all comes together.

    We coach the leader and team(s) as they practice and apply newly learned thinking skills in their work.

    With our support, teams and their leaders learn how to observe and measure their performance against stated objectives. As a result, teams learn how to reflect on and share key learnings, develop a practice of continuous improvement and have impact at an organizational level.

    Your solution underlined the value of aligning both process and culture-change efforts, and the significant difference a learning culture can make to achieving business results.

    CE, Senior Leader, Knowledge & Information Management

    So, if you want to experience the joy of leading a high performing team…

     

    If you want people who can work with you rather than at cross purposes…

    If you want to cut through the buzz and hype about innovation and create real value and impact in your organization…

    Book a meeting with Janice Francisco. Schedule a time to chat or fill out the contact form below.

    We’ll discuss how the ThinkUP Innovation Framework can shift your team’s thinking, enhance collaboration and achieve new levels of performance to create value in your organization.