In a presentation I did at an ITAA conference in Stamford, USA in 1991, I proposed that organisations would gain more from change if they were ready to innovate effectively. I then presented six stages of innovation, based on the discount matrix (Schiff, 1975) (and using an early donkey bridge of having the name of each stage start with the letter I for innovation):
Step 1 – Identification – what is happening? For an organisation this might involve measuring levels of sales, services or products provided, absence levels, or similar. For an individual manager, it may encompass knowing your employees and their styles, knowing equipment capabilities, and all the things that observant managers pick up when they get away from their desks and “walk the floor”.
Step 2 – Information – how is it a problem? We need to understand the significance of what we are observing. We need more analysis – a decrease in sales could be a problem but might mask the fact that we are selling less at higher prices and making more profit.
Step 3 – Ideas – what could be done about it? We need to recognise that the situation could be different, and then generate ideas. Truly creative solutions may start from impractical ideas.
Steps 3a and 3b - Incubation and Insight – there may be two optional extras within this stage. For incubation, we may sleep on it, in reality or metaphorically. Insight is that sudden flash of inspiration when we realise we have an option.
Step 4 – Invention – develop an idea into a solution – we must now work out how to develop the idea into something workable. This may be purely a mental process or we may need to design tools and equipment, draw up plans, or even build something tangible.
Step 5 – Investigation – now we need to check the solution for acceptability. We need to consider our own opinions and those of others, and evaluate the chances of success for the solution. Will it work, will be applied, will it really solve the problem, change the situation for the better?
Step 6 – Implementation – putting the solution into effect. This last step needs plenty of energy and commitment as we will be changing the status quo. Any stages we may have omitted may impact negatively now and we may need to revisit them.
The link I made to the discount matrix was based on the treatment levels in the matrix diagram:
Pattern 1 – we discount the stimulus, fail to notice the evidence;
Pattern 2 – we are aware of the evidence but do not realise it reflects a problem so we take no more action;
Pattern 3 – we recognise the problem but do not believe that anything could be different or changed, so we do not look for any ideas;
Pattern 4 – we accept that things could be different but not believe the people involved could behave differently, or we do nothing with our ideas because we doubt that anyone will bother to change – we fail to realise that it is our opinion of human capability that is getting in the way;
Pattern 5 – we do not believe that we or others are capable of solving the problem – we assume that people will react negatively to our ideas anyway so we do not progress them.
Pattern 6 – we do not progress because we sabotage our own energy through our own lack of commitment – we are convinced that nothing will make any difference.
My point in the article was that if we understand these patterns, we can design and structure processes and introduce confrontation and support so individuals within organisations can learn to identify and deal with discounting – and can therefore innovate effectively.
Later, of course, I presented this model as the Steps to Success. This first appeared in 1996 and more recently in 2009 and 2012. More about those in Part 2 of this blog.
Hay, Julie (1991) Choice, Chance, Change: Creating Future Realities in Organisations. In The Stamford Papers Loria, Bruce R (ed) Stamford: Omni Press 162-172
Hay, Julie (1996) Steps to Success INTAND Newsletter 4:3 September
Hay, Julie (2009) Working it Out at Work - Understanding Attitudes and Building Relationships 2nd edn Hertford: Sherwood Publishing
Hay, Julie (2009) Transactional Analysis for Trainers 2nd edition Hertford: Sherwood Publishing
Hay, Julie (2012) Donkey Bridges for Developmental TA 2nd edit Hertford: Sherwood Publishing
Schiff, Jacqui & Contributors (1975), Cathexis Reader: Transactional Analysis Treatment of Psychosis, New York: Harper & Row Publishers Inc
© 2018 Julie Hay
Julie is a fan of open access publishing so feel free to reproduce any of these blogs as long as you still attribute it to her.