Innovation Soft Power – and the expeditious path

by Nicolas Bry

Innovation Soft Power - and the expeditious path‘How do you design things? Is there an expeditious path to frame an innovative venture?’ asked me a friend of mine while we were visiting a Tech-Hub in Tel Aviv.

Most importantly, I guess, is to be convinced that creating is not a solitary act. Innovation is a collective move, where knowledge flow is the seed of success. Embed it in your mindset, and arrange your invention machine accordingly.

Step 1 is to found creativity: select a growing domain, something that is shaking, emerging vivid technologies, evolving social behaviours, or market disjunctions. Detect pains, scope problem to solve, define your innovation intent. Match newness with social imaginaries, find roots in your culture: innovation is not the negation of the past. Forge your belief, shape your goal, draw a metaphor: these are qualifying foundations for the journey that will lead to shaping your innovation identity.

Confront your ideas. Chat with parent business units from the outset: innovation is not a combat sport, it’s a team sport. Create necessity for change for them, capture weak signals, find relay, provide context. At that early stage, listening, and potentially tweaking your innovation intent is easy.

Concurrently compose the team, find sharp skills and complementary mindsets. Adjust your belief to become a shared one, let team members develop their own view: a sign of belonging is when they start moving their autonomy.

Step 2 is the creative iteration process: select features, stage experience (whatever you call it: mock-up, pre-totype, or MVP), and open dialogue with users. Figure out the product’s effect on your customer, catch the killer app. Refine, extend, and test again. Ensure continuous knowledge circulation within the team along the loop process. Keep in touch with your relays in the BUs, and share what you learn .

Step 3 is about engagement with your innovation: prepare your product for market and a cooperative ecosytem.

Design API platform to let people bring value, providing a toolbox for design to partners. Indicate direction, express meaning, and let go: design the outcome, they will craft the outputs. Use your API to build your own product.

Follow up on connections on your platform, iterate, learn, and expend thanks to cross fertilizatiling users feedbacks: be what redHat calls a ‘maintainer’, someone who maintains the consistency across the community.

Market your innovation, leverage social media, expand the conversation with customers. Prepare to scale.

If you can’t be agile, try to stick together to weigh in the scrum: less arrow, more wood.

Go on the road to evangelize, innovation by influence is the way to start a movement. Over time I realize how it is less vital to design things by myself, and more impactful to sense the trend, and inspire.

image credits:,, Ferrari, spiral road shangai

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    future of TV - Leading by InnovatingNicolas is a senior VP at Orange Innovation Group. Serial innovator, he set-up creative BU with an international challenge, and a focus on new TV experiences. Forward thinker, he completed a thesis on “Rapid Innovation”, implemented successfully at Orange, and further developed at He tweets @nicobry

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  1. Nice poetry…

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