Implementation Strategy
At this point, we have developed learning theory, in the form of the “See,
Reframe, Experience, and Grow” learning loop. is loop describes the
innovation experience from the gathering of background knowledge (sens-
ing) through the “eureka!” moment (reframing) and on to the required
post-eureka transition to delivery of true innovation.
is learning loop, in turn, allowed us to develop practical paths to build
individual and team innovation capability. We developed practice exer-
cises and tools to guide individuals and teams to sense more eectively.
ese exercises—individuals performing deep observation, teams devel-
oping current-state maps, and people and teams building the le half of
an A3—provide people a deeper and more holistic understanding of their
work and its assumptions. ese exercises enable facile “reframing,” the
eureka!” moment when vast connected and disconnected bits of knowl-
edge can suddenly crystallize into new congurations with tremendous
innovative power.
To enable and capture the eureka moment of reframing, we developed
other tools and practices to help individuals and teams break through
their current frames of reference and, once through, redene their innova-
tion performance. Future-state mapping helps a team codify its vision of a
breakthrough system of work activities that is no longer constrained by its
current working methods, but instead routinely operates at breakthrough
performance levels. Meanwhile, we developed Critical Question Mapping
) to enable both the understanding of what must be innovated and
to create a platform to enable a continuous string of eective, breakthrough
reframing, eureka events. Finally, we developed learning plans and prac-
tices based on A3 thinking, high cadence, and reection to ensure smooth,
eective integration of proven innovation as projects progress.
176 • Creating a Lean R&D System
Taking this to a more strategic level, we developed “organic” man-
agement thinking centered on creating environments in which people
can ourish. Organic management practices can be engaged by anyone
in the organization. Engaging in these practices supports the personal
growth of the practitioner as well as the growth of everyone around
him or her. e business processes improve, but so do the learning
processes. As success builds, the emotional processes that support
the internal life so important to individual creativity and innovation
improve as well.
What we have not yet done is touch on how to approach an entire organi-
zation, engage it with Lean thinking, and transform both its performance
and capability into a living, growing Lean research and development (R&D)
system. e problem is not a small one. Each R&D organization, no matter
its size, comes with a portfolio of projects with a breadth (and oen a myr-
iad) of functions; with a set of aligned and conicting goals; and with polit-
ical agendas, needs, and worries of its people. It also comes with an existing
culture with a thought process about what works, what does not work, and
how work should progress. Each R&D organization is peopled with indi-
viduals of diverse experiences and a spectrum of interest in new ideas of
all sorts. Some people will embrace new ways of thinking, while some will
reject it in favor of prior methods that have worked for them. Some people
will have a lot of experience in “how it is done around here,” while others
will have little experience or ties to the current way of thinking.
is means that no matter how eective and powerful our philosophies
and tools or our mentorship and management thinking, developing a
strategy to install a Lean R&D system will never be a straightforward,
formulaic exercise. Lean implementation failure stories are not hard to
come by, but in fact, strategies for implementing any strategic initiative are
fraught with peril. Several studies
suggest that strategic change eorts,
from general strategy to corporate reengineering and Total Quality
Management (TQM), fail signicantly more oen than they succeed, per-
haps as much as 80 percent of the time. Lacking a proven strategy for Lean
P. Senge, e Dance of Change (New York: Currency Doubleday, 1999), 5–6; A. Raps, “Implementing
Strategy,” Strategic Finance 85, no. 12 (2004): 49–53; D. Miller, “Successful Change Leaders: What
Makes em? What Do ey Do at Is Dierent?” Journal of Change Management 2 no. 4 (2002):
359–68; P. Strebel, “Why Do Employees Resist Change?Harvard Business Review 74 no. 3 (1996):

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