Innovation to Your Inbox

Of the many ways to reach people, email still works. Sometimes innovation is best doing new things with old tools.

This is not your typical post. Today I’m launching the Censemaking Newsletter. Every two-three weeks I’ll send some of the best on trends, tools, techniques, research and case studies on innovation with the goal of making this big topic more accessible and useful to those tasked with trying to make change happen.

I hope you’ll consider signing up.

Newsletters are powerful communication vehicles because, unlike other forms of communication, we opt IN to them just like those of you who’ve opted in to receiving Censemaking posts into your inbox every time one is published. Thank you for that.

We build trust (and earn it) when we opt-in to a conversation and it’s through conversation that we learn. When you opt-in to read, view, and listen to something you are taking the most precious expendable resource you have (attention) and giving it to something.

That’s quite a gift.

The newsletter is a way of saying thanks and respecting that gift by giving back in ways that fit how we are learning online. It’s the first step toward changing the conversation.

Changing the conversation

We are blessed and cursed with more data (and the resulting information) than we can possibly process. This is particularly salient when we talk of innovation because it comprises so many different fields beyond whatever topical area you seek to create change in.

It requires, among others things:

  • Design: This is the discipline of innovation. How we can find, frame, follow, and address problems through craft, production and ‘design thinking’ is the bedrock of an innovation and this is what designers do.
  • Psychology & behavioural science: Knowing how people think, socialize, process information, are motivated, organize as groups, and the fear and attraction that draws them to or from something new. This about understanding how we change.
  • Organizational behaviour: If we are looking to change our organizations, we need to understand the dynamics of leadership, management, and change within and across institutions.
  • Systems thinking: Innovation takes place within ecosystems, markets, networks, and many contexts that influence what we want to do and what those we seek to change do. Systems science offers us the tools and thinking strategies to help see and act better in these dynamic contexts.
  • Strategic foresight: Innovation is not about change today, it’s about making change happen tomorrow. That means paying attention to what ‘tomorrow’ might look like and the trends, patterns, and social, technological, economic, environmental, political (and policy) factors that are at play and how they might shape the near (and long-term) future.
  • Communication: A new idea or product isn’t much good if we can’t reach others who can benefit from it. Knowing what to say, how, when, where, and through what channels to spread our message is absolutely critical (hence the changes here at Censemaking).
  • Evaluation: Lastly, we can’t claim impact if we don’t measure or monitor what we did, right? We can’t learn without any feedback and if we don’t pay attention to our work where will we get it from? Evaluation is the innovator’s secret advantage and the key to making real, sustainable change happen.

All of this is to help you — an innovator — to learn.

How do we learn? Through timely information, and ability to process and integrate this (through conversation), and the chance to apply it. Censemaking is going to help you do the first two so you can do the third better.

Valuing attention

Yesterday the the Washington Post’s own Express commuter paper ended its publishing run by signing off with the headline: Hope you enjoy your stinkin’ phones.

The communication landscape is transforming.

The ‘state of the art’ for reaching people through online videos is as low as 6-seconds. SIX!

I’m not sure that’s the best idea for something as complicated as innovation, but the message is that attention is valuable and shifting is worth paying attention to.

Censemaking will be featuring more posts (and posts of different sizes and types — bites, snacks, and meals), and will soon feature multimedia resources as well. The library is being re-developed and new Censemaking channels are in development to help you learn more, better, in ways that keep with what you need, what you like, what you can handle, and where the attention market is going.

Thanks for paying attention. It’s the greatest gift you can give and it’s appreciated. I look forward to earning your trust and attention with something special in the days, weeks, and years to come through Censemaking.

— Cameron

Photos by Austin Distel on Unsplash and  Stefan Cosma on Unsplash

Cameron D. Norman

I am a designer, psychologist, educator, evaluator, and strategist focused on innovation in human systems. I'm curious about the world around me and use my role as Principal and President of Cense Ltd. as a means of channeling that curiosity into ideas, questions, and projects that contribute to a better world.

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