Discovering what Innovation is made of // Weak Signals

Was genau ist eine Innovation? Wie entstehen Trends und wie können sie in der Praxis eingesetzt werden? In ihrem Buch Road Trip to Innovation stellt Delia Dumitrescu, Trendanalystin bei TrendONE, die wichtigsten Begriffe der Trend- und Zukunftsforschung vor und gibt eine Übersicht der verschiedenen Methoden der Branche. In 4 Teilen möchten wir Ihnen Auszüge aus dem Buch vorstellen.

Teil 1: WEAK SIGNALS

//How to Boil a Frog


If you drop a frog into a kettle of boiling water it will definitely try to escape. The reason being the temperature difference is too extreme (20°-100°). However, if you put a frog in a kettle of water at room temperature and then start to slowly warm the water, the frog will hardly even notice when the water starts to boil.

The moral of this story: we easily adapt to changes; we may not even notice them if they happen gradually. With this funny and insightful tale I began my morning discussion with Elina Hiltunen in Helsinki. Elina Hiltunen, founder of What’s Next Consulting, carried out her doctoral thesis about using weak signals in organisational environment and has been interested in this subject since 1998. She is now Finland’s leading expert on weak signals and focuses on issues like anticipating and innovating future changes by utilising them. Through weak signals (the first bubbles in the water as it heats) one can foresee changes.

While talking to Hiltunen, I started to understand what this weak signal thing is all about and how they are useful futures tools for companies. Elina offers companies methods, education and inspiring lectures about weak signals, which she briefly defines as signals of emerging issues. In practice, she explains, “they can be news stories or observations about technological and social innovations, posts in the social media, observations of novelty products in exhibitions, or simply a modest wall-sticker of an alternative movement”.

Igor Ansoff, a Russian American applied mathematician and business manager who is known as the father of strategic management, coined the term ‘weak signals’ in 1975 and, according to him, it is “the early detection of those signals that could lead to strategic surprises and to an event that has the potential to jeopardize an organization’s strategy”.

On a more proactive note, weak signals mean that today’s information can foretell the changes in the future. Nik Baerten, future explorer at Pantopicon, a studio of future explorers based in Belgium, expounds on the subject on their blog: “Change often starts with a ripple before it turns into a wave washing over us. Spotting signals of change early – when they are still murmur on the sideline – often means a strategic advantage, if one can interpret the signal correctly, anticipate and act upon it successfully”.

Auszug aus “Road Trip to Innovation”, Kapitel “Scanning”, p.36-37

Wo genau kann man diese “Weak Signals” entdecken? Wie werden aus Weak Signals Trends? Welche Hilfsmittel sind notwendig, um mit Weak Signals zu arbeiten? Mit diesen und weiteren Fragen befasst sich Delia Dumitrescu in den anschließenden Kapiteln. Erfahren Sie mehr auf unserer Webseite!

 

Road Trip to Innovation – How I came to understand Future Thinking ist die Geschichte einer neugierigen Persönlichkeit, die sich auf einen Road Trip begibt, um herauszufinden, was Innovation wirklich bedeutet.

Delia Dumitrescu ist die Autorin des Buches. Mit unserer Unterstützung hat sie in ihrem Projekt viele spannende Interviews mit Unternehmen aus der Zukunfts-, Innovations- und Trendforschung realisiert. Ihre Erkenntnisse über angewandte Theorien und Methoden der Branche fasst sie in einer leicht verständlichen Sprache und anhand vieler farbiger Illustrationen zusammen.

Das Buch ist für 29,90 € bei Amazon erhältlich.