Step#4: How – choose your future role

Step#4: How – choose your future role

In the previous step of the Cycle of Innovation you set the main goals for innovation.In this step you choose the manner in which you will achieve them. You will envision how your future role in the eco-system will look like. In the first three steps of the Cycle you gathered important building blocks that will help you with it. They also offer you a frame in which different scenario’s can be explored and valued, and the best scenario can be selected. This is not an easy step. It always is quite a puzzle to find a credible spot at the horizon that suits your start position, piggybacks the trends, fulfills customer needs and is likely to meet the primary goals in time. But if it is not clear where de organization intends to go it is impossible for employees, suppliers, customers etc. to help you to get there.

Using current assets

Defining your future spot in the eco-system is like a big puzzle. First your future role should relate to your current market position and assets. The more your future role is based on the assets of your organization now, the more likely it is that you will have a competitive advantage getting there. The further you step away from your current assets, the riskier it gets.

Tapping into trends

Secondly your future role should fit the market and tech trends in your eco-system. Market developments and new technologies are likely to reveal new opportunities and threats that you want to anticipate to with your new role.

Design thinking – why future customers will turn to you

Thirdly in your future role your organization should have a strong position to offer valuable products and services to your customers and ask a fair price for it. Your market claim should be simple. It should be clear why future customers will turn to you. You will be aware of all the beneficiaries of your new role and how your organization will fulfill their needs.

Solving problems and chasing ambitions

Fourthly your future role should offer a solution to the biggest internal pains of your organization, your future ambitions and fit the overall strategy of shareholders or higher management.

By investigating different scenario’s and mapping them to these four aspects you can find out what the spot on the horizon fits best.

Once you know where your organization is heading and what the main goals are you can proceed with Step #5: make a plan and work the numbers. Need help? Here’s a checklist that can help you to get it right.

Do you like to comment? Let’s start the conversation.

What are your experiences in how innovation is managed? Can you relate to the steps of the Cycle? Do you know inspiring examples of organizations that are doing it well? Or failing miserably? This autumn the 11 posts of the Cycle of Innovation will be assembled in a book together with the best comments with attribution. As a token of my appreciation you receive a copy of the book per mail just in time for Christmas.


The DOK 5 Cycle of Innovation is an easy-to-use method that helps existing organizations to innovate effectively & efficient. The cycle consists of 10 steps that precede each other logically. They help to envision, plan, focus and deliver results without ignoring the existing business. Read more about the Cycle of Innovation.

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