Use Vectors to create a graphical representation of your innovation strategy over time. It helps you determine what you are intending to innovate, the steps that will be needed along the way and how different innovations might relate to one and other.
Used in workshops or small groups of colleagues or partners, the vectors tool is a form of back-casting, in that it ‘starts at the end’ with a vision of your future. The fundamental question of back-casting asks: “If you want to attain a certain goal, what actions must be taken to get there?”.
1. First, select time horizons. Write the current year in the centre circle. The outer circle might be three years in the future or as far away as 30. The middle circle represents halfway. You can add other circles if you need more steps.
2. Next, ‘stand in the future’ by writing the intended innovations that you want to bring to market by each vector. There are four individual vector lines on the tool but you can draw in more if needed. Each vector can lead to different innovations (e.g. different elements of a portfolio) or it can represent different parts of a complex innovation (e.g. a new vehicle). It can be useful to use scenario planning techniques at this stage to work out the future context in which our innovation will find itself.
3. Finally, work back from your future innovation to the present day noting down what essential steps you will need to take. These steps might be major breakthroughs in technology, new capabilities you need to acquire, or new partners you need to connect with. As you plan your innovation pathway you may find that individual vectors split into branches or merge with others over time.
Source: Inspired by Richard Seymour, Seymour Powell