News & Views

How Facilitation Ensures Innovation

When it comes to innovation, every team needs facilitation. How Innovation Consultancy can help you overcome 3 common barriers to innovation.

Innovation is critical to your company’s survival. Today’s CIOs and product developers need to move IT upstream into strategy and design products that meet unmet needs. Not only do you need to stay one step ahead of user expectations, you need to operationalize impactful changes while running the current business.    

The problem is, most leaders, not just those in IT or product design, are not trained in guiding multiple teams through innovative thinking and collaboration. Relying only on your deep technical and operational expertise may actually get in the way.

Don’t try this alone. Unguided innovation meetings waste time and drain morale.

If you’ve ever driven into deep mud, you know the serious frustration of not getting any traction. You’re pushing the gas but your wheels are just spinning in place. Unfortunately, this type of wasted energy also shows up in unguided group discussions. It is just as frustrating.  Use facilitation to give your teams and their ideas traction.

Organizations waste almost 2 months per year* because:

  • 75% of teams have no formal training on how to run a brainstorming session
  • 25% focus on irrelevant issues
  • 73% of people in meetings work on other things


There’s a way to avoid this unnecessary waste of time and energy. Innovation facilitation experts can help you overcome the psychological and technical barriers that hamper everything from idea generation to execution. Without a framework or a facilitator in place, most teams struggle to make the transition.  

When innovating, every team faces 3 barriers at every stage.

Barrier #1: Psychological

Everyone says they want creative ideas, yet in the business world, the unknown often feels like a threat. People don’t feel comfortable with uncertainty and when they feel a loss of perceived control, it can trigger the fight or flight response, shutting down creative, flowing thought.  Innovation consultancy understands this so-called “creativity bias” and uses a framework to guide teams through the uncertainty and widen their perspectives.

Barrier # 2:  Communication

You need to make a business case for the changes you’re proposing. You need alignment across departments and full participation. Can you step away from specs and into story? Can you inspire your teams to reflect? How will you generate ideas worth testing? Facilitators provide the framework to keep things moving so you’re always focusing on where you’re going and what you’ll need to get there.

Barrier #3: Technological

CIOs and IT Directors are technical by nature, which is essential to your role. But during critical aspects of transformation or innovation, a technical bias can get in the way of connecting with your peers in a way they understand. Facilitation can support CIO messages or 5-year plans by translating the technology benefits to the business benchmarks.

We developed a proven methodology to help CIOs and product leaders get 4x more productivity out of their innovation meetings.

An innovation facilitator guides your departments through everything from team-building and alignment to effective brainstorming, decision-making and execution. When you’re selecting innovation facilitation, ask which methods they’ll be using with your teams. The more effective innovation consultants help you apply multiple concepts, including:

  • Lean startup mode
  • Human-centered design
  • Design Thinking
  • Creativity Coaching
  • Change Management
  • Six Sigma and other continuous improvement techniques

Facilitation helps you channel your team’s energy and focus.

Facilitation gives you the structure so you can get the traction you need for forward momentum. All barriers mentioned above exist in each phase of the innovation process.

Here’s what you can expect at each stage of Vectorform’s innovation facilitation:

Phase 1: UnLock – We use deep listening to gather your information and insights, understand your passions, and motivations. The goal for this phase: unLock a meaningful vision.

Phase 2: UnBlock – We help you reframe problems into opportunities. Tap into new ways of thinking and experience structured creativity for generating unique perspectives and ideation. The goal for this phase: accelerate ideas into action.

Phase 3: UnLeash – After unLocking and unBlocking, you have a solid foundation for creating prototype solutions.  UnLeashing goes well beyond theories; we’ll help you turn those bold new ideas into solid reality. The goal for this phase: close the innovation execution gap and generate real-world outcomes.

Facilitation helps you overcome common innovation pitfalls.

Unguided brainstorming sessions tend to overlook the social, cognitive and basic time management dynamics, effectively killing ideas before they’re formed.  Before you rally your IT, business and R&D teams, see how innovation facilitation can help. Vectorform systematically addresses common barriers in each of the innovation phases and has been shown to result in:

  • Programs that yield 10X in ROI
  • Moving teams forward 2-3X faster than typical project management.
  • Portfolios that typically see 30X in value

Ready to invent? Schedule a free 30-minute consultation to discuss your next big collaboration.

Related News & Views

Interested in learning more? Let’s start a conversation.