In organisational neuroscience there is a change model created by Ray and Coombes 2019 which is called the S.T.E.A.R.I.N.G Change Model ™. It is a brain friendly approach to steering change in who engaged in large scale change initiatives. The name is an acronym for five interrelated components to consider in a change process: Strategy Talent Engagement Adaptability Roadmap. The name also pays tribute to the notion that change is not an event. Much like innovation, right?

So we can use the same type of models to the same type of thinking can be applying to the Innovation process to gain progress, navigate discoveries during the process and make some adjustments to support successful commercialisation of a solution.


Simon Sinek as spoken often of understanding your ‘why’. Communicating the “why” helps people understand the purpose and their impact on that purpose.


It gives a sense of certainty. Purpose is one of the key ingredients in high performing teams and whilst startups might have only small teams imagine the difference and speed to market when we have an aligned, high performing team.


They “why” is also a critical element when seeking investment. Being clear about not only your “why” but the strategy you are going to use to achieve your why and sustain that competitive advantage is critical.


Your strategy needs to be supported by evidence. We need to be able to gather evidence about the customer needs or unmet needs driving the demand for your innovative solution. How big is the market? Who are the major channels to market? Who are our stakeholders and major influencers? What is the data telling us? What’s the benefit, problem or opportunity your solution is addressing?


What impact will your solution have? Does it make sense to do this now? What type of “change management” might be required with the target user groups?


One of the top reasons innovators fail is due to the wrong team composition. Founders need to be able to assess whether they have the right mix of people involved in the innovation process. Money and resources is often tight prior to the first investment round so it is critical that we have the right people, at the right time and focusing our attention on the right initiatives.


In many cases our founder and innovators are not the right people to be conducting research, pitching the idea, establishing distribution channels or conducting business development.


Social network analysis has shed light on the important role that key influencers play in the successful commercialisation of a product. These are the people that other people go to for help and support.

Having the right champions during the innovation process can meet needs for positive self-image: significance, autonomy and equity. It also builds resilience and mitigates risk by being objective and removing “founder bias”.


This can save a lot of time and money, down the track when you suddenly realise you haven’t properly explored the assumptions within your business plan or need to validate your assumptions about the needs of your customers and channel partners.


Founders need to look at how they need to support people within the innovation ecosystem. What do our teams need to feel comfortable? What do our stakeholders need to give them some certainty.


What can we do to support our channel partners and customers during the rollout of innovation. We need to look at the barriers and motivations of all user groups and identify the types of communication and support required to give them confidence and assurance. This will appeal to the natural need to feel cared about (relatedness) and the needs for autonomy and equity.


Questions to ask: do you have a feedback mechanism from your stakeholders – customers, employees and channel partners? Is there a clear communication strategy and initiatives in place for each user group? How are we going to provide ways for people to provide feedback about the impact of our solution?



We need to be mindful of the impact of ambiguity and uncertainty and a volatile or recently changed environment. How can we ensure that we are responsive to changing circumstances, customer research or environmental factors, and make the necessary adjustments? How resistant will we be? How resistant will the team be to a sudden change in direction?


Is the change in direction validated or are you listening too much to commentators instead of potential customers? A critical consideration is what will be the signals that indicate we may need to make adjustments, or when do we need to abandon something because it simply isn’t the right solution or the circumstances have changed so much that it may be unwise to continue?


Would it be wiser to prototype and test a change in a smaller area of the business and learn from this? Have we done enough in ensuring people in the team can speak up and challenge direction if they feel we are missing the mark? When we don’t support individuals to come forward and call out potential problems, your solution can be very expensive in terms of time and money and people – something we have short supply of during the innovation process.


People need to have clarity about the road ahead. They need to have clarity about their role and responsibilities and their accountability. ‘Clarity’ and “dependability” are both identified in Google’s Project Aristotle in their high performing teams.


Clarity meets our need for certainty and accountability leads to dependability. When people understand how they are contributing, it meets our needs for significance. When people understand how work is allocated and the expectations of them, it can meet needs for equity. We can have a clear strategy but unless we also have a clear roadmap — the execution of the commercialisation process can fail.


Founders need to celebrate the smallest of wins and achievements along the way. This can guard against fatigue and frustrations in the early development stage where you often cannot see customers engaging in the product as you are still building it. There are often interdependencies during the innovation process, and we need to feel confident that people will get things done on time and meet expectations or communicate early if there are issues with this. Communication is vital throughout the entire process of innovation and commercialisation.


Vali8 Innovations is a cheerleader for founders, entrepreneurs, product managers and business owners who are looking to innovate and commercialise new products or solutions.  We have designed a framework to accelerate success for businesses in the startup and scale up phase by building tools such as the Valid8 Readiness Score, the Valid8 Compatibility Matrix and the Valid8 Proof of Concept trials.

Are you ready? Increase your chances for success and mitigate founder risks by contacting us.

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