The Principles of the Challenge Dialogue System™

Since it began, the Innovation Expedition has been building a methodology for collaboration which is built on a set of working practices and principles. They inform all that IE does and in particular its work on the Challenge Dialogue System (CDS)™, about which more later. As we prepare to launch the International Institute for Innovation (3i), we thought we should remind all who might want to engage with IE and the 3i what these principles and practices are. They are:

  • Clarify Intentions and Context: Help groups early on, before undertaking major projects, to identify their key challenge and then set proper context for that challenge in order to elicit commitment of others.
  • Utilize Diagnostics: Use simple diagnostic tools to identify priority areas that need attention.
  • Nurture Collaboration: Advocate and become skilled in nurturing collaboration as the DNA (critical element for success) in the knowledge economy.
  • Engage in Co-Creation: Stress and employ the power of co-creation with clients in developing plans for projects.
  • Apply a Communications Template: Use a standard proven CDS Communications Template in a variety of formats to engage teams in action initiatives and to develop the skills of strategic communication in reporting on plans, active listening, strategic thinking, synthesis, integration and clear communication.
  • Build Trust: Recognize the importance of trust in supporting collaboration, co-creation and improved performance—through behaviour, model the three key elements for building trust.
  • Engage in Dialogue: Use the Keys to Successful Dialogue to encourage dialogue rather than debate among team members.
  • Utilize Humour: Deliberately demonstrate a sense of humour to encourage frank dialogue.
  • Set Expectations: Articulate assumptions and expectations prior to any meeting to facilitate clarity and faster decision making.
  • Apply Criteria: Establish criteria for choices before rushing to make them.
  • Understand and Practice Innovation: Learn how to think about and practice innovation in terms of systems, supply chains, and the concept of a culture of innovation in which ideas lead to actions which dramatically improve performance.
  • Draw on Imagination and Out-of-the-box Thinking: Stimulate the use of the imagination as a foundation for practicing innovation and strategic foresight.
  • Practice Strategic Systems Thinking: Understand and practice systems and strategic thinking as the language of the knowledge economy.
  • Focus on Learning: Develop a capacity for accelerated and agile learning and for providing leadership to create learning opportunities.
  • Access Global Intelligence: Be efficient in tapping into global networks and applying a global perspective to all projects (local, national and international).
  • Utilize Technologies: Develop a capacity to choose and successfully use appropriate information and communication technologies (ICTs).
  • Apply Creative Mentoring  Processes: Achieve results through purposeful facilitation built around all these operating principles and make a commitment to practice the Art of Mentoring.

The work of the 3i will reflect these principles and practices. Seventeen is a lot. Our experience is that we need several to be in play for collaboration to be effective.  We thank Don Simpson for refocusing our attention on these principles.

By Stephen Murgatroyd -