Navigating the Maze: A Guide to Five Stages of Innovation Evolution

What does progress look like when you’re the team tasked with doing the new stuff?

It’s a question that comes up at most of our in-person gatherings. What are the characteristics of each stage of innovation, the things you ought to be focusing on, and the risks that you may not make it to the next stage?

For the second installment of our “Innovation Illustrated” series, a collaboration with the renowned visual thinking firm XPLANE, we explore the subject of making progress—which can sometimes feel like navigating a maze. There are important decision points, dead ends, and eventually, we hope, a feeling of accomplishment.

You can print out the illustration and use it with your team to spark discussions. What stage are you at? Are there priorities or risks that are specific to your company, but not listed here? Is your vision of the “promised land,” or the final stage, different from ours?

We’d love to hear what you think, or your ideas for future installments: editor@innovationleader.com. Thanks to everyone who provided input as we developed this illustration at our D.C. Field Study and subsequent video chats!