How to enable visionaries to change the world?

By understanding the FourFactors® Innovation Wheel

At The HMT, we believe that brands can change the world. But we all know that change doesn’t just happen. Change goes hand in hand with challenges. Have you ever wondered why companies can develop brilliant technologies or discover new science but fail to successfully bring them to market? In our 15 years of existence, we have seen many brands, and regretfully many good solutions, fail and we always ask ourselves the question why. Understanding the why helps us to support our clients in preventing failures. You might think that failure is mainly due to the product not being good enough: it is not tasty, it is too expensive, or simply it doesn’t look good enough. But actually, it is not always the product that is to blame for the failure of innovation. A KEY component often overlooked when implementing and managing change (i.e. innovation) are the people in the company. The internal company culture can get in the way of – and even resist – change.

In cooperation with Lund University and the Masters of Applied Cultural Analysis, we have researched the link between the innovation cultures within organisations and innovation successes. We identified the barriers to change and how you can overcome them. Conclusion: In order to enable visionaries to bring crucial innovations to the world, first we need to identify them and know how to work with them! Wondering how? Keep reading to find out more!

I (we) need a hero

The world has no shortage of pressing issues, many of which can be addressed by the nutrition industry. To give you a good example of such a challenge, let’s travel to The Netherlands together: a small country that is highly dependent on the agriculture industry and quite advanced when it comes to dairy production. Growing the Dutch dairy industry was all part of the plans made by the government some decades ago, where farmers received subsidiaries to grow their farms, get more cows and make production more efficient. What the government did not consider at the time was the effect it might have on the climate. But now, alarming facts and science are brought to light that we must change the way we eat and produce our food to save the planet. For the Netherlands and its farmers, this means lowering CO2 emissions by >50% by 2030 i.e. the government says: “We need less cows!”. But what happens when the government makes such an abrupt decision for a group (traditional farmers) who are not used to change? People start protesting because they are not able to picture how to implement this. The result: they simply resist change!

Figure 1 Dutch farmers protesting against change

And this is not only happening in The Netherlands, the same is happening in other countries where change is affecting the way of living. Think about increased petrol prices, water usage and of course food inflation…

So how do we enable visionaries?

First, we must understand the lifecycle of change and where the clash is between the government (who rely on science & facts) and the traditional farmers who are needed to create change. You can clearly see in our lifecycle model that there is a gap that needs to be filled when you want to bring new science & facts (governmental decision) to the mass market (traditional farmers).

Secondly, you must understand the innovation cultures needed to bring change and new innovations to the market and understand the questions they ask! Let’s tell you more about this…

The four archetypes of innovation NEEDED TO BRING CHANGE TO MARKET

Together with Lund University, we identified the barriers to change and how you can overcome them by understanding the Innovation Profiles in the company that are needed to bring change to the market. The four archetypes that were identified are:

  1. 1. The Explorer
    The ones that EXPLORE new knowledge.
    Always asking WHY?
    Albert Einstein
  2. 2. The Developer
    The ones that take on new knowledge and DEVELOP new products with this.
    Always asking HOW?
    Thomas Edison
  3. 3. The Marketeer
    The ones that see opportunities and take the newly developed products & ideas to the MARKET.
    Always asking WHO?
    Ray Kroc (Mc Donalds)
  4. 4. The Optimiser
    The ones that OPTIMISE the organization, characterised by a strong corporate culture
    Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA)

Let’s spin the FourFactors® Innovation Wheel!

If we connect these innovation profiles into a FourFactors® Innovation Wheel you see that different competencies are required to bring change to market. You need to be able to explore new knowledge and develop products from this knowledge. Then you need to be able to take these products to market and of course, optimise your business. If a company’s innovation culture profile is biased to one area, this can cause stagnation and block the flow of concept ideas to product launch. Thus, you need to develop an innovation culture which allows all different competencies to prosper, interact and collaborate. Otherwise, the innovation wheel will stop.

Spinning the FourFactors® Innovation Wheel will help you to:

  1. 1. Clarify what roles and functions support innovation
  2. 2. Respect & understand the different innovation profiles within your organisation and clearly see where the gaps are- do you need to recruit more Explorers? Or more Optimisers?
  3. 3. Identify how management and internal communication facilitate innovation
  4. 4. Make all profiles in your team work together: learn how to identify the visionaries (the Explorers) and enable them for faster innovation to market.
  5. 5. Give a recipe for what the organization can improve to spin the innovation wheel faster and better!

Intro WIN

Last week, our founder Peter Wennström and consultant Marit Veenstra were invited to speak at the 10th-anniversary WIN event, about exactly this topic. We asked the audience to take the FourFactors® Innovation wheel test to discover which profile matches them. WIN is a matchmaking organisation that connects start-ups with bigger companies to accelerate innovation and reach the market faster, in the areas of energy, water and safety. Sharing the same mission, it only makes sense to partner up and accelerate change together! Understanding each other’s innovation profiles supported the matchmaking process… can you spot the visionaries?

HMT team invited to present FourFactors® Innovation Wheel at WIN event
FourFactors® innovation wheel results from WIN event


Are you looking to accelerate change in your company, but you feel like the internal culture gets in the way of it? Do you have an internal team building event coming up and want to know the innovation wheel in your team? Don’t hesitate to contact, and we can spin the FourFactors® Innovation Wheel in your organisation!

Read the case study on how we helped Orkla Foods Sverige improving innovation capability by understanding innovation culture.