Aware, Exploit and Sustain Innovation Framework

Aware, Exploit and Sustain Innovation FrameworkI have a secret confession to make, I collect innovation frameworks, there I’ve admitted to it, and feel just that little bit better that one of my innovation secrets is out.

This collection has built up over eight or so years and I have certainly seen some really excellent ones but also some seem pretty thin, those “oh dear” moments! I suppose I collect these a little like collecting pictures; some rare, some new, some promising but you can recognize and appreciate each for expressing that often difficult task of encapsulating innovation in any organizing framework.  Sometimes it simply boils down to each to their own, as long as it does the job, then fine.

Although I’m always curious to see how these seemingly can differ so much. Many I’m just convinced don’t go underneath the initial organizing framework top picture and I feel that is wrong. Some just seem to skate on innovation ‘thin’ ice.

I’ve used one over a number of years that I feel builds innovation systematically.

For some years I’ve been using one within my advisory business as a great frame to build from. It is based on three phases that you need to work through- aware, exploit and sustain and has a support base essential for this to work.

Let me provide a visual of the organizing frameworkThe Aware Exploit & Sustain Innovation Framework

The framework attempts to be a fairly comprehensive one that I would ideally want to (fully) work through if asked to build any innovation capabilities and competencies. It is an exploring framework, meaning that sitting behind it is a significant set of sub sections or component dimensions, which build towards this top level frame shown above.

I’m not claiming this is ‘the’ answer or even a distillation of all the frameworks I have collected, it was developed fairly independently and just happens to work for me. Usually I use this in much of my early engaging work with clients, so as to begin to build up a comprehension through this organizing framework, so as to give some underlying substance to their emerging innovation activity.

Any Innovation Journey has lots of complexity underneath it.

Each of the component dimensions has considerable complexity to dip in and out to build a reasonable understanding of what does make up innovation. Let me illustrate this through one example from each of the stages- Aware, Exploit & Sustain and finally the necessary supporting or foundation part, Support.

1. An example of the component the Innovation Context in the Aware Stage

Innovation Context Example in Aware for Innovation

2. An example of the component Resource Development in the Exploit Stage.

Resource Capabilities Example in Exploit

3. An example of the component Networks within the Sustain Stage

The Example of Networks within Sustain for InnovationNetworks component example in the Sustain part

4. Finally an example of the component of Communication in the Support Stage

Communications components example for Support

Whatever framework you do select- do select carefully.

My advice on selecting any organizing frameworks is to compare and contrast, to explore and get underneath. Achieving a comprehensive understanding of innovation is often badly lacking for many in their need to understand. The one I’ve provided above is certainly capable to deliver a solid grasp of what is needed in building innovation capabilities and capacity.

I certainly believe that and framework does have these three phases of becoming Aware, a need to Exploit and an ability to Sustain any innovation momentum and also provide the necessary Support.

If you are curious to go into this further then you know where to find me. I remain always curious on how innovation is depicted so as to build my knowledge further. As always, I am ready to discuss the need for an innovation organizing framework in your particular innovating circumstances.

image credit:

Join the global innovation community
Don’t miss an article (3,600+) – Subscribe to our RSS feed or join us on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Paul HobcraftPaul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities.

Paul Hobcraft

Paul Hobcraft is recognized for his consistency to champion and informs on innovation. He focuses on building innovation capacity, competencies, and capabilities and promotes innovation in informative, creative and knowledgeable ways, piecing together the broader understanding of innovation. Paul continually constructs a series of novel and relevant frameworks to help advance this innovation understanding and writes mainly through his posting site of where he regularly publishes his thinking and research based on solutions that underpin his advisory, coaching and consulting work at




Four ways you can ensure employees take accountability for their work

By Hubert Day | April 5, 2023

One of the most important driving factors for any successful business is a high-performing team. Having people working for you…

Read More

What is digital upskilling and why is it important?

By Hubert Day | February 15, 2023

            Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash In a world of business that never stands…

Read More

Leave a Comment