IRIS Model of Technology Innovation

George Siemens, who writes the blog, wrote an article on the technology innovation/adoption process. He calls it the IRIS model. Here is the graphic he uses to explain it:


Siemens writes in The IRIS Model:

When we encounter a new tool or a new concept, we are experiencing technology at the innovation level. We’re focused on “what is possible”, not what can be implemented. We’re more concerned about how a new idea/tool/process differs from existing practices. After we’ve had the joy of a shift in thinking and perspective about what is possible, we begin to research and implement. This is a cyclical process. Attention is paid to “how does it work” and “what is the real world impact”. At this level, our goal is to see how our new (innovative) views align with current reality. 

I think this model fits much of what happens in the Innovations Lab.  The Fellows and myself mainly explore in the “I” and “R” part of the process.  Although, we often try things on a very small scale to see how it has an impact in the “real world.”  So we dabble  a little in the 3rd level also — the second “I“.

The other part of this model that I like is implied.  The ratio of I (innovation) to S (systematization) should be quite high.    I don’t know what the real ratio is, but thinking about what is possible, exploring new possibilities is a lot easier to do than the last three stages.  Research, Implementation and certainly Systematization each take increasingly significant more time and effort to do (and to be blunt, cost more.)  Therefore, “front-loading” the process in the Innovation stage isn’t just idealistic, it is a practical, cost-effective strategy.

Hope you all are having a good weekend!

I’ll see you on the web!


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