Houston Tech Rodeo Roundup: Innovation… There’s a Framework for That!

The Houston Tech Rodeo took place last week in a new hybrid platform. The startup event across Houston hosted a multitude of in-person events that were primed for networking. While their digital platform provided a plethora of live seminars from innovators around the country.

One of the virtual sessions on Wednesday, May 19th, examined how to properly build a framework for innovations. The seminar was hosted by R. Leigh Johnson, Business Strategist, and Agile Coach, and was presented by The National Black MBA Association, Houston Chapter, and The Houston Tech Rodeo.

To begin the session, Johnson used a quote that best describes what innovation means at its core, “innovation is the creation of significant new value that did not exist before,” – Greg Satell, Forbes.

Innovation is not only creating a new value but a significant one. An example can be found in one of the stories on txinnovators.com that was published earlier in the week, Draper Startup House (DSH). DSH provides a great example of innovation creating a significant value as the organization allocates its resources to provide housing, assets, and collaboration to aid all levels of entrepreneurs.

Johnson uses a framework to help innovators and startups organize their work teams, provide value for others and ultimately, understand who they are and why they are innovating. By understanding the why, how, and what, an innovator can deliver value to its customers.


Through the use of an innovation circle, Johnson builds a framework to help innovators find clarity, purpose, and an understanding that everything flows from the inside out. If an innovator does not understand what they believe in, then how can they justify or properly dictate their actions?


The innovation circle highlights:

  • Growth strategy: why are you innovating? What are you trying to do? What is the reason?

  • Product vision: how are you creating value for your customers? How are you delivering that?

  • Consistently execute: to standardize your innovation, you must develop consistency with your actions and purpose.

While this innovation circle and frameworks were built off of common sense, understanding where you are, what your purpose is, and then aligning it within your framework is how an innovator can truly deliver that significant, new value.

Johnson was able to summarize his frameworks by dividing them into three categories, the why, how, and what.

  • Framework: Innovation growth- understanding what the purpose is and identifying a strategy based on your purpose (why).

  • Framework: Scrum- understanding what your product will look like, ruthlessly prioritizing the product and processes, and utilizing sprint reviews; do not hide your work from stakeholders or customers (how).

  • Framework: Kanban- understanding how you are going to make your product in a standardized way, prioritizing individuals and interactions over processes and tools, start with what you do now and visualize everything to see how the work will go and ultimately what it will do (what).

In a nutshell, true innovation can only occur when an innovator understands their purpose, actions, and the feelings of their customers. Through the use of these frameworks and the innovation circle, an innovator can create that significant, new value and deliver it to their customers in a standardized fashion.


View this virtual session by visiting the Houston Tech Rodeo’s Virtual Platform.

Read our first Houston Tech Rodeo Roundup over one virtual session that covered the topic of diversity in the innovation world.

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