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Developing Your Pioneering Spirit

A model that we often use to aid understanding of behaviours and culture when developing a digital transformation is called Pioneers - Settlers - Town Planners.

Imagine for a moment the pioneers of old West, setting of to seek their fortune, an uncertain future ahead and willingness to accept a high degree of risk in return for high reward if their endevours are successful.

Settlers followed the pioneers once a new opportunity had been charted, bringing with them the people and resources to scale up the operation.

Finally, town planners arrive, needed to help maintain the scale, they understand the steps to maintain efficiency across the whole ecosystem, governance, rigour and good practice to what was once the wild west.

We can apply the same principles when developing our innovation and digital transformation model:

Pioneers - Settlers - Town Planners


Your typical start-up are pioneers. To build an innovation practice you will need to find your own pioneers who are experimental, open to risk, learn from failure, and go where angels fear to tread. The highly volatile, quickly changing environment is what excites these folks.

Your pioneers will be early adopters of new technologies and new ways of working, resulting in innovative new services and products, accelerating the pace of change for your company. They will lead the way for others to follow and learn.


Unsurprisingly most companies are started by pioneers, but it will be the settlers who will sustain the results. Settlers will share the new practices, help others to understand, developing the resources and skills needed to grow the operation.

Settlers are canny, they will tend to spot new opportunities that are developing and develop the infrastructure needed for success.

Town Planners

Town Planners can turn a large organisation into an efficient and well oiled machine, bringing with them the level of governance and structure needed to maintain the larger scale.

Town Planners should not be associated with bureaucracy, though for many obvious reasons they often are. Town planners ae an important part of the digital transformation model but can be the most challenging to complete. Building in the sustainability needed to ensure that the well-oiled-machine continues to operate at peak efficiency and effectiveness.

To find out more about Digital Transformation and building an Innovation Practice contact Wzard Innovation on

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