In 1991 or 1992, I took part in a Neuro Linguistic Programming practitioner training led by Ian McDermott, the founder of International Teaching Seminars. Among the many concepts and strategies he taught was the TOTE (Test–Operate–Test–Exit) model represented in the image below.

TOTE model originated by George Miller, Eugene Galanter and Karl Pribram in 1960.
Read about George A. Miller and TOTE

The same principle is found in the field of cybernetics, the origin of which predates that of TOTE:

The field is named after an example of circular causal feedback—that of steering a ship (the ancient Greek κυβερνήτης {kybernḗtēs} means “helmsperson”). In steering a ship, the helmsperson adjusts their steering in continual response to the effect it is observed as having, forming a feedback loop through which a steady course can be maintained in a changing environment, responding to disturbances from cross winds and tide.

Source: Wikipedia — Cybernetics
I participated in the NLP practitioner training while making the transition from the world of marketing to the worlds of innovation and organisational change, which at the time were barely related. Each had its own theories, its own language, and its own practices and practitioners. The field of change management was in its infancy — Daryl Conner’s groundbreaking book Managing at the speed of change first saw the light of day in 1993 — and organisational change work was in the hands of organisation development (OD) people.

In the early 1990s, there was much talk in the OD world about change being a journey from current reality to a desired future — a cumbersome and not wholly accurate description, given that change is not a journey (this is just a metaphor) and that what really needs to be created is a desired present state. People want what they want now, not in some hypothetical future that never arrives.

Around the same time, I stumbled upon a copy of an in-house publication produced by Gemini Consulting, a high profile and influential change management firm that evolved into CapGemini. The authors of the publication didn’t talk about current reality and desired future; instead, they used the punchier As-Is and To-Be. Today, these terms are widely used and unremarkable, but this was not the case back in 1992.

What happened next was more like a game than a deliberate attempt at creating a new term. I wondered if AsIs could be reduced to three letters, and ToBe likewise. My first attempt yielded Got and Want: accurate labels, but a little too colloquial for the business world and still four letters in the second word. Then inspiration struck. Got became Now, Want became New, and Now-to-New came into being.

Evolution of the Now-to-New project model

Version 1 | Early 1990s

There is more to this than meets the eye — for example, adoptability and implementation factors are considered when evaluating ideas.

create-the-new project model - v1.0, early 1990s

Version 2 | Early 2000s

Non-linear. Focus is on system-wide value generation. Considerable overlap with generic design thinking (DT) approach. Specify Requirements is consistent with DT Empathise and Define, Design Concepts with Ideation, Conduct Experiments with Prototype and Test, and Make Plans and Take Action with Implement.

create-the-new project model - v2.0, early 2000s

Version 3 | 2010s

Analogous to human procreation, development and maturity. Readiness makes its first appearance.

create-the-new project model - v3.0, 2010s

Version 4 | 2020s

Overall approach given the name Newcreate. Central thesis: Humans are mind-body-spirit instruments for creating that which generates value for others. Faith (of the secular kind) is a precondition. Now-to-New modifier largely supplanted by create-the-new.

The instrument

create-the-new project model - v4.0, 2020s
Using the human instrument to create new products, services and other kinds of value generator
The Newcreate project path
Read full exposition: How to put Newcreate into practice

Continue reading

How does Newcreate compare with design thinking?

How Newcreators use mind, body and spirit to create the new and enrich the world

The origins of Newcreate

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