4 innovation management tools to kickstart innovation (Step-by-step checklist)

Imagine if you could make one simple tweak to your innovation management approach, and see an instant boost in innovation success

What if there were 4 of these tweaks… and each of them could generate more involved stakeholders

Lucky for you, that’s exactly what i’m going to share with you in this post: 4 insanely practical innovation management tools that you can use to transform your work environment TODAY.

And this is what you will learn more about in this post.

Innovation Mindset: What most people do wrong from the start

Most people are too eager to get a product or a solution out there. Are you?

Steve Jobs underlines in the video below the importance of starting with the customer experience and work backwards to a solution. It is exactly this what lots of entrepreneurs, HR employees, product managers and innovators forget.

So answer these four questions:

  • Who is/are the target group(s)?
  • When your [persona] wants to get [….] done, they run into [….]
  • What incredible benefits needs your customer?
  • Where can you take the customer?


Innovation Meaning: How to make sure your stakeholders expect the same thing

Image from STUDIO.WHY

Lots of people talk about innovation, lots of people start innovation projects and lots of organizations have adopted innovation as one of their core values. But when working on it, ideas become too weird or it seems too much out of the comfort zone. Result: It stops.

This is how to avoid that:

  • Are you or your manager looking for better solutions for real user needs?Yes?
    Then you are looking for an improvement and not an innovation. This is absolutely fine, but you doesn’t need an innovative approach for that.
  • Innovation means: a NEW solution for a real user need. Multiple improvements can lead to an innovation though.

This is important because if your manager is asking for an innovation, but actually meant an improvement and you will figure that out that the hard way during your process. Your time and energy spent on focussing new ideas is wasted.


Types of Innovation: How to create focus

Image from STUDIO.WHY

It is true that innovation is ment to go broad and diverge. But that doesn’t mean that you innovate without focus. Answer these two questions to create focus:

  1. For who are you solving a problem for: the end user, the client, your organization, an department, a team, an individual
  2. Are you looking for an improvement or an innovation?

With the answers in mind you can design your problem solving approach, which is your Innovation Strategy


Innovation Strategy: How to organize space for unforeseen insights

Image from STUDIO.WHY

Lots of people see innovation as something that starts some day and ends some day, like a project. Do you?

The problem here is that people trick themselves by doing that. Because innovation needs unforeseen insights. Mostly in projects the results have been defined by forehand, together with the necessary resources such as time. There is no time and room for unforeseen insight. And you also can’t plan on that with the project approaches we know. These look like waterfalls, are linear.

Peter Drucker, Innovation and Entrepreneurship GURU (read his book!) confirms that innovation cannot be seen as something you do as a project, but rather as a process. This means that innovation must be an uninterrupted process of learning and adapting to both internal and external conditions. It never stops. To succeed in changing environments, you need a system and a workflow that you can easily integrate into your daily work.

And that is where processes like Design Thinking, Design Sprints, Lean Start-Up and Agile Scrum come in. These have all in common that they leave room for unforeseen insights. They help to become more comfortable with the ‘fail fast — learn fast’ approach that is needed to mitigate risks in innovation.

Ok, if you’ve chosen one of the strategies above, it’s time for the last part before you can start innovating. (If those methods are new to you, don’t worry. Don’t worry, you can learn about those later)


Innovation Roles: How to make use from your internal dynamics

Image from STUDIO.WHY

Allright this is what you need to understand: The one who comes up with an idea is mostly not the one who will develop it further, implement and introduce it. You need others, your idea evolves every stages of the idea implementation funnel. That is why it is important to have the right people on board from the beginning. Having people on board doesn’t mean they have to spent as much time as you or your team does on the innovation, no it means: give them the power to decide.

Everyone loves his or her own idea. So make it their idea, make them part of the process.

These are the roles you can think of:

  • Target group, end user, Stakeholders: The ones you are solving a problem for
  • Core Team: Responsible for the insights, ideas, solution and substantiation
  • Facilitator: Responsible for the process.
  • Sponsors: Supports the process and innovation assignment.
  • Project lead: Responsible for the outcome.
  • Godfathers: the ones who have to adopt the idea in the next stages for further development

Now its your turn.

I hoped you enjoyed my innovation management tools.

Now i want to hear from you:

Which Technique from this post are you most excited to try? Are you going to use Innovation Roles? Or do you want to update your innovation approach?

Let me know by leaving a quick reply.

Stay tuned.

Talk Soon,

Michiel Bloemendaal

Exclusive Tips For Creativity, Design Thinking And Innovation For Business That You Can Use To Transform Your Work Environment TODAY