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After we have just jumped into 2018, full of new year resolutions and a huge agenda on challenges everyone wants to stand up to, we created an overview of our most successful blog posts of 2017, hopefully being able to support your upcoming projects with some insights and valuable advices.

Best of 2017: What a year it has been! A re-designed blog, lots of new reports and whitepapers and not to forget, the blog posts - 45 new ones in total. Only in November we had around 20,000 people coming to our Innovation Blog looking for new insights and support - that's awesome! Not to mention that we have been ranked in the Top 15 Best Innovation Blogs list by feedspot.com (http://bit.ly/2CeNYOi) and have been rewarded several times on Business Innovation Brief by contributing some of the "Best of the Month" posts throughout the year. Thank you very much for your trust in our content!

We are really looking forward to a great 2018 full of new business insights and lots of new blog posts packed with valuable content for you. 

10. The 3 Types of Promoters Needed to Support Your Innovation Process

Organizations can, and often do, fail to meet their innovation goals for a number of reasons and, depending on where you get your daily fix of leadership articles, these reasons will vary. One of these is that the management of innovation requires a trio of promoters who commit to the new product, service, process, or business model innovation process: the technology promoter, the power promoter and the process promoter. The post will dive into this "troika" constellation and how it helps to avoid failure.

Takeaway: Understanding how the complex innovation work split between individuals with complementary skill sets is as essential to success as understanding what incenticives individuals to take on these roles.

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09. Using the FORTH Method to Navigate Your Innovation Journey

Gijs van Wulfen created an innovation method called the Forth Innovation Methodology to provide a systematic way to take ideas into tested business case concepts. This method, designed for the very beginning of an innovation journey, structures the chaotic start, creates small business cases and fosters an innovation culture by using a highly visual approach. This approach can be broken down into five steps: Full Steam Ahead, Observe & Learn, Raise Ideas, Test Ideas and Homecoming. Highly intensive and demanding, you'll be exploring new and valuable business cases in a twenty-week journey.

Takeaway: The FORTH step by step pathway can significantly help you unlock the “fuzzy front-end of innovation”.

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08. The Complex and the Chaotic: Going Beyond Incremental Innovation

As soon as there are many elements in an environment and they interact with each other, complexity emerges. These can't be predicted in linear fashion, instead, there is a high degree of 'co-evolution' out of which new potential emerges. It sits on the edge of chaos, where things are totally unpredictable and where there is no chance for us of learning or finding any patterns. But complex conditions are potentially knowable – they have a deeper structure and if we work with some of the heuristics about playing in that space, today’s edge of chaos experiment might be tomorrow’s core business. Professor John Bessant is adressing this challenge with the help of some very different strategies, aiming to bring people together who are being comfortable in open and risk-taking experimental fashion and those being the mainstream.

Takeaway: The challenge is to bridge both parties, allowing us to exploit incremental innovation and harvest your hard-won knowledge investments. But that’ll only happen if you find a way of linking the two worlds.

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07. Ecosystems: Goods-dominant vs Service-dominant Logic

Pressured by increasing competition, shorter product life cycles and increased risks, companies today finally see the advantages of bringing together a wide ranch of different collaborators. Collaboration offers a lot of potential to be exploited. In this post, Oana-Maria Pop is exploring the fourth and most advanced type of collaboration, the ecosystem. Thus she is offering a crash course on what ecosystems are made of and how this relates to ecosystems: "goods-dominant" versus "service dominant" logic, customer focus, resilience thinking and value co-creation.

Takeaway: If you want to understand how ecosystems are build and managed, take a moment and try to understand their underlying logic, this will make your ecosystem-projekt easier from the beginning.

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06. The Four Main Types of Business Collaboration

What are the main types of business collaboration? How do you harness them? And which one is right for your business? As mentioned above, the increasing competiton, shorter product lifecycles and increasing risks have led companies to fokus more and more on bringing collaborators together to generate new and breathtaking opportunities. Their orientation has shifted to a longer-term focus or working together in joint strategies - it became about ensuring the survival of the whole. As of this four main types of collaboration emerged: Alliances, Portfolios, Innovation Networks, and Ecosystems.

Takeaway: Effective collaboration can take many forms, but first of all you should start figuring out if collaboration works out for you and fit's with your firm's strategic goals. Afterwards you can start working on open innovation and its inbound-outbound-coupled glory.

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05. What is Free Innovation?

This blog post is exploring the importance of user-led innovations, how to develop groundbreaking ideas and transform existing products, services and processes being driven by the motivation to solve a problem or develop something without a special business interest and for your own well-being. This motivation has been driving some of the biggest developments humanity has ever seen, like the Wright brothers when inventing and building world's first successful aeroplane - being enthusiastic for your own ideas.

Takeaway: Free innovation represents ‘a new paradigm’ with a huge potential, the clue is to make the most out of the real opportunities by bringing together this new model and the longer-established producer-led model, exploiting the complementarity between them.

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04. Strategic and Innovation Alignment: the Choice Cascading Model

How can innovation get squared away with strategy? Is the organization equipped to relate or interpret this? Do they recognize what needs to change, be challenged or reviewed that aligns to this strategic need? Assuming you recognize that change is constant, flowing and rapidly changing every corner of your business, the choice cascading model will help you to unfreeze a part of a strategy that has to be updated and aligned with a new situation. This will make the decision making processes more dynamic and flexible, therefore being able to respond and align on a far quicker way to changes.

Takeaway: If you want to avoid innovation to fall short in delivery, start understanding how the organization's strategy was brought together and why the real wins you claim, contribute to the strategic goals. It's within the strategy where the potential new spaces to play lie.

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03. How Corporates can use the Lean Startup and Business Model Canvas

Launching a new corporate innovation initiative can always be a tricky job with a lot of threats to be considered. This is where the Lean Startup Methodology comes in, a methodology that helps to structure the process of starting a new project, initiative or startup making it less risky. Justin Souter (Souter Consulting) sums this methodology up in four sections, to help readers get a handle on the most important elements of the Lean Startup framework: 1. Where to begin with Startups and Corporate innovators, 2. How to make effective decisions while 'in flight', 3. The Business Model Canvas – simple yet powerful, 4. Business Model Innovation and visual business design.

Takeaway: Don't start building your business around an unverified assumption, otherwise you're going to risk failure. With the Lean Startup Method you can figure out if your assumptions are true and what people truly expect from your business, therefore you'll establish a substantial base of information where you can build your business on. 

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02. 3 Lessons on Innovation from Jeff Bezos

Being worlds fourth most valuable public company and worlds largest internet retailer Amazon is forced to reinvent itself constantly to stay on top. But, how is Amazon so inventive and successful? And despite being the world's richest person, and Amazon being wildly successful, what keeps Bezos sharp and focused? Jeff Bezos is giving some powerful insights into how Amazon works and thinks by exploring how we can always deliver things a little faster or how we can always reduce our cost structure, so that we can have prices that are a little lower. By doing that we observed three principles: Customer obsession, willingness to invent and pioneer, and long-term orientation.

Takeaway: Start identifying the big ideas that encapsulate what your business is trying to achieve and to push great execution on them throughout the orgnization. These big ideas, there should only be two or three, will help to stay focused while working on your daily business.

call to action to read the article about Jeff Bezos and Amazon

01. An introduction to Design Thinking for Innovation Managers

What is Design Thinking? And how does it play a role in innovation management?
The focus in innovation has shifted over the last years, therefore the need for a new approach came up. The Design Thinking methodolgy helps minimizing the uncertainty and risk of innovation by developing within the collective thinking through a series of frames, to better understand your customer needs. By working together with your customers or stakeholders you're able to learn, test and refine concepts based on the dialogue and experience with those. This article gives a brief overview of the steps you'll have to take to intergrate Design Thinking into your existing processes, which skills you'll need to work on, and which potential risks you have to keep an eye on.

Takeaway: Design thinkers rely on customer insights gained from real-world experiments and direct engagement, not just historical data or market research. The ability to extract from the Design Thinking method can significantly help innovators in the future to get closer to providing solutions closer to user needs.

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Fabio Escolano

Fabio Escolano

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