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Innovation Methods Matrix - with the right method for innovation

Innovation needs method. In addition to the innovation process, various methods are important for finding and generating ideas. But which ones?

Innovation management offers an extensive collection of methods to this end. Innovation management makes use of a wide range of methods. On the one hand they come from marketing, product management or creativity and on the other hand there are many tools that have their origin in innovation research.

The fact that innovation needs method can unsettle many people unsure whether they have the right methods in their repertoire and use them correctly for their tasks. It requires a broad methodological competence in order to be able to decide when which method is most suitable and effective. Companies often choose access to discover an innovation tool that inspires them and they look for applications in the company.

How to choose the right innovation method?

Before you start looking at innovation methods, you'll find out about what they're looking for a solution to:

  • Technological solution
    For example, a new surface technology for desk tops is needed to make them more scratch-resistant and robust.
  • Product improvement
    For example, with the aim of improving the operation of a heating control.
  • Product innovation
    This is about finding ideas and concepts for new products that are completely new either for the company or on the market.
  • Business model innovation
    For example, a printer manufacturer innovates its business model from sale to rent with full service.
  • Service innovation
    This also includes, for example, the optimization of the customer process.
  • Ideas and Inspiration
    For example, an internally organized ideas competition provides many ideas that often cannot be implemented directly, but can be the inspiration for further innovation. Among other things, it allows you to find ideas you wouldn't have been looking for.

In addition to the innovation objectives described above, there are other indicators that guide and influence the decision for an innovation method.

  • Application complexity of the product - How important is the user knowledge of the customers and how much potential does the integration of the customers have?
  • Technology-driven - What potential does new technology have as a basis for innovation?
  • Structural possibilities - Do you have access to the necessary stakeholders such as customers or users as innovation suppliers? Do stakeholders also have the skills to find innovations?
  • Effort and Budget - How many resources in terms of time and money are available?
  • Knowledge of methods - Do you have professional skills for the methods available internally or externally?
  • Potential of the method - Does the method find the innovations you are looking for?

For the last question, the following matrix is particularly helpful and recommendable. It clarifies which method can be used for which task and innovation goal.

Innovations Matrix - using the right method

This matrix combines the common and established methods for innovation identification and indicates for which kind of tasks or innovation goals they can be applied.

Black in the matrix means that the method is very optimally suited for this innovation goal. Dark grey indicates that the method is suitable, but not the most effective choice.



Conclusion: Innovation Methods Matrix - with the right method for innovation

There is a huge repertoire of innovation methods available to those responsible for innovation. This has enormous potential to find many new and innovative ideas in order to increase innovation performance.

But you don't have to master every tool in detail. Instead, the innovation method matrix does an excellent job here. It helps to understand what methods are available and what they can be used for. For the individual methods it is sufficient to understand the basic principles. For concrete projects, it is advisable anyway to bring an internal or external method expert on board as facilitator.

For successful companies, this understanding of methods should extend to marketing, product management, sales and production, because they are important active players in the field of innovation, even if many are not aware of it. Many innovation methods can be applied very effectively in the day-to-day business of these areas.


Daniel Zapfl

With his comprehensive experience in holistic innovation management, Daniel brings valuable insights and best practices from various industries to your innovation project. He boldly and disruptively challenges conventional ways of thinking. As a TRIZ-certified sparring partner, Daniel will support you with creative solution-finding in a reliable and structured manner. More critical than the most discerning customer, he always has an eye on the big picture.

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