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LEAD Innovation Blog

Read our latest articles on innovation management and innovation in a wide range of industries.

Date: 25-Feb-2019
Posted by: Angela HENGSBERGER

How dynamic road mapping boosts your innovation management


From your own innovation history and the analysis of relevant trends you can distill your individual roadmap. In the field of innovation, this shows you in concrete terms the to-dos of the present day. However, if you forget to constantly question and re-evaluate the influencing factors during road mapping, you could easily find yourself on the wrong track. Read this blog post to find out how dynamic roadmapping can help you stay on track with dynamic roadmapping.

You can translate an innovation roadmap literally. It is actually a road map that shows your innovation management the important stages and the way to get there, including the timetable. To get to your roadmap you need two things:

  • Your innovation family tree, which shows with which developments you have been successful in the market in the past. This innovation tree, which you can also supplement with a flop family tree, illustrates your innovation history.
  • The future, in turn, covers its individual trend universe, which you have linked to the timeline. It shows you important developments and the time when they become relevant for your business.

Paper Create Trend Universe


Search where it is worthwhile

The roadmap is such a central instrument for your innovation management because you can derive search fields from it. Search fields are clearly defined areas within which you search for novelties. Because there it is worthwhile for your company to invent something new. Of course, a search field can result from the past alone. For example, if the patent for one of your most important products expires soon. Or your competitor has recently launched a better make on the market and you are now under pressure. There are, of course, search fields that refer exclusively to the future. For example, if an EU directive stipulates that all new cars must be equipped with an automatic emergency call system from 2018 onwards, this already represents a fairly concrete order to the R&D departments of car designers or the supply industry. This is a trend that can't be shaken, so to speak.


Search fields result from past and future

However, a search field often results from the combination of innovation past and future. Especially if you want to align your innovation management not only with the expiration of patents, new developments of competitors or upcoming regulations. If you want to proactively shape the future of your company yourself, then search fields are all too often a combination of the past and the future.


After 40 years, the paperless office is coming up.

Past and especially the future are constantly changing. Trends that a while ago pointed to fundamental upheavals suddenly turn out to be a storm in the water glass. On the other hand, unnoticed developments seem to suddenly lead to fundamental changes. An example of the unpredictability of trends is the "paperless office". The term has been haunting the media and society for over 40 years. But instead of becoming reality, it became a myth. Digitisation seemed to produce more graphic paper, as it was predicted to be reduced to a minimum.

For some time now, however, the "paperless office" has actually existed in certain areas. Pilots in the cockpit of the Airbus A340-600, for example, can do without paperwork. More and more other industries seem to take an example of the system introduced in 2008. And indeed, demand for graphic paper collapsed in 2016, leading to job losses.


Weather forecast with continuous updating

You can avoid such surprises if you regularly question your innovation future and past. The further development of trends can be predicted in any case, similar to the security level of a weather report. And the innovation family tree also requires constant updating.


One sponsor per search field

You can anchor dynamic road mapping in your innovation management as follows. Nominate a sponsor for each search field. It has the task of keeping an eye on the relevant trends for the respective search field. Is their order still up to date? Is the previously determined relevance also haute still true? Are there new trends? The task of the search field sponsor is to find answers to these and similar questions, as well as to update the innovation family tree matching the search field. He does not carry out any substantive work and is not a project manager. Search field patrons only observe and report regularly.

They do this best once a quarter. Then all of your company's sponsors meet and present the latest developments in their search field. This includes not only the updating of trends and innovation history charts, but also an update on the question of when first sales are to be expected from the innovation in question. The actualisation of the roadmap itself, which also graphically clearly shows the focal points of your innovation management, can then take place once a year.


Dynamic road mapping in practice

How dynamic road mapping works in practice is demonstrated by the application at medi GmbH & Co. KG from Bayreuth. The company from the medical textile industry began its first roadmapping project in 2013, and the following year completed its individual roadmap including seven search fields. At their own request, the seven search field sponsors met four times a year to discuss the progress of their area. At these quarterly meetings, in which the owner and the managing director also participated, the next achievable milestones were also determined. 

Once a year, the same panel discussed the trend universe and its timeline. The participants examined each individual trend and checked whether it had occurred as expected or not. If the latter was the case, it was discussed again. New trends were also discussed at this meeting. The group then re-arranged the changed old and new trends on the timeline. The company updated its roadmap once a year. This is thus the result of seven experts from the company, plus the expertise of the top floor. Every two years, the company also brings in external experts and discusses all the trends of its own roadmap. This protects the company from operational blindness.


Conclusion: How dynamic road mapping boosts your innovation management

With an innovation family tree and a trend universe associated with the timeline, you already have a very good basis for your strategic innovation management. However, analyzing trends and forecasting their further development is not a snapshot. It is a dynamic process in which you must constantly question and adapt your foundation. First of all, this sounds complicated. This may be true, but you and your search field sponsors are more or less forced to look to the future without forgetting the past. With this perspective, you are already ahead of many companies.

Create Trend Universe


Born and raised in Vienna. Since 2012 she has been in charge of Business Development at LEAD Innovation with the functions marketing, sales and communication.

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