Category: Uncategorized

From Nano to Mega Sessions: 9 Tips for an Innovation Coach

Published on: February 14, 2019 в 2:31 pm


Categories: Uncategorized

When SIT started teaching coaches to facilitate internally in their organizations, we taught them to facilitate SESSIONS. But very quickly we realized that this could be– and was –misunderstood, which led us to add the qualifier and coin the expression, still used today, 14 years later: MINI-SESSION. It soon became apparent, though, that even this newly minted term did not solve two opposing but strongly related problems:


1. Plenty of coaches did not dare to assume the responsibility of running a SESSION, even if it was only a MINI session.

And, on the other hand;

2. Quite a few coaches took it upon themselves to run what we could only describe as MAXI or MEGA-SESSIONS, involving up to 50-60 participants, for as much as 2 consecutive days.

Both phenomena have a certain charm, but both pose some serious challenges that merit careful consideration.

Type 1: Not daring to jump in.

We respect these coaches very much for their modesty and responsible approach but are obviously worried that they are not utilizing their new knowledge to its full extent. Conversations and observations show that, in most cases, coaches in this group find it difficult to take the first step for the following reasons:

  • They are not sure they possess the skills required to apply the tools successfully;
  • They are wary of encountering resistance among their colleagues;
  • Their bosses think the course was a waste of time, and therefore do not support them in spending more time on this “extracurricular” activity;
  • They are not sure how to translate real-life situations into a script for conducting a mini-session;
  • The Coach Training did not build up their confidence to a sufficient degree.

Type 2: Daring to find a cure for cancer and/or achieve world peace

We are obviously impressed with these coaches’ confidence and ambition. We are concerned, though, that the probability of success in these efforts is fairly low, since the coach obviously lacks sufficient skills, experience, and usually also time and resources to perform the task successfully.

Key reasons for this phenomenon are:

  • Great enthusiasm at the end of the course, combined with an exaggerated sense of one’s power;
  • Pressure from the coach’s boss, who figures if they already invested 3 or 5 days of their associate’s time, they might as well make up for it by getting a huge benefit from their newfound skills;
  • The coach training did not indicate clearly enough what the criteria are for selecting a topic, and how to delineate its scope properly.

Rising to this double challenge, here are some helpful tips and recommendations:


1. Remind yourself, your boss, and/or your topic owner that this is a MINI Session, not a maxi-nor mega-session. This means that you do not chew off more than you and the team can swallow (type 2). It also means that you (type 1) can be much more relaxed about taking on the responsibility of facilitating since you are not really facilitating a SESSION, just a MINI session.

2. Very often, we encourage coaches to change the name of the Mini Session and replace it with Micro Session, or even Nano Session. This helps in communicating the correct scope and align expectations.

3. Communication with the coach’s boss is crucial. This can and should be conducted by the SIT trainers, by Corporate Innovation, and by the coach him/herself. Bosses often fail in supporting their coaches by expressing either under- or overwhelming expectations from them. They usually drastically improve in this respect once the situation is pointed out to them.

4. Pay special attention to the exercise of converting a story into a session (read the document as well). Also, we recommend taking full advantage of remote support given to coaches to help them plan sessions.

5. Work both in “pull” and in “push” modes: coaches should be trained to identify opportunities for offering their coaching services and, in parallel, encourage line managers and other stakeholders to turn to coaches and ask for (reasonable) support.

6. Coaches, remember, your first 1-3 or 1-4 or to 5 (depending on your feelings) mini sessions should be

  • conducted with a small number of participants, carefully selected to be supportive and constructive in their participation style;
  • about a topic you can understand without too much preparation;
  • no longer than 3 hours, but also no shorter than 2, so you have time to execute your script properly.

7. Coaches’ supervisors or Innovation Managers: if you want your coach to tackle a relatively large or challenging task, it should definitely not be their first mini session. If you absolutely must challenge them in such a way, make sure you first invent 1-3 small opportunities for them to practice on in order to gain confidence. Don’t hesitate too much – give them whatever small task comes to mind that they can tackle relatively easily.

8. Coaches should work in pairs. A co-coach helps in preparation, offers support during the session, and helps extract learnings after it. The co-coach can and should then also provide hugs, encouragement and – if needed – consolation.

9. A crucial step in preparing a session is defining and sharpening the brief with the topic owner. Special emphasis should be given to the question of scope, so that:

  • It does not require knowledge beyond that of the session’s participants, whose number should not exceed (4-6-8 according to the Coach’s experience);
  • The topic can be explained in no more than 7 minutes, with a corresponding number of slides;
  • The owner can define what kind of results are required, and why they think it is reasonable to achieve them;
  • The session is not used to solve a problem that has been tackled repeatedly over the years without success.

In short…

A motivated coach, with a supportive boss and environment, usually develops his/her skills and capabilities swiftly and consistently. But the first steps are crucial. The key is to start out gradually and raise the bar to always be challenged slightly beyond one’s comfort zone. It is the best way to ensure the coach’s personal development and to create valuable results for their managers and colleagues.

3 SIT Case Studies to Inspire Your Company’s New Product Development

Published on: October 9, 2018 в 3:19 pm


Categories: Uncategorized

Companies are constantly trying to create something fresh and original, but where do they even start? A common go-to is good ole brainstorming, but as we have repeatedly stressed, this is not an effective way to ideate.  That’s when SIT steps in– making ideation more efficient and creative through proven, structured strategies and methods. By beginning with a thorough analysis of a company’s existing products or services and then jointly applying our methodology, SIT’s project outcomes are novel variations of existing products or services. Here are some new product development case studies that have resulted from SIT’s ideation efforts and exemplify SIT’s methodology in practice.

Not Just a Summer Drink

On a scorching summer day, nothing is more refreshing than a nice, cold cup of iced tea. But what about in the winter time? How can a company that sells such summer treats like Nestea also boost sales during the colder months and gain an edge on competing companies such as Lipton, the leader in the industry?

Nestea’s® usual approach of using market trends to develop new products was not generating enough revenue. Moreover, non-compete restrictions from a joint venture of their parent company, Coca-Cola/Nestle, put further pressure on Nestea® to steer clear of soft drinks and hot beverages. Thus, Nestea® aimed to develop a new product that was unique in their own domain. They called in SIT to help innovate under these constraints.

Applying SIT’s attribute dependency tool, which creates and dissolves dependencies between variables of a product, SIT was able to help Nestea reevaluate the relationship between changing seasons and beverages offered. Nestea’s® team challenged the expectation that iced tea is only for the summer and launched a line of iced tea for the winter. The team applied their existing strength in flavor innovation to ensure the development of a product that could accompany consumers’ winter drinking habits–a tea that can be consumed at room temperature or heated. Here, even though the product was not completely altered per say (after all, tea is still tea), the fixed idea of bottled tea only being served cold was shattered and replaced with a dynamic, interesting alternative that created a whole new “ready-to-drink tea” product line.

Achieve Naturally Soft & Radiant Skin

As any beauty consumer will tell you, diligent skincare is the key to radiant confidence and glowing skin. AHAVA Laboratories is a world leader in mineral-based

cosmetics—their unique formulas, made of elements found only in the Dead Sea, are the foundation of millions of skincare routines. In a two-year partnership with SIT, AHAVA sought to further their enterprise by developing several new products. Even though AHAVA had the power of the Dead Sea on their side, in a market saturated with hundreds of different creams and washes—all claiming one secret ingredient or another—AHAVA was looking to create something with a different “wow” factor.

Using SIT’s thinking tool task unification—a way to assign an additional task to an existing resource—AHAVA discovered a way to use the body’s own moisture to melt active ingredients in the product upon application to the skin.  Usually, this process is achieved using water during the manufacturing process, which requires many resources and carries a heavy cost. However, using SIT’s creative process led to the invention of the Gentle Body Exfoliator, which requires only the body’s natural moisture. Because the Gentle Body Exfoliator is untreated, it has the additional benefit of a rough texture, which removes dead skin cells. As the product interacts with the body’s own moisture, it dissolves into the skin, nourishing it with Dead Sea minerals. Naturally soft, smooth, and radiant skin has never been achieved like this before.

Which Scents Define Your Home?

We’re all familiar with Febreze’s air fresheners—one spray and you’ve eliminated that stinky odor from your home or car. But how do you excite your customers when they’ve grown accustomed to your product’s smell and instead want something new and different?

SIT was brought in to create new products for the Febreze brand. Specifically, SIT focused on an already existing product, the Febreze wall plug-in, a product that plugs into the wall, emits an aroma, and whose influence can be so vast that it defines your home’s scent.

By applying SIT’s multiplication tool, which adds an additional component of a product and then alters it in some way, a novel idea emerged; why not have a plug-in device with not one tank but two separate tanks to hold the liquid perfume? In each of these tanks, there would be a separate scent. The benefits of this product were many—the plug-in could switch between scents; it would be a novelty for users, and it could pulse out different smells at different time intervals. The outcome of SIT’s project was an entirely new product, the Febreze pluggable that had two alternating scents. This product led P&G to nearly double their market share in the air freshener category.

Turning Constraints into Advantages


Through the stories of Nestea, AHAVA, and Febreze, we see three examples of successful innovation that not only changed the game but revolutionized their industries. Instead of brainstorming or simply following the trends of others, each company applied SIT methodology to turn their constraints into advantages, innovating and creating something unique in the process.

Visit the case studies section of our website to learn about more ways that SIT has helped companies with new product development and various challenges.

A Systematic Approach to Process Efficiency

Published on: July 24, 2018 в 11:08 am


Categories: Uncategorized

SIT’s Approach to Process Efficiency

There are quite a few methods to enhance productivity and increase process efficiency. Some notable examples are 6-Sigma, Kaizen and Lean. Most of these methods are highly effective at identifying waste and redundancy, and pointing out where you need to cut, focus, or streamline. This leads very often to substantial savings and gains in efficiency. Unfortunately, as much as these methods excel at identifying where to save, they are seldom helpful in prescribing how to do so. When it comes to leading their users to ideate about potential alternatives or solutions to current wasteful practices, practically all productivity methods resort to… Brainstorming.

But, as research and practice has repeatedly and consistently established, Brainstorming is not an effective means for generating truly novel yet viable solutions.

In other posts, like Busting the Brainstorming Myth and How Effective is DT as an Innovation Methodology?, we have described some of the major faults of the BS method for ideation. Here, we will just briefly mention that BS tends to produce either unexciting ideas that are not new, or exciting ideas that are not viable. This is the point SIT – Systematic Inventive Thinking comes into play. As opposed to BrainStorming, SIT is a structured process calling for disciplined ideation within well-defined constraints. By changing the problem solver’s mindset, this process consistently leads to novel and effective approaches to problems and challenges.

Paradoxically, SIT requires that you focus on existing resources and capabilities (which is why the method is also referred to as “Innovating Inside the Box”), learning to use them in novel ways by breaking your so-called “Mental Fixednesses.” The method is therefore especially apt for constrained environments or systems defined by strict engineering requirements.

Here are some brief case studies that highlight how relatively small shifts in perspective, achieved through a structured process, can lead to substantially increased process efficiency.

HAVI –  Opening a Bottleneck with No Additional Resources


HAVI is one of Asia Pacific’s largest logistics companies. At their depots in China, HAVI faced a consistent problem: delivery truck arrival times were frustratingly unpredictable, causing a slew of issues. For example, sometimes multiple trucks would arrive at the same time. And, since Havi had a limited number of truck unloaders, truck drivers spent unnecessary time waiting for their trucks to be unloaded. To avoid this process bottleneck, HAVI needed to find a way to streamline the unloading process.

HAVI considered various solutions, but none were cost-effective. They considered, for example, extending the warehouse to add docking space for extra trucks, but realized this renovation project would be prohibitively expensive and not necessarily tackle the workforce aspect of the problem. They also considered hiring a temporary workforce during busy periods. However, since the busy periods were often unpredictable, it would be impossible to foresee when the workers would be needed.

The Right Incentive

Using SIT’s thinking tool, Task Unification, which assigns a new and additional task to an existing resource, HAVI came up with a creative idea to improve their warehouse’s process efficiency: truck drivers arriving to the warehouse were offered the option of unloading the trucks themselves. Initially, this idea seemed totally untenable, as the drivers, it was believed, would certainly refuse to take on an additional and arduous task. But, after giving the option some thought, the Problem Solving Team realized that, given the right framework, the drivers would actually be more than happy to comply. With less downtime on the job, additional pay for the extra task, and more control over their schedule, the drivers had everything to gain.


By incentivizing drivers to unload the trucks and paying them for the time they spent unloading, HAVI utilized its existing workforce to solve its problem. Since drivers no longer needed to wait for unloaders, they could unload their trucks immediately, resulting in reduced time and quick turnover. By using SIT’s structured thinking process, HAVI managed to save time and money, while eliminating a problematic bottleneck.

Teva Pharmaceuticals – Doubling Production Capacity – Now!

Teva, an Israeli pharmaceutical company, experienced a surge in demand for a specific drug, to which we will refer here as Drug A, when a rival company went bankrupt and could no longer deliver it to market. As new clients approached Teva for Drug A, the company realized that they had an incredible opportunity to grow their business quickly. However, to do so, and ensure retained interest from the new clients, Teva had to double capacity in two weeks’ time. The issue, however, was that the manufacturing line for Drug A was already working at full capacity. While prior attempts to increase capacity had resulted in a 15% production increase, Teva needed a more drastic change.

Drug Cocktail?


In order to double production quickly without significantly changing their process, Teva turned to SIT and its systematic methodology. Using SIT’s Closed World Principle, which states that solutions to a problem can be generated focusing on existing resources, the Problem Solving Team collectively listed all the elements within the production line and its vicinity (the production line’s “Closed World”).

Through a mapping process, the Teva team first identified that the greatest challenge in dramatically increasing production with the current production line (let’s call it PL-A) was one of the stages of the process, Stage 7. At the same time, the team also came to an initially counter-intuitive concept: that they could consider as part of the Closed World, another, adjacent line: PL-B, in which a different drug was being produced.

By analyzing each of these production lines and their processes, the Teva team arrived at a novel idea. It appeared that PL-B had a stage that was very similar to PL-A’s Stage 7 (the bottleneck). But, as opposed to the situation in PL-A, this stage in PL-B was actually working at only half its capacity! The ensuing solution was as simple as it was surprising: the team redesigned the PL-A process so that immediately after Stage 6, half of the ‘material’ on the Production Line was diverted to the neighboring PL-B, taking advantage of PL-B’s excess capacity in the relevant stage. After finishing Stage 7, the material was immediately rediverted back to PL-A to continue the regular Production Line A process to its conclusion (see diagram below). By using the adjacent Production Line’s (PL-B) capacity, Teva was able to double production with a minimal investment. This occurred almost immediately, giving Teva exactly what the company needed to match market demand for its drug.


Complement your Toolbox with a Counter-Intuitive Approach to Productivity and Process Efficiency

Most companies strive to improve process efficiency and enhance productivity. There is always some way to function faster, use fewer resources, or produce less waste. Traditional methods are effective in leading you to do so – but only to a certain extent. These methods usually point out where you need to act but fall short in helping you come up with novel ideas of how to do so. Using specific thinking tools and principles, SIT can do just that, helping you take full advantage of existing resources in surprising and innovative ways, ultimately leading to Productivity Through Innovation

5 Top Workshop Icebreakers

Published on: July 16, 2018 в 12:39 pm


Categories: Uncategorized

Leading a workshop, and participating in one, can be a rewarding experience for both the facilitator and the participants. It is no secret that knowing who your audience is, and catering your icebreaker or energizer to your audience, can make the workshop/facilitation that much more engaging and meaningful. Creative workshop icebreakers are a great way to engage with your group and break the ice at the beginning of a session. Energizers can also help increase the energy of the group after lunch or in the middle of the day. SIT has over 22 years of experience leading and hosting workshops, using a variety of icebreakers and energizers during sessions.

These 5 workshop icebreakers will surely help you break the ice in your next workshop, facilitation, or meeting.

Top 5 Creative Workshop Icebreakers

Workshop Icebreaker #1. One Truth, Two Lies

Workshop Icebreakers

Each participant must introduce themselves with three statements, one statement must be true and the two others must be a lie. The rest of the participants must guess which statements are which.

Which stage is it used: To open a workshop/icebreaker


Workshop Icebreaker #2. Five Things in Common

Workshop Icebreakers

Divide the group into partners. Tell the partners that they need to find five things that they have in common with one another. Then have each pair present the things they have in common to the group.

Which stage is it used? To open a workshop/icebreaker

Workshop Icebreaker #3. One Word Relay

Workshop Icebreakers

Begin by getting everyone in a circle and explain that you will collectively construct a story.  This will be done by each choosing one word. The words will string together to form a story. Ideally, each word chosen by participants should grammatically fit the sentence structure and logically fit the story, but also be fairly random. With each pass of the object and new word addition, the story should get more and more interesting. Have someone document the story and send to workshop participants. Everyone can laugh and share!

Which stage it is used?  To increase the energy of a group

Workshop Icebreaker #4. Snowball Fight


Workshop Icebreakers

Gather your group in a circle and hand each participant a piece of paper. Ask each participant to write a funny fact about themselves on the piece of paper. After they finish writing, tell participants to crumple up their papers and start throwing their ‘snowballs’. For a whole minute, everyone can continue to throw ‘snowballs’, but when the time is up, everyone should end up with a ‘snowball’. After one minute, everyone recreates the (now surely misshapen) circle, reads the funny facts aloud, and tries to guess who each snowball belongs to.

Which stage is it used: To open a creative workshop or to enliven the energy of a group.

Workshop Icebreaker #5. Doodle Portraits

Workshop Icebreakers

Everyone receives a sheet of paper, sits down and draws someone in the room.  After everyone has completed their drawing or time is up, everyone takes turns showing their picture to the group and the group can vote on who is depicted in the drawing. 

*The weirder/funnier the drawing, the more exciting the icebreaker.

Which stage is it used: Can help increase the energy of the group


These workshop icebreakers will help you get a solid start at any event.

Share your experiences using these icebreakers or check out how to better facilitate your next workshop with these useful lessons.

Innovative Ideas in Smart City Culture

Published on: July 10, 2018 в 2:38 pm


Categories: Uncategorized

Smart Cities on the Rise

The market for smart-city innovative ideas could be worth more than $1.5 trillion by 2020, according to a study by business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. With such huge growth potential, do you think your city has what it takes to be The World’s Smartest City?

Israel’s cultural center and 2014 World Smart City award winner, Tel Aviv, is making huge strides in Smart City tech and design. This coastal city is breaking ground by thinking inside the box and using Israeli culture to its advantage.


But how exactly did Tel Aviv acquire such a status?

As opposed to focusing solely on new technology, Tel Aviv uses its active and tight-knit community. The Tel Aviv municipality’s utilization of internal resources can be likened to SIT’s Closed World Principle—where the focus is not on resources that lay outside, such as new technology, but on the internal resources that can be utilized inside, such as its tight-knit culture.

In addition, with a high population of young people, Tel Avivians are both more open to trying new innovative ideas and incorporating them into their daily lives.  As Claus Tully from the German Institute puts it: “Young people take up modern technology and incorporate it into their everyday lives more rapidly and more unceremoniously than others.”

innovative ideas

Have you heard about SIT’s transformative work in municipalities?

Bat Yam Municipality

Together, SIT and Bat Yam launched The Center for Entrepreneurship in Education.  The center is made up of a community of 400+ entrepreneurs who meet socially and participate in both courses and one-on-one mentoring with SIT and center staff to help them realize their dreams. The Center recently launched an open innovation competition for new ventures, which received 300 entries. Through educational programs and activities for entrepreneurs, the Center seeks to make entrepreneurship a regular part of the daily educational experience.

SIT’s work with Municipalities in Colombia

SIT’s work with Colombia proved it is possible to change the interaction between local government and citizens without spending vast sums of money or engaging in extensive regulatory change. But how was this accomplished?

SIT trained 26 innovation coaches from various treasury positions who then ran 26 innovation projects in various departments. Initially, the focus was in the area of taxes. However, due to the project’s success and the substantial savings incurred, the participants have decided to extend the process to support other government departments in the future.

The Minneapolis Municipality

Before opening Target Field, The City of Minneapolis asked SIT to help find innovative solutions to traffic challenges the new ballpark would create. Specifically, SIT created an ideation project to address traffic, parking, and challenges to accessing events in the new ballpark. During the project, participants learned and applied SIT’s Task Unification thinking tool. They addressed physical elements (e.g. taxies, cars, traffic lights, skyways) alongside non-tangible elements (e.g. various types of data and information). The process generated several concrete ideas based on collecting, sharing, and communicating real-time information from multiple sources to streamline traffic, parking, public transportation, and pedestrian movement.

The question is: Does it take more than just innovative ideas and technology to create a smart city?


By examining Tel Aviv, it seems a smart city’s foundation is not only in new technological development but also in its culture. Similar to start-ups, where company founders refer to company culture as being the key to success, the Tel Aviv municipality also believes Israeli culture is key to their smart city success.

Tel Aviv, the 2014 World Smart Cities Award winner, employed the necessary technology, which took time, participation, and a strong culture. Some of the crucial elements of Tel Aviv’s appointment was the cohesiveness of the people, their curiosity, confidence, and their involvement with their communities. To harness this cohesiveness, Tel Aviv made sure to connect people to news, traffic, and other information, but in a way more personalized than radio or television.


Tel Aviv Smart City Pillars  

  • Eco: Including composting programs, community gardens, and water conservation methods.
  • Community and entrepreneurship: Tel Aviv created centers for entrepreneurship, youth centers, and affordable municipal housing, etc.
  • Traffic and parking: Bike paths (however, this still needs some work), paying for parking with one’s smartphone.
  • Smart Food Policies: Policies to increase production and sustainable food consumption.
  • Education: Emphasizing practical education, student initiatives are supported if they provide value. 

Revolutionizing Municipal Technology


To put itself in front of the pack, the Tel Aviv municipality installed free public WiFi in almost all public areas, including the beach, while simultaneously leading a digital revolution for municipal services and information dispersal. Implementing a digitalized revolution called DigiTel, they gave each resident the ability to register at a checkpoint and create a personalized digital profile. This innovative idea worked wonders by providing Tel Avivians with “customized information and remote city services,” such as city events, information about roadblocks, or recommendations and discounts for restaurants. With this digital database, the municipality is now better able to facilitate communication between residents and leaders.

The Tel Aviv municipality claims that …

“City-making makes the difference between a space and a place – a space is a physical demarcation, while a real place draws people, tells a story, reflects a community’s values, and is embedded with meaning. A smart city strategy which uses technology in the service of people – is, in short, smart city-making.”

Tech developments and the cohesive Israeli start-up culture helped transform Tel Aviv into the smart city hub that it is today. Equipped with this information – what do you think your city can do to get ‘smarter’?

Share your innovative ideas with us in the comments below!

How to Choose an Innovation Consulting Firm

Published on: July 3, 2018 в 10:46 am


Categories: Uncategorized

The Innovation Consulting Firm Landscape

The innovation consultancy landscape has become immensely complex, dynamic, and varied in the last several years, especially when discussing quantity. There are a variety of methodologies, approaches, as well as consultancies of all sizes. McKinsey and large accounting firms have made acquisitions of innovation consulting firms, which means the distinction between the mega-consultancies and the more boutique consultancies has become blurred.

Since the innovation consulting firm atmosphere is so dense, there are some common sense rules of thumb one must use when choosing an innovation consulting 

dynamic innovation consulting firm

firm. Luckily, our good friend, Drew Boyd, created a list of criteria that you can utilize when choosing an innovation consulting firm.  However, due to the richness of the current marketplace and the dynamic approach, some of this list is no longer relevant. While this may be the case, it still includes a lot of useful advice. The below advice and tools will help you make an informed and educated decision when choosing an innovation consulting firm.

Choosing Innovation Consultants

By: Drew Boyd
Choosing an innovation consulting firm is challenging for two reasons: the client is not always clear what type of innovation they want, or they are not sure what type of innovation a consultant offers.
Here are three factors to consider when choosing an innovation consultant:

1.  TYPE of consultant

2.  METHOD used

3.  ROLE of the consultant.

The innovation space has become so crowded that I group them into four types (I-D-E-A):

INVENTION:  These are consultants that help you create new-to-the-world ideas.  They have particular expertise in creativity methods or idea generation tools.  Their main focus is the generation of many new product or service ideas.

DESIGN:  These are consultants that take an existing product, service, or idea and put some new, innovative form to it.  They have particular expertise in industrial design or human factors design.  Their main focus is transforming the way a product is used or experienced.

ENGINEERING:  These are consultants that help you make the new idea work in practice.  They have particular expertise in technology, science, research, and problem-solving.  Their main focus is building it.

ACTUALIZATION:  These are consultants that help you get the innovation into the marketplace.  They have particular expertise in marketing processes, brand, or commercial launch of a product or service.  Their main focus is selling it.

Step One: The challenge is many consultants claim to be all of these.  While true for some, my sense is that all firms started off as one type and then expanded to cover the others.  The question to ask yourself is: would you be better off matching your need to their original core expertise, or would you be better off going to a one-stop shop…a firm that can do it all even though their core expertise is, say, design.  How do you know what type the firm really is?  Study the biography of their founder.  What was the founder’s education, experience, work background, interests, etc?  The founder is where the core orientation of the firm begins.  The other practice types get bolted on later.

Step Two: Understanding their method.  The first question I ask consultants is, “Do you know how to innovate?”  The second question is, “How?”  I want to understand their method of innovation, and I want to be able to explain it to other people.  I want to know the efficacy.  Has it worked in the past and will it work on my project?  Show me the data.

Step Three: Understanding the role of the innovation consultant.  Is this a DIY (do-it-yourself) approach, where you are given some software or other resources to create innovation on your own?  Is this a DIWY (do-it-with-you) approach where the consultant leads and facilitates groups of your employees to innovate together?  Is this a DIFY (do-it-for-you) approach, where the consultant takes your problem specification and comes back with their recommended solutions?  Or, is this training?  All of these roles are valid depending on your need.

I am impressed with the talent and variety of consultants in the innovation space today.  It becomes even more impressive when you select the right one for the job.

I hope the above will help you in finding the right innovation consultancy. Since we are always on the look-out for the right clients to work with, here is a short questionnaire. Please fill in and, if relevant, we can have a short 20-minute chat to see if we can fit each other’s needs. We look forward to hearing from you.

FIFA World Cup’s Top 5 Innovative Technologies

Published on: June 25, 2018 в 11:02 am


Categories: Uncategorized

It is safe to say that everyone is excited about the games, but have you heard about the new technological advancements on and off the field?

Each of the following technologies are potential revenue boosters and, with proper implementation, have the potential to revolutionize both the event and the athlete training process.

Below, you will find a full cup worth of world-changing tech for you to marvel at while you watch your favorite teams battle it out on the field!

Did you know SIT has more in common with the World Cup than you might think? In 2010, SIT worked with Davivienda, a large financial leader in South America, on their digital marketing strategy. The project resulted in “The Correspondent Campaign,” which included the invention of a unique character who connected with the public through humor. During the 2010 World Cup, it was the most talked about marketing campaign and increased Davivienda’s revenue by over $3M!

Innovative Technology #1: Adidas miCoach Smartball

Adidas, the sponsoring company for the World Cup, recently made some noise with its newly released smart ball. The innovative smart ball, coined the “Adidas Telestar,” comes preinstalled with an NFC chip that is connected to a mobile application. Connecting to the app allows users to monitor game results, view ball movement, and share with other users. This smart ball also measures kick power, speed, ball height reached, and more.

The battery life is one week or 2,000 kicks. It also comes with its own charging station.

With Adidas constantly exploring new innovative technologies, we can expect further product developments in the athletic department and fan experience in the years to come.

innovative technology

Source credit: Adidas

Innovative Technology #2: Training Apparatus – SKLZ (Skylz) STARKICK

innovative technology

Source credit: Skylz


Want to practice your shots but are missing a training partner? Luckily, this training apparatus allows players to practice all shot types, including passes, free kicks, corner shots, and penalty kicks. The elastic band and rope can be attached to sandbags for longer range kicks, or to the player’s body for ball-control practice. This device can also improve creative dribbling and juggling skills.


Innovative Technology #3: ZEPP Play Soccer

The ZEPP Play System measures player data during gameplay to generate statistics. This tiny 7-gram sensor is attached to the player’s shoe or shin guard and connects to a mobile app. The innovative sensor measures distance, speed, sprints, and success rate in scoring goals (as opposed to attempts). After completing the activity, you can review all your past and current stats in an organized database on the app.

innovative technology

Source credit: Zepp

Innovative Technology #4: PlayerTek Soccer Tracker – Vest / GPS

Source credit: Playertek

A new gadget stemming from an Indiegogo campaign and very similar to the ZEPP Play Sensor is the PlayerTek Vest.

This product works in a similar fashion to the ZEPP, but in a comfortable vest form! It can collect maximum speeds and location data, but it does not yet measure a player’s cardiovascular rate.

For easy review post-training or post game, the app includes training tips and organized data. The device lasts seven hours per charge, which is perfect for a training day or several games back-to-back.

With new product development strategies, the PlayerTek Vest will surely continue to advance and transform from a classic innovation into an extraordinary one.

Innovative Technology #5: Norrlands Guld – “Social Beer”

This one is for those that love a good pub-based soccer viewing!

The creative masters at Norrlands Guld implemented an inventive solution that discourages phone use at bars. Instead of viewing live tweets on your phone, this innovative tech prints them directly on your beer’s foam in the most pretentious color possible… gold.

The last World Cup was one of the world’s highest tweeted events. This time, instead of hearing the phone buzzing (and potentially missing the action), why not keep the taps flowing and check out this innovative bartending technique?

innovative technology

Source credit: Norrland’s Guld

*Disclaimer: This remarkable engineering feat is only available in Sweden. Hopefully, one day soon, we can all experience the joy of drinking a tweet.

What’s Next?


New technological advancement means players and viewers can get even more out of their World Cup experience! Keep a look out during the next World Cup to see all this world-changing tech in action!

In the meantime, read about the coolest fashion tech wearables and let us know which one you would sport.

Innovative Learning: 3 Lessons from SIT’s Online Academy

Published on: June 20, 2018 в 12:58 pm


Categories: Uncategorized

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How can you take all the knowledge of a company with over 20 years of experience and translate it into powerful, engaging online content that aids the learning process? While no easy feat, SIT was up for the challenge and consequently created its online eLearning venture, The Online Academy.

Prior to its creation, SIT taught its methodology mainly through face-to-face facilitation, but the learning landscape is changing. And the use of eLearning platforms is skyrocketing—in 2017 alone, the corporate eLearning market worth was valued at $12.85B! -The “eLearning Market – Global Outlook and Forecast 2018-2023” by

eLearning is Hot!

eLearning is receiving more recognition, as our society’s dependence on the Internet grows. The preference for continuous learning and using technology to access content from anywhere are driving this segment’s growth—2017 revenue for the corporate eLearning sector reached almost $13B! According to the eLearning market report, the growing demand for self-paced learning modules from the corporate sector is expected to create new opportunities for vendors in this market during the forecast period and will grow at a rate of 9.76% during the period of 2018-2023 (eLearning Market – Global Outlook and Forecast 2018-2023).


Interviewing Nurit Shmilovitz Vardi, Head of the SIT Online Academy, I learned how the team overcame the hardships of adapting SIT’s material into an online format. By identifying three unique challenges, the Online Academy effectively tackled each one and emerged with three unique innovative learning course offerings.


1. Translating Engagement into an Online Format

So how can you translate engagement into an online format? Why not use funny videos? By using humor, the Online Academy used a research-backed method. Humor is not only critical in thought, it actually activates the brain’s dopamine reward system, which means, when used correctly, it boosts information retention (The Functional Anatomy of Humor-


The Interactivity of the Exercises

The courses also offer interactive exercises catering to multiple learning styles. And by using a live presenter, artsy animations, and story-telling, users can internalize their learnings.

innovative learning

Animations such as presenting the soapbox dilemma in a Japanese soap factory help to easily demonstrate concepts like the closed-world principle.

Liz Bark, the Creative Director of Optimised Learning, Ltd., explains that animations can be “fun and quirky” and “when designed specifically with content in mind, it enhances the learning experience” (

Innovative Learning On-the-Go

One hallmark of online learning today is the ability to learn from anywhere—whether on the way to work or leisurely lying at the beach, one can learn ‘on the go’. And the micro-learning style the Online Academy applied, which uses bite-sized videos, assignments, and quizzes, ensures one stays focused. This means users can easily process the short information chunks and fit complete videos or learnings into busy life schedules.


2. Addressing Learner Diversity


Since SIT philosophy is based on the idea that everyone can benefit from adopting an innovative and creative mindset, it is crucial to address learner diversity!

innovative learning

Working in different companies varying in size, industry, and culture, multiple languages,  having different interests, focuses, and learning styles all require variations. With this in mind, the videos and exercises were developed using an adaptable format (including additional multi industry-specific case studies from SIT’s knowledge library if needed), a rich yet simple language, and generic examples that apply to all learners. From individuals to those in large companies, from India to Latin America to the United States, users can easily comprehend and relate to the information regardless of their industry or cultural background.



The online medium enables the Online Academy to leverage user diversity, i.e. people from various geographies are invited to interact and share their varying perspectives through the discussion forum as well as participate in live webinars.



3. The Lack of a Live Facilitator

In its over 20 years of business, SIT has developed exceptional facilitation expertise, ensuring workshop participants successfully internalize and relate to the material. It is apparent in SIT sessions that facilitators must help participants break their mental fixedness, and this is where facilitation is especially beneficial.

But how can this be achieved online? Uncoincidentally, to conquer this issue, the Online Academy team had to break their own mental fixedness of what it means to facilitate; facilitation can be presented in formats other than face-to-face and webinar experiences.

innovative learning

Breaking Our Own Fixedness

Providing automatic feedback when possible, through quizzes and exercises, or using peer-to-peer and instructor-led feedback mechanisms for open-ended questions all help support the learning journey.

Additionally, the team realizes expectations must be managed. Innovative learning means learners must understand that since the methodology and topic revolves around innovation and ideation, there are no right or wrong answers! As long as they follow the methodology, work systematically (which is the best way to overcome one’s fixedness), and are happy with their resulted ideas, they score 100%.


Blended Learning

Despite the many advantages of learning online, on-site learning should always be considered and used when possible. The “blended learning” format opens up the possibility to enjoy both worlds.

Melissa Saw, Associate Director – Digital Excellence Bayer U.S, says: “I think this could be the first step to any face-to-face interaction/workshop. It was a great, qualitative foundational training, and gave the participants a basic, yet towered overview of the terminology, which was very valuable during the face to face workshop.”


The Future of the Online Academy


Hardships aside, Nurit explains that “the product has a lot of synergy with everything else that SIT is doing.” By understanding how to properly engage with learners and overcome the limitations of an online learning environment, the doors of possibility are open. Due to the dynamic and versatile format, the material is always being revised as new feedback and interesting additions arise.

The goal is for the online community to grow and to provide more of SIT’s content—beyond just ideation and the SIT tools, but to build on SIT’s experience in innovation management and other innovation methodologies.

 So far, the feedback has been enthusiastic and supportive. The truth is there is nothing more innovative than converting a very focused medium into a completely different format. Stay tuned for future developments!


SIT Pick: Top 10 Innovation Bloggers

Published on: May 3, 2018 в 11:12 am


Categories: Uncategorized

The world of blogging is exploding. And innovation bloggers, indeed, have also jumped on the bandwagon. From social media to Wikipedia to ad campaigns, these innovation bloggers are utilizing the information highway to their advantage, positioning themselves as information givers, eager to tell their story, and relentless in their pursuit of knowledge distribution.

We decided to take a personal journey with 10 innovation bloggers to gain a deeper understanding of their vision. After contacting them via social media, it indeed was easy to see how they acquired their “influencer status”.

We did this by posing two broad questions to get a sense of where they see themselves and what their goal is in writing their blog. Their responses gave an enchanting glimpse into their goals and aspirations, how they define “success”, and why it is so important for them to upload their knowledge base to the world wide web.

SIT has a special vantage point in the innovation industry with 22 years of industry knowledge, leading, directing, and helping innovation leaders and managers to help innovate from within, and with our own unique methodology for going about it. This expertise gives us the ability to judge some of the most well-known and highly ranked blogs in our industry. To determine the top 10 innovation bloggers, we considered the quality of content, popularity/reader engagement, and expert authority of the author.

I am pleased to introduce you to SIT’s list of the 10 best innovation bloggers:


Top 10 Innovation Bloggers

1. Innovation Blogger: Cris Beswick

Cris Beswick Blog

My belief is that every organisation has the potential to become truly exceptional if it places innovation at the heart of what it does.”

About Cris:

Cris Beswick, originally trained as a product & industrial designer, is now a successful thought leader in the field of innovation strategy and culture.

innovation bloggers

He believes that “helping ambitious and visionary leaders tackle innovation both as a capability and as a core component of organisational culture is how we’ll all contribute to shaping the future”.  He states “we have systemic challenges that we need to tackle economically, environmentally and societally, and innovation is a key component of how we’ll all tackle those challenges.”

Cris is also a co-founder of The Future Shapers “The Future Shapers was specifically set up to provide insight from some of the best thinkers in the innovation space to help in the global drive for innovation and creating a sustainable future. If I can contribute to helping drive that then I’ll have achieved my mission!”

About his Blog:

Cris’s blog reflects his holistic approach to innovation, inspiring you to redefine the way you work. His ideas and insights are based on years of experience as an entrepreneur and innovation consultant. The content of his blogs is mainly in the areas of innovation strategy and culture. Cris hopes that his blog will help “ambitious and visionary leaders tackle innovation both as a capability and as a core component of organizational culture”. Cris’s posts on organizational culture and innovation accurately echo this vision!


2. Innovation Blogger: Paul Hobcraft


As it relates to the humble beginnings of his blog: One person wrote to me and simply said- why don’t you write your own and I was thinking quietly to [myself],  then I can get him off my back!”

About Paul:

Paul “got ‘hooked’ eighteen years ago” on innovation. Since then, he has consistently utilized innovative thinking and applied it to 100% of his business-thinking activities. Paul has lived in numerous countries around the world and worked in senior positions with global corporations. Paul offers innovation coaching and consulting services at Per Paul, “the aim is to support the individual, teams, and organizations, in their innovation activity, applying what I have gained in experiences and knowledge, to further develop core innovation understanding, so clients can achieve positive and sustainable results from their innovating activities.”

About his Blog:

Paul Hobcraft’s blog is a necessity when it comes to understanding the latest trends in innovation, whether it means explaining ‘The Dynamics within Agility’ in his latest post, or “Relating to the New Innovation Era’. He has a technical expertise, which he wisely utilizes to investigate and explore the latest innovation news. He explains: “By taking different viewpoints you can relate innovation to the numerous challenges many of us are facing in understanding [our] work in the innovation space.”

“My blog posts have evolved, in many ways to become my innovation diary.” And an innovation diary Paul indeed writes!  He sees innovation as an evolving entity, in which there are “multiple strands constantly pulling together to build theories, build on the patterns, the signals, the interactions, by extracting from all the different ‘cells’ of knowledge we all possess.”

3. Innovation Blogger: Ralph-Christian Ohr

Integrative Innovation

“My mission is for the most part to challenge deficient or outdated innovation management practices and to provide suggestions for modern, future-proof approaches.”

About Ralph-Christian-Ohr

Ralph-Christian Ohr is passionately driven to help companies establish better innovation practices.  His expertise encompasses innovation management and corporate development. He currently consults on Dual Innovation, Scaling-Up, organizational culture and design as well as ways to increase innovation performance. He has held positions in a wide array of industries such as thin Film/Semiconductor, Energy, and Transportation.  His interesting background, which includes a doctorate in Physics as well as work in a variety of corporate business roles, makes him unique in his approach to innovation.

About his blog:

Ralph-Christian feels inspired to write his blog and identify “pain points of companies when it comes to innovation management.” He uses these pain points as a springboard for coming up with ideas, research, and insight. He wants to “challenge deficient or outdated innovation management practices and to provide suggestions for modern, future-proof approaches.” He draws on research, which he displays in easily digestible graphs to make identifying and measuring innovation processes efficient. Ralph-Christian believes in the importance of crafting company-specific innovation strategies. His blog is curated more for experienced managers.

4. Innovation Blogger: Paul Sloane

Paul Sloane, Innovation Excellence

“I want to inspire people to be more open-minded, to try new things, to use lateral thinking to solve problems and to be more innovative.”

About Paul:

Paul is a professional keynote speaker and leader of workshops. He is a skilled facilitator and course leader, who helps top-level teams achieve breakthrough results in their meetings. He has also published over 30 books! His multiple talents even extend to being a stand-up comedian.

About his Blog:

Paul wants his blog ‘Destination Innovation’ to “inspire people to be more open-minded, to try new things, to use lateral thinking to solve problems and to be more innovative.”

Paul’s use of lateral thinking puzzles is most interesting. He believes these puzzles help us to become open-minded, challenge our assumptions, and help us arrive at well-thought-out solutions. Many of his blogs focus on the history of innovation and lessons we can learn from the past, whether these lessons involve creativity, leadership, or management. His fresh, interesting approach to innovation is stimulating, imaginative, and varied.


5. Innovation Blogger: Stephen Shapiro

Stephen Shapiro Blog

I believe that innovation is the key to solving some of our most pressing challenges, and I hope that my approaches have helped make an impact in the world.”

About Stephen:

Stephen Shapiro has over 20 years of work experience with multinational companies under his belt. After a 15-year corporate career, he realized he no longer wanted to be responsible for other people losing their jobs. Since then, his goal has been “to help companies grow in order to create jobs.” Stephen is consumed with helping companies transform their innovative practices via customized keynote speeches, advisory engagements and other services.

About his blog:

In contrast to some of the other blogs we reviewed, Stephen’s blog ‘Innovation Insights’ is extremely easy to approach. This is because he provides practical, useful tools that anyone can use. His over 20 years of work experience with multinational companies is manifested in the knowledge he shares. Stephen explains that “following someone else’s blueprint for success may not be the best approach for your specific situation.” This is why his blog provides advice, assessments, and exercises that allow you to customize your innovation process.

6. Innovation Blogger: Drew Boyd 

Drew Boyd Blog

About Drew: Drew Boyd is a professor and teacher of the SIT methodology. He has a wealth of experience in the innovation and creativity world. He is a public speaker and award-winning author, having recently written ‘Inside The Box,’ a book that is based on the SIT methodology. He teaches individuals and teams how to creatively solve the toughest problems to create a culture of innovation.

About his blog: As a professor, teaching the SIT methodology, Drew utilizes this expertise in his blog. His blogs that are entitled ‘Innovation Sighting’ refer to new technologies that come out that he can relate SIT tools (division, multiplication, subtraction, task unification, and attribute dependency. He bases his posts and insight on the most recent research in the innovation world. He thoroughly investigates the world of social media, advertising, and new inventions.

7. Innovation Blogger: Greg Satell

Digital Tonto

That’s probably what I like best, the opportunity to collaborate, share ideas and open up new ways of thinking about things.”

About Greg:

Greg Satell is a bestselling author, speaker, and adviser. Greg says he looks “for connections that would not be immediately obvious. That’s how you can create insights that are truly new.” He says, “Often, I find that the solution to a really really tough problem that people are struggling with can be found in a different field at another time.” Greg has always had a passion to transform big ideas into practical solutions.

About his blog:

His blog began in 2009 as a platform to share his experiences of doing business in Eastern Europe and Turkey. Since then, it has transformed into a wonderful sharing platform, where one can find appealing titles and equally valuable content that brings us insight into the business world of innovation.

Greg approaches his blog holistically. He feels his mission is to explore and that by writing his blog he has “access to world-class experts in many fields, from artificial intelligence and quantum computing to materials science and genetics.” Greg seamlessly threads together the worlds of science, business, and everyday life to bring you a blog that is detailed and thoughtful.


8. Innovation Blogger: Daniel Burrus 

Daniel Burrus Blog

About Daniel:

Daniel Burrus is known as a futurist, innovation speaker, and global innovation expert. The New York Times has referred to him as one of the top three business gurus in the highest demand as a speaker.  He works with Fortune 500 companies helping them to develop game-changing strategies based on his methodologies regarding technological innovations and their future impact. He is also the author of seven books!


About his blog:

Burrus’s blog branches across several fields: strategy, technology, trends, transformation, and leadership. I found his article “Trial & Error: What Thomas Edison Can Teach Businesses Today” particularly interesting, as it related the work of the historical figure to our current technological atmosphere.  His blog focuses on innovation mainly from a technological perspective, identifying disruptive technologies and how they will affect the future of innovation.

9. Innovation Blogger: Soren Kaplan 

Leap Frogging

About Soren:

Best-selling author Soren Kaplan is a leading expert in disruptive innovation, innovation culture, and business model innovation. He works with top companies and organizations like NBCUniversal, Disney, and Hershey. He strongly believes in challenging the status quo and uses his rich background in art and design to catapult him in creating innovation strategy that is unique and revolutionary. He delivers keynotes, consulting and leadership development.

About his blog:

Unlike the other bloggers, Soren has a multitude of videos uploaded to his site in the areas of innovation culture, disruptive innovation, the dynamics of innovation, as well as how to create and lead a culture of innovation. His speaking style is quick and to-the-point, making for an exciting way to learn something new in video form. His vlogs make the information easily accessible and digestible.

10. Innovation Blogger: Owen Hunnam

Idea Drop

About Owen:

Owen is the founder and creator of This Idea Drop, an app used to capture the most prized capital in a company– your employee’s ideas. The clean user interface of the app makes capturing your employee’s ideas fun and easy! The app characterizes Owen’s personal approach to innovation– taking ideas, building upon them, and making them a reality. Despite being the youngest blogger on this list, Owen is firing ahead with bright ideas!

About his blog

Owen writes for both “Innovation Excellence” and the blog for “This Idea Drop.” His posts strive to inspire creativity, as he believes this to be the main source of innovation. Owen believes in using specific creative tools and methods to boost one’s creative potential!

In conclusion…

These 10 innovation bloggers are all passionate about igniting innovative change, whether it be organizationally or strategically. For many of them, innovation seems to have “found them”, as they started writing blogs and working as independent strategists later in their careers. What is particularly interesting is how many of these bloggers have scientific backgrounds, which perhaps allows them to analyze and relate more deeply to the innovation process. By and large, these bloggers use the written word to express new ideas and commentary in the field of innovation. By utilizing their insight, we can gain a clearer picture of the current state of innovation across a multitude of industries.

Thank you all for your contributions to the world of innovation!


Now that you’ve explored the world of innovation blogging, read SIT’s post on how to optimize your innovation strategy by making your idea a sweet idea.

How Effective is Design Thinking as an Innovation Methodology?

Published on: April 16, 2018 в 3:02 pm


Categories: Brainstorming,Creativity,Uncategorized

My First Impression of Design Thinking


A few years ago, I took part in a Design Thinking workshop. My first impression: the room was a mix between an atelier and a day-care facility for children. So, initially, I thought, this is going to be fun!

Our task was simple – we split into groups of two. We needed to design a new wallet for our partner. First, I interviewed my partner. Then, I came up with a variety of different wallet models, which I then presented to him. Based on his feedback, I built a prototype of my best idea and consulted with him again. My result was an impressive and futuristic wallet – a piece of advanced technology – and indeed, the process was enjoyable.

Like most people that apply this innovative method, I enjoyed the process. The wider question, however, is: How useful is Design Thinking for generating ideas?


So what is Design Thinking (DT)?

Searching for “Design Thinking” on Google, we get 32,700,000 hits. But you don’t need to see more than the first few results to get the gist.  Although there are quite a few definitions, the majority are based on the following five steps: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test.

And indeed, it’s not surprising then to see that these five steps are the core of Design Thinking. According to the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, the birthplace of this innovation methodology, this is how the steps are defined:

  • Empathize: In the first step, you “view the users and their behavior in the context of their lives.” You “engage” with the users and “experience what they experience.”
  • Define: In the second step, you “unpack and synthesize your empathy findings into compelling needs and insights.” Based on a deep understanding of the user, you come up with an “an actionable problem statement.” That is, we clearly define what we wish to create.
Design Thinking Innovation methodology
  • Ideate: Now it is time to ideate and “generate radical design alternatives.” Similar to brainstorming, the goal is both a “large quantity of ideas and a diversity among those ideas.”
  • Prototype: Prototyping means “getting ideas and explorations out of your head and into the physical world.” The idea is to perceive and interact with your idea. In the beginning of a project, prototyping goes “rough and rapid” and later becomes more detailed with your progress.
  • Test: The fifth step includes testing your prototypes and getting feedback about your solutions. This is a chance to “refine your solutions to make them better and continue to learn about your users.”

Two Tough Questions


These five steps constitute the basic formula of the Design Thinking innovation methodology. Due to its apparent simplicity and clarity, the method is extremely appealing. It’s no wonder then that Design Thinking has become such a buzzword, so much so that it is often used as a synonym for innovation.

However, two essential questions arise:

  • Do users of DT compare it to alternative innovation methodologies and find it superior? Or is it selected for merely being the only game in town? We claim that the latter is the case, i.e. DT is more placebo than remedy.
  • Let’s assume then that DT is fun, easy to use, and provides useful customer insights. However, is it effective for changing the way people think and helping them generate new ideas? As we explain below, the answer is negative: DT is not designed to help create novel concepts.

To the first question, here is our recommendation. One must not compare Design Thinking to a complete lack of systematic methodology. Rather, one should consider other innovation methodologies and evaluate DT in relation to them.

Does Design Thinking Have a Flawed Core?


Empathize: Engage with users and view their contextual behavior.

Define: Come up with insights and understand the user.

Ideate: Brainstorm, get a large number of ideas.

Prototype: Perceive and interact with your idea.

Test: Test and get feedback, refine to make better.

innovation methodology design thinking

Reviewing the five steps in this innovation methodology, it is immediately obvious that the central element, the core of the entire process, is the middle step: Ideate. At the end of the day, the entire point of the exercise is to think of new things, right? So, what does Design Thinking tell us we should do in order to generate new ideas?

We’ve collected plenty of useful insights in the first two stages of the process, and we have everything we need to develop great ideas except for one thing: a method to come up with the ideas. Behind all of the Design Thinking hype, there is a disappointing reality that Design Thinking’s ‘method’ for generating ideas is (not-so) good-old brainstorming.

The Weak Link in this Innovation Methodology


Of the five steps, the ideation phase is the only one where ideas are actually generated. The instructions are simple: Brainstorm. Try to think unconventionally. There is no bad idea.

But as is repeatedly established, brainstorming is not an effective way to generate ideas. Much is written about this topic by us and many others, so here we just mention three of the most common arguments:

  • Participants in BS sessions are encouraged to freely say what comes to mind, eliminating critical filters. As a result, sessions end with a large number of ideas. Of these ideas, very often, none turn out to have any practical value. In addition, those participants who could have raised objections in real time are (by definition) strongly encouraged not to do so.
  • Participants are instructed to associate freely. This means there is no mechanism to overcome functional fixedness, a natural bias of human thinking. This also happens to be the strongest barrier to creativity and innovation.
  • Group dynamics, such as groupthink and social insecurity, are well researched. They have consistently shown to inherently inhibit the creation of truly radical ideas in the absence of a structured mechanism.

With such a flawed core, DT cannot be an effective approach to innovation or innovation methodology. We, at SIT, are of course partial, since the very essence and entire trajectory of our past 22 years includes designing and refining a powerful alternative to brainstorming. And, indeed, we propose today a combination of the useful elements of Design Thinking paired with a powerful and effective method to generate ideas.

We promise to come back with more on this topic. Meanwhile, we invite you to share with us your experience using DT versus other innovation methodologies.


Why stop there? Continue reading and learn how to incentivize innovation in your company.

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