Publications by

Johannes Stark

Johannes Stark

Johannes is a psychology student at LMU in Munich and IDC in Herzliya. Experienced in behavioral research, therapy, leadership training and coaching. Freelancing journalist and blogger. On a mission to change perspectives.

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.

How to Embrace Failure Without Falling on Your Face

Published on: February 15, 2018 в 5:22 pm


Categories: innovation strategy


Many years ago, I presented what I considered to be a very cool project to an extremely smart VP of Marketing in a large B2C company on the East Coast of the US. Fortunately, she shared my enthusiasm, and the process of engaging us for the project was running along nicely. It was an ambitious and somewhat risky project in the sense that it required the involvement of about 20 high-level managers who were very skeptical about its chances of success. This put “my” VP in the stressful position of either ending up as the initiator of notable success or being forever remembered as the perpetrator of a huge mistake (could she embrace failure?).

At some point, she asked me: “Can we make absolutely sure this will succeed?”And, silly me, I answered with a big smile: “Of course not. Don’t you remember? One of our key messages in this project is that if you innovate you must embrace the risk of failure. So since we are designing such an innovative project, of course, there is a risk that it will fail.” Obviously, we didn’t get the project, because, regardless of the oft-quoted cliché, nobody really wants to “celebrate failures”. People want successes. And if there is one thing they will avoid at all costs, it is failure.


Embracing Failure, the Contradiction


There seems to be a contradiction: We want to think ahead. We want to try new things. We want to innovate and embrace failure as part of the inventive process. At the same time, we want to be in control of our outcomes. We cannot afford to make mistakes.

This leads to a dilemma: Companies encourage their employees to fail and learn. But they expect them not to fail.

Failures are at best unwanted – at worst systematically concealed, to avoid blame or punishment. Pressure is a means of control. The result: a fear of failure.

The prevalence of fear of failure in companies is alarming considering how paralyzing it can be for the companies’ development.

Three reasons for this troublesome effect:

1. Risk Aversion

Here is one cliché that is absolutely true: Failure is an essential part of innovation. When prototyping a new product, expect failure. That’s what prototypes are for, and that is why you will work on several consecutively, or even in parallel. Therefore, the maxim fails fast and try again.

But, if every failure is considered a mini-disaster, who wants to even consider risking it? Rather, the ultimate goal is to achieve full control of the process. Hence, any change or novel idea is treated as a potential threat.

2. Loser-phobia

If one strives to overcome one’s Cognitive Fixedness, a fundamental tool is the ability to reflect on one’s actions and to engage in metacognition (a reflection on one’s thinking processes). Every failure thus becomes a source of learning and a driver of change.

But, when your failures are perceived as a sign of being a “loser,” what are the chances that you will actually take the time to confront your failures, reflect on them, and draw useful conclusions?

3. Who? Me?

In cultures that do not truly accept failures, there is a strong incentive to underreport them and to avoid any public reference to them, let alone an open analysis.  This greatly increases, obviously, the probability that the same mistakes will be repeated. A good litmus test: Ask anyone who tells you that you should “embrace failure”, if they are willing to share a recent one of their own. Most chances are they won’t, and that tells you what you will be risking if you share yours.

You probably agree that it can be very beneficial to embrace failure in certain areas – in an honest and consistent manner. But in other areas, we cannot allow for mistakes. The point is, to make this distinction explicit and communicate it to everyone involved. Clarity is key.

Instead of pretending to universally embrace failure, you map out areas in which failing is acceptable. Then, you commit yourself to this map.

Here are some actions you may consider to embrace failure:

Mark your “control towers”

Imagine working in a control tower. There is obviously no way to embrace failures here. Imagine an airport with 5000 landings and take-offs per month. a mistake rate of 0.01% would imply 5 crashes per month.

There are such “control towers” in every company. In some areas, even if a leader doesn’t care to admit it, failure is not an option. Being explicit about your “control towers” is crucial, if you want people to avoid these specific mistakes at all costs. Only then, everyone is on the same page: We give our best to prevent failure and if it happens, we report it.

embrace failure

In other areas, the expectation might not be as clear. We suggest three mechanisms: define roles, draw lines and install safety nets.

When defining roles, you assign to a specific group of employees the role of innovators. It is then clear to everyone that this group will generate ideas, try new things – and occasionally fail. Your “innovators” will enjoy the freedom to explore and develop new ideas. At the same time, they will be accountable for their failures as part of the process.

Drawing lines means, defining which parts of a project are open to experimentation and those that are not. Within the defined lines, failure is acceptable. Innovation is welcome.

Safety nets are a similar idea, on a different level. To limit the impact of failures, you innovate in specific areas, e.g. those that are not part of your core business.

In defining roles, drawing lines and installing safety nets, we map out areas in which failures are acceptable. Only then we can truly claim: We embrace failure. Feel free to innovate.

In addition to the above actions, you can also utilize some advice from experts on the subject. 

Have a backup plan

Leon Ho says that it never hurts to have a back-up plan. The last thing you want to do is scramble for a solution when the worst has happened. “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” This old adage holds solid wisdom. Having a backup plan gives you more confidence to move forward and take calculated risks.

Perhaps you’ve applied for a grant to fund an initiative at work. In the worst-case scenario, if you don’t get the grant, are there other ways you could secure the funds? There are usually multiple ways to tackle a problem, so having a back-up plan is a great way to reduce anxiety about possible failure.

Leon Ho (

Identify the consequences

Theo Tsaousides says that in order to attenuate fear of failure, first identify the consequences of failing that scare you the most and evaluate your ability to deal with these consequences. Instead of talking yourself out of the fear by hoping that nothing negative will happen, focus on building confidence to deal with the consequences.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Which of these consequences scare you the most?
  • How much impact will they have on you? Are they merely unpleasant or life-threatening? Will they just make you feel uncomfortable, or will they hurt you deeply and irreparably?
  • How quickly will you move on? Are the consequences permanent or reversible? Are they short-lived, or will they linger forever?
  • How well can you handle them? Can you exercise damage control, or will you hide and disappear?

Theo Tsaousides (

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge, it’s your turn: Tell us about YOUR experience in dealing with a Fear of Failure and check out one of our latest article on how to manage airtime!

How To Optimize Your Innovation Strategy by Making Your Idea a Sweet Idea

Published on: January 25, 2018 в 1:11 pm


Categories: Creativity,innovation,innovation strategy


What’s the perfect New Year’s Resolution?


Hint: think re: innovation strategy

Well, if that wasn’t sufficient, here are two additional hints…

(1) It’s not only challenging but actually promises a significant change in your life;

(2) It’s not pie in the sky, but applicable to your daily life.


Let’s take a more practical approach…

If your goal is to get in shape, watching TV while standing is maybe not the most effective initiative. However, regular mountain climbing is probably a bit of a stretch if you are a fairly immobile city dweller.

This is the Near-Far-Sweet Idea Mapping Model as applied to your daily life.

Near – ideas that are pretty close to current practice. They are new, but probably not impactful enough to be worth your attention.

Far –  exciting ideas, but not viable. Either the market is not ready to accept them, or you will not be able to implement them.

When optimizing your innovation strategy you want your ideas to be neither too close to home (“Near”) nor too challenging to be implementable (“Far”). You want your ideas to be new and exciting but at the same time realistic and useful. This is your Innovation Sweet Spot.


Learn How To Enhance Your Innovation Strategy By Making Your Ideas Sweet:

This all sounds pretty obvious and common sense. Surprisingly, the distinction is often overlooked, or at least not given systematic treatment. Categorizing the results of an ideation session or workshop into Near, Far and Sweet – as seen in the visual on the right – will give you an important indication as to the practicality of your ideas. It can also be a useful tool to improve the outcomes of your innovation strategies, by pushing some Nears and Fars into the Sweet Spot.

But before we share a quick guide to applying NFS to NPD, here are some thoughts of how it can serve as a practical tool to support the “Dual Innovation Approach” as defined by Ralph-Christian Ohr. Ohr cites research that shows that the Dual Innovation Approach is used by 70% of the most innovative companies:

innovation strategy
[With Dual Innovation] innovation management follows a balanced portfolio approach. The entire innovation portfolio is divided into exploitation-oriented and exploration-oriented innovation initiatives, where the following characterizations hold:


  • Exploitation-oriented initiatives are related to running the core business by executing and enhancing existing business models or technological capabilities. The primary direction of impact is valued capturing (commercialization). Examples: Product, service or process innovation, portfolio extension, innovation of selected business model components (e.g. channel or operations), market research.
  • Exploration-oriented initiatives are related to developing future business by searching for the novel, and often disruptive, business models or technological capabilities. The primary direction of impact is value creation (configuration). Examples: Business model development, platform/ecosystem innovation, basic technology research & development, startup engagement, innovation intelligence.

( Ralph-Christian Ohr


Ralph-Christian further introduces three playing fields of dual innovation:

  • Optimize the Core (Optimization of existing business models and technologies)
  • Reshape the Core (Transformation of existing business models and/or scaling up new business models/technologies)
  • Create the New (Creation of new-to-the-company business models and Technologies)

( Ralph-Christian Ohr


Integrating Ideas

He then elaborates on the true challenge of dual innovation: neither developing extensions of the product/service portfolio within the existing business model, nor coming up with completely new ideas, but integrating new ideas into your existing innovation strategy:

When it comes to integration, most companies face huge problems. This is the space where two main activities need to be conducted to achieve business impact from innovation and to future-proof the existing business model:

  • Validated breakthrough or even disruptive innovation concepts need to be scaled up for achieving business impact. If a company does not master Scaling-Up there is a high chance that all ideation will remain only innovation theatre.
  • In the light of Digital Transformation, adapting the established core business models by innovating selected elements (e.g. platform strategies, x-as-a-service business models, bypassing the middle man or automatization of service processes) is mandatory. If a company does not master adaptation it risks to lose in Digital Transformation.

( Ralph-Christian Ohr

Ohr presents a challenge: strategic ideas ought to be transformed to have maximum impact – to be innovative enough but not too disruptive. Through the NFS model, the SIT (Systematic Inventive Thinking) methodology invites you to apply two principles that, together, cover both directions:

1. Qualitative Change. Very often, “near” ideas are generated by incrementally improving on existing offerings, making them “bigger, faster, better”, i.e a quantitative change. The QC principle calls you to observe the basic logic of your product or service but change a fundamental relationship in this logical structure. Example: don’t offer your product at a discount, but offer it for free, generating revenue by a totally different business model. This is easier said than done, of course, but using the right tools, it allows you to push Near ideas into the Sweet Spot.

2. Closed World. The second basic principle of SIT is rather counterintuitive: when innovating, try as much as possible to utilize only those elements that already exist in the system.

innovation strategy

Instead of reaching out of the box, innovate inside the box. Instead of searching for new elements, find new angles and possibilities in the existing ones. By applying several tools under this principle, you will be able to pull in some Far ideas, turning wishful thinking into viable options and improve your innovation strategy

So, here’s a NY’s resolution that hopefully resides within your Sweet Spot: Map your new ideas on an NFS diagram, consider whether enough of them are in the Sweet Spot, and then push and pull those that are not to create exciting but viable options for development of your innovation strategy. Enjoy.

Want to keep learning? Check out what you can learn from an innovation facilitation session.

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