I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.

          Rudyard Kipling (1902)


Here is a simple template to create your company’s innovation strategy:


  • Determine what business lines are to be innovated.
  • Determine what products or services within those business lines need innovation.
  • Establish a portfolio model that compares innovation output from one business line to another.
  • Rank order business lines based on the strength of their innovation portfolio pipelines.


  • Determine how much innovation is needed.  Use a tool like Map-the-Gap.
  • Tie innovation to a strategy framework such as The Big Picture.
  • Focus innovation exercises to link directly to the strategy framework.
  • Use the framework to identify market adjacencies.


  • Schedule innovation workshops at the front end of the business cycle to help determine what projects will get funding in the next budget cycle.
  • Schedule innovation workshops after the planning cycle to jump-start new initiatives for the upcoming year.


  • Choose specific methods of innovation to be used based on efficacy and results.
  • Combine different methods to leverage the strengths of each.
  • Integrate the methods by using the output of one as inputs for the others.


  • Set aside space with the specific purpose of conducting innovation workshops.


  • Form innovation “dream teams” to maximize the success of innovation efforts.
  • Schedule training on how to use innovation methods.
  • Examine the company’s innovation culture to diagnose where it is weak.
  • Establish an innovation competency model.
  • Designate and empower commercial leaders to drive innovation efforts.