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Golden rules for using this book

Before we get started and dive into the innovation process itself, we’d like to share five guiding principles that are helpful in dealing with potential uncertainties.

1. Don’t just read this book

This handbook was written not just to be read, but to be used as a team. It is not a theoretical treatise to be read in one go but primarily intended as a guide for self-initiated work. So be sure to alternate consistently between reading and doing, reading and doing ...

2. Decide for yourself

The approach set out in this book is just one suggestion among many. You must constantly assess and decide for yourself which method is useful at any given moment and which doesn’t fit the bill. Methods can be skipped or combined at any time, and the procedure can be adapted.

3. Start by just doing it

A good idea can quickly get lost due to unresolved issues or uncertainties. Instead of waiting until every little detail has been clarified, it’s enormously valuable to actually do something first. You’ll lose out if you get stuck at the thinking stage. Trying things out in practice is always a winning approach!

4. Try again

Failure’s a good thing! By failing, you gather experience of what doesn’t work and gain a greater understanding of what can potentially work. So if something doesn’t work out at the first attempt, don’t give up: keep trying.

5. Get support

Sometimes you get to the point where you’re simply not getting anywhere. In this case: seek out dialog and support! Consult colleagues or people you know who are willing to listen and offer a fresh perspective on an entrenched problem, or seek out experts and like-minded individuals who are enthusiastic about public service design. The CityLAB is one excellent place to find such individuals, for example.