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The basics of the innovation process

The innovation process consists of investigative and formative work phases. It can be broken down into two areas: the problem area (magenta) and the solution area (blue). Within these areas, a distinction is made between phases and stages, which can be repeated as needed. This flexible structure makes it possible to deal with complex problems for which there is no single correct answer.

The right attitude is fundamental when it comes to successfully carrying out innovation processes. Proceed with curiosity, remain bold and adopt an open-ended approach. Embrace a positive view of people that recognizes diverse perspectives as being valuable. Honest and trusting cooperation enables all participants to create something together that they would not be able to achieve on their own.

The procedure in the diamond-shaped phases involves alternating between opening and closing work steps. “Opening” means exploring or questioning something in order to gather new information. “Closing” means structuring, understanding and collating the new knowledge. This creates a dynamic process between learning and application.

There are numerous methods that feature in the innovation process. They are used to perform certain activities and support creative thinking and action. Creativity is not a talent: it’s a skill that is practiced and upon which you should build.

The tools are common work tools such as sticky notes, markers, and movable wall panels. Depending on availability, standing tables, whiteboards, smartphones and mobile computers can be helpful, too.