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Plan the process

Estimate the work and resources required

Allow enough time

Innovative concepts and serious outcomes can only emerge within a short period of time if the team is willing, able, permitted and expected to engage in a structured and creative process.

A period of several weeks should be scheduled, including at least four half-day workshops. These workshops are used to run through the individual phases of the venture. Phases of inquiry are conducted in between, as well as internal and external communication.

Define the required foundations

Consider how resources can be organized for the entire period and which supervisors need to be involved. Don’t forget to include the potential cost of organizing workshops, too. When making this assessment, it is a good idea to start by thinking through the entire process and describing it. The Process Flow method is indispensable when it comes to winning over colleagues to reliably contribute their time and expertise.

You may be reading about the steps required on your own at the moment. But as soon as you want to go ahead with the venture, you will need a team and the support of your superiors.

Anticipate the hurdles

You will encounter challenges and obstacles as part of the innovation process. Envisage different scenarios in advance.

Possible scenarios:

You will encounter challenges and obstacles as part of the innovation process. Envisage different scenarios in advance. Possible scenarios:

  • Attempts to date have fallen on receptive ears, but internal expertise or capacity is not sufficient to get started. How can it still be made to work?

  • Attempts to date have fallen on receptive ears, but dependencies on other processes have been identified that are delaying your project. How can you get started nonetheless?

  • Previous attempts created a sense of reluctance among key stakeholders. Does this mean the venture should be reworked, completely reconceived, or not implemented at all?

  • Everything is going extremely well, and there’s a huge level of outside interest. What needs to be considered, when and for whom?

Process Flow

Process Flow

What is it and what purpose does it serve?

The Process Flow allows all participants to see the time frame of the project at a glance: what is to be done at what stage of the venture? This is less about pinpoint planning and more about sketching things out as a rough draft.

Added value

A schematic overview illustrates the scope of the different phases within the overall process. In addition to the participation formats, the work that goes into them is shown, too. The overview can be used in communication with managers to obtain appropriate support. In addition, it serves to shape the collaboration with team members as well as other internal and external stakeholders. The Process Flow becomes a living document that provides orientation and a basis for evaluation as the venture moves forward.

Innovation processes involve parallel communication and coordination. Numerous work steps are required in the different phases, some of which overlap in time. This means that one step often can’t be completed before another begins. For this reason, planning must take account of both internally oriented and externally oriented work.

Process Flow

Work sheet

20 - 50 minutes


  1. Transfer scheme to a large sheet of paper or use the template. The bar height and width can be adjusted as required for your venture.

  2. Estimate the beginning, end and duration for each phase of the venture.

  3. Enter your own milestones for each phase on the time line: What do you want to have achieved at the end of the phase? Known milestones are noted in the respective bars.

  4. Now each phase is considered separately: Which participation formats (workshops, consultations, ...) are required and when? Are there any key deadlines that need to be observed? Based on the time frames estimated in Step 02, determine when workshops are to take place and which people need to be informed, recruited, and involved.

  5. Document the process flow thus created as clearly as possible for further communication. The template at the end of the chapter, Document Outcomes, can be used for this purpose.