Innovation is often reduced to brainstormings. And brainstormings often don’t work. The BrainStore team has deciphered the DNA of innovation and identified 34 building blocks in six categories:
All building blocks are based on common sense. A smart 12 year old understands the meaning of each building block. Successful innovation work happens when you consider all six categories and reflect on where to invest your time and energy.
To learn more about the DNA of Innovation you can attend the BrainStore Innovation Champ Training.
Feel free to download The DNA of Innovation Poster (PDF).
Getting a good briefing requires two roles: the customer (needs an idea) and the Innovation Champ (supports the customer to find solutions). Before you start an innovation process, make sure you have the information you need. Place the information in the 6 briefing parts.
Verifiable facts and figures in the context of the project, style Wikipedia.
What is the customers general purpose (independent of the project)?
Information about the planned initiatives in line with the purpose. Provides the big picture.
What are the goals of the innovation project?
What is the desired outcome? Deadlines? What resources are available?
How do we measure the success of the project?
The outcome of an innovation process depends largely on the composition of the community. Don't expect great ideas by bringing together people who think alike and work together every day. Bring in a mix of innovators to conjure refreshing, disturbing, provocative thinking. Dissent adds flavor!
Creating Community 2.1
Involve participants from within the organization. E.g. production, R&D, sales, back office
Creating Community 2.2
Involve the target group when you create ideas! You will surprised how much they can contribute
Creating Community 2.3
Involve those who enable and prevent change. E.g. managers, sponsors, investors, Dr. No
Creating Community 2.4
External experts, who are not familiar with the topic, provide fresh ideas and insights.
Creating Community 2.5
Invite people who catalyze creative thinking. Teenagers, students, artists, freaks!
Creating Community 2.6
The organizing team manages the process. Don't mix organizers + participants!
In a world full of distraction and activism, it is a big challenge to make sure innovators are motivated. Champs often forget about this vital factor, especially in ongoing innovation work. This leads to many projects going dormant after an invigorating launch.
Share the briefing highlights. Interesting challenges motivate!
Work with well composed teams! It's very motivating to meet and work with interesting people.
Simple things like nice food, good drinks or an unusual location have a big impact on motivation.
Share the credits for the outcome with all participants. Let participants share their experience.
Some participants might expect or simply depend on being paid for participating.
Say please + thank you and keep participants updated: it's motivating and a good investment.
Innovation projects are often initiated without a clear idea of the process. By using the BrainStore Idea Machine, you can fully focus on people and content and don't need to worry about designing the process. The beauty of the Idea Machine Process: it's simple, scalable, replicable and robust.
Idea Machine Process 4.1
Identify good questions, associate suitable tools, organize location and equipment.
Idea Machine Process 4.2
Inspiring techniques lead to many ideas and inputs. Results are well documented. Quantitative goals!
Idea Machine Process 4.3
Participants now identify good ideas. They discover, combine and enhance. Qualitative goals!
Idea Machine Process 4.4
Participants point out the ideas they like. Results are analyzed based on success criteria + refined
Idea Machine Process 4.5
Leading ideas are now brought into comparable formats: visuals and context are provided.
Idea Machine Process 4.6
Get open, anonymous feedback, identify acceptance + polarization before designing the Road Map
The Road Map is where the big picture of innovation comes together. What should happen now, what comes then, what later and what might we consider doing? By designing your Road Map, you automatically think about sequence and resources. Use the results from the Idea Selection (DNA 4.6)
Road Maps 5.1
What should we be working on now?
Road Maps 5.2
What comes then?
Road Maps 5.3
What do we have in mind for later on?
Road Maps 5.4
What might we consider doing?
Building and improving your innovation culture never ends. It starts with the essential question "what is our purpose?". Learn how to interact as a team - this is especially relevant for innovators as they are - by nature of the topic - dealing with the new and unknown.
Innovation Culture 6.1
Know the purpose, the "why"! The purpose of your organization is the key driver for innovation work.
Innovation Culture 6.2
Replace rules and regulations with a smart Code of Conduct. Reflect on how to deal with failure.
Innovation Culture 6.3
Work in cycles and create shippable value with every cycle. Resolve the leadership trilemma!
Innovation Culture 6.4
Clear roles (ideally customer, champ, team member + facilitator) improve efficiency + satisfaction
Innovation Culture 6.5
Agree on and work with common tools and processes. E.g. briefings, road maps, cycle boards
Innovation Culture 6.6
Innovators need time, space, access to external resources, money. And peace of mind.