Last week an innovation team of G+J Publishers in Amsterdam generated 752 new business ideas in 4 hours. How did they do it? Five reasons caused the explosion of ideas during their ideation workshop.

  1. They have a real need for innovation. Print is going down and digital is going up. There’s a real need to innovate, felt by everybody.
  2. They are a wonderful multidisciplinary team. Decision makers, line managers and experts work together in an innovation team of 15 people. Everyone is involved and has an open mind.
  3. They get all the support they need. Although the team members have more than full-time jobs, They make time for innovation. And they are fully supported by the CEO and COO to prioritize innovation.
  4. They follow a structured method. They use the FORTH innovation method, a structured series of workshops to generate mini new business cases. A method helps you to do the right things in the right order and it helps maintaining focus and discipline.
  5. They got new insights. Prior to the ideation workshop the teammembers were inspired during 6 weeks discovering innovation opportunities and relevant customers’ frictions. New insights deliver new ideas.

Of course it’s also an art to choose out of 752 ideas the right ideas to work out as new concepts and later in the process as mini new business cases. How do you do this in practice? More on this in my next article.

By Gijs van Wulfen

About the author

Gijs van Wulfen (The Netherlands, 1960) is the founder of the FORTH innovation method. FORTH is an effective and structured method for ideating innovative products and services. The method is published in his inspiring and practical book Creating Innovative Products and Services’ (Gower, 2011).

He helps organisations to kick start innovation by facilitating the FORTH innovation method and advising companies on their innovation strategy, process and organisation. His clients are international companies in industry and services, as well as non-profit organisations in government and health. Gijs also trains facilitators in his method. His dream is to make FORTH the most used method for the front end of innovation around the world.

Gijs is a both presenter and chairman at several (international) innovation conferences, like the ISPIM Conferences and the European Conference on Creativity and Innovation. He is also founder of the yearly Dutch Innovation Conference on creating new products: ‘Nieuwe Producten Bedenken’.