fuzzy front end of innovation

What’s That Smell? Skunk Works® Meets Collaborative Innovation

The front and back ends of innovation test us in different ways. At the front end we wrestle with, “What problem is worth solving?” At the back end we wrestle with, “How do deliver something that offers greater relative advantage than the next best alternative?” The back end can test us the most. We tap fully our potential for leadership to produce something new—something that, in its newness, disrupts the status quo. In this article, innovation architect Doug Collins explores the link between the Skunk Works®, a successful approach to the back end developed during World War II, in the context of today’s approach to collaborative innovation.

Be an A-Tension Seeker: Why Good Ideas Stem from Irritating Problems?

All too often we see companies coming to us with a new technological advancement that they are very excited about. Sadly, having a new technology does not guarantee a winning innovation. One needs to work hard at the front end to understand what the consumer needs and how the current market offer isn’t meeting those needs. Only against this backdrop can we hope to bring an idea to market that will be truly disruptive. The following article explains.

Searching for Needs is the Best Innovation Strategy

Is it possible that only a quarter of all companies are highly effective at the front end of innovation? If so, what kinds of companies are most successful at the ideation and conversion stages? Gijs van Wulfen describes three different kinds of companies and suggests the Need Seekers strategy offers the greatest potential for superior performance in the long term.

Does Encouraging Creativity in the Workplace Improve Innovation?

Let’s start by defining creativity as thinking of new ideas and innovation as implementing new ideas. The assumption has always been that if we want to deliver innovation in terms of new products, services, processes, etc. then we need lots of creativity in order to generate ideas. Creativity is the ‘front end of innovation’. It is how we fill the pipeline that generates a flow of new products. It follows that we should take actions to encourage creativity in the workplace if we want more innovation.

Engagement Is the ROI on the Front End of Innovation

Practicing collaborative innovation takes time, money, and attention. Organizational leaders ask practitioners to “show me the ROI.” How does the practice benefit the organization? In this article innovation architect Doug Collins explores how engagement serves as the return on the front end of the practice—and why engagement matters.

Anatomy of an Effective Front-End of Innovation Cycle

The Front End of Innovation is that fuzzy bit where someone, or a group, conceives a new business concept. We say “fuzzy” because it’s the part of the innovation process that is the most purely creative. It’s a step into the unknown to create something new and calls for different tools and techniques. Because it’s fuzzy, we think it’s useful to break it down and look at it step-by-step.

The 66-Point Innovation Checklist

Gijs van Wulfen has developed a structured innovation approach connecting creativity and business reality in five steps: Full Steam Ahead, Observe and Learn, Raise Ideas, Test Ideas and Homecoming. Here he summarizes the benefits of his method in a 66-point innovation checklist.

A Blueprint for Effective Collaborative Innovation

Blueprints help people envision the future in a clear, practical way. What will the finished work look like? How will we create it? What possibilities does the new creation hold? In this article innovation architect Doug Collins introduces a blueprint for the practice of collaborative innovation. The blueprint helps people envision their organization as they transform it through the practice.

The Role of Social in Innovation Strategy

In a recent SAP Community Network post Harun Asad mentioned innovation as one social strategy. In this article he explores the role of social in innovation strategy more broadly, and cites several real-world examples as well as shares some predictions for the future.

Innovators Look for Problems

A brand new innovation often requires changing a person’s behavior or habits, which can be a nearly impossible task! So why not approach innovation by looking at existing problems? Gijs van Wulfen looks at 10 practical problems and innovative new products or services solving them.

Use Front and Back End of Innovation Skills

With a front-end that's fuzzy and a back end that isn't very effective, no wonder creating new products and services isn't easy. Gijs van Wulfen explains why connecting the two can enhance inspiration and smooth the innovation implementation process.

The Front End of Innovation Does not Conform to a Funnel

Much of the action in innovation during the past five years has been around the front end of innovation – acquiring and gating new ideas. Doug Collins asks whether we are applying the right processes to the fuzzy front end..

Achieving Success in the Fuzzy Front End Phase of Innovation

Activities in the front end of the innovation process are often difficult to anticipate, overview and perform. Yet they are critical to successful outcomes of the innovation process. In light of a growing managerial interest in the front end, this article identifies key success factors for managing the front end, balancing acts which innovation managers need to address, as well as key contingencies affecting front end activities. Proficiency in the front end is indeed no easy task, but will have an enormous positive impact on performance for those firms that succeed.

Opinion: Innovation – Walk the Talk!

Most managers agree that innovation is the Nordic region’s last stronghold for competing in a global economy. Moreover, they are interested and fascinated by the thought of working systematically with innovation in order to gain a breakthrough to create growth and profitability for their organisations. But why then, is there so much talk and so little action, argue Gunnar Storfeldt (CEO) and Orren Shalit (Founder), S I T Scandinavia.