Skip to content

Create A Blueprint for Success With Innovation Frameworks

With a strong framework, the business can take a more competitive approach to idea generation. These ideas can then be more easily turned into options for executives to consider. There are many different types of innovation frameworks that a company can leverage. “There are many frameworks for tackling different types of problems in different contexts, and those collectively help you to innovate,” says Samina Karim, professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at Northeastern’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business.

Common Innovation Frameworks

Northeastern University’s article, “Popular Innovation Frameworks and How to Use Them,” examines some of the more common innovation framework systems in the context of mergers and acquisitions. These can work for a variety of industries and provides structure to the innovation and ideation process, giving the team ways to weigh and evaluate their options.

The first framework revolves around the question of whether a company should focus on partnerships versus acquisitions. The pros and cons need to be evaluated for each avenue forward. “To successfully create value from other firms, whether through an alliance or acquisition, businesses must first ask themselves what they hope to get from the other company, what kinds of resources are at stake, and what the market looks like,” the article states.

A second framework revolves around what is called the new merger and acquisition playbook. In other words, if a firm has been acquired, just how will it be integrated, or not, into your operations? “It seems like a simple question, but the framework breaks this down into two ideas,” Karim says. “Are you acquiring something so that you continue to do what you do, but do it better, or is it that you really want to do something new and different than what you already do?”

The Three Horizons framework follows, with an emphasis on how to sustain growth and improve performance. According to Northeastern University, the first horizon represents the core products or services that have the highest levels of consumer recognition and profits. The second horizon consists of emerging opportunities that may need investments to reach their profit potential, and the third is made up of ideas for profitable growth that will take longer to generate results.

Another popular framework to establish new markets is known as Blue Ocean. This postulates that red oceans are markets already in existence and represent most industries with defined and accepted boundaries. Blue oceans, on the other hand, are largely untapped markets, where companies can expand by creating their own demand. “Organizations seeking to adapt the blue ocean framework for their own use can consider how to best use their current business practices, products, and services in new markets, leveraging their expertise for unique purposes.”

Innovation Ventures

Innovation frameworks are often a key part of the research and development process. Yet, much of this process also revolves around the questions of corporate venturing and how the enterprise deals with start-ups and new ventures.

In All Things Innovation’s “Innovation Ventures,” Seth Adler discusses the subject with Chris Varley, Principal of Goodyear Ventures, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. Varley states that, “Big companies develop bureaucracy because they need it. What happens though is a lot of rigidity creeps in, and that can kill innovation. So, smart companies start looking at how we can keep the bureaucracy that we need to function as a large organization – but find better, faster, cheaper ways to get new ideas in-house and in the market.” This would be the origin of how a partnership with startups and corporate ventures comes into fruition.

Research and development is a necessity for a business to thrive, however there are many bottlenecks and misconceptions that come with the process as a whole. One primary misconception that Varley touches on is the overall role of an R&D professional. He states that “the key is to enable the people in R&D to be gatekeepers and to understand that their role is to not necessarily to always invent everything, but to identify what the right things are.”

Testing, Testing

Innovation frameworks can be complex and there are numerous models to choose from. Before picking one for you and your team, it’s important to set goals and priorities while assessing the scope and scale of the project in question. We asked ChatGPT for a few fundamental tips in employing an innovation framework.

  1. Start small: Innovation frameworks are complex and can be overwhelming if you try to tackle them all at once. Start with one or two core ideas, then build out from there as needed.
  2. Set measurable goals: Make sure that the framework you choose has clear objectives so that progress can be tracked and reported on easily. This will help ensure that the project is moving forward in a meaningful way.
  3. Involve stakeholders early: Get key stakeholders involved in the process of developing an innovation framework early on so they understand how it works and can provide feedback throughout its development and implementation phases.
  4. Test and refine: Before launching your new framework, make sure to test it internally first before rolling it out to customers or clients for broader use cases – this will help identify any potential issues before they become larger problems down the line.
  5. Iterate and improve: As you gain more experience using your innovation framework, take time periodically to review what’s working well, what needs improvement, and how else it could be used effectively in different contexts or industries.

Growth Drivers

Even strong innovation teams, often with a cross functional focus, can strengthen their efforts through different types of innovation frameworks to drive growth. It is an effective way to vet ideas, evaluate pros and cons and make more educated decisions. It can also speed up the process of innovation. These systems can also help encourage and foster a culture of innovation. From disruptive and incremental innovation to other types of innovation processes, there are a diverse set of strategic frameworks that are designed depending upon need and scope. These systems can support the organization and set the best parameters, practices and processes for guiding your company on the way to their own “Blue Ocean” of potential profits.


  • Matt Kramer

    Matthew Kramer is the Digital Editor for All Things Insights & All Things Innovation. He has over 20 years of experience working in publishing and media companies, on a variety of business-to-business publications, websites and trade shows.


Related Content

Bulletin board with post it notes. One in center says Make Things Happen.
innovation team

Managing Productive Innovation

Conservatively, I estimate that I’ve attended 20,000-plus meetings throughout my career. I’ll admit, many of them should have been replaced with email…

A blueprint with a pencil and ruler.
delivery effectiveness

Innovation Principles, 7/7

Once adequate competency, support, and size of a new team are secured, clear direction based on a purposeful vision, alignment with a winning game pla…

coin operated binoculars and open blue sky
innovation culture

The Road to FEI24: Analytics for Innovation

Anu Sundaram, Vice President, Business Analytics, Rue Gilt Groupe, is planning an interactive analytics session for FEI 2024, taking place this June….

laboratory beaker with dropper
innovation frameworks

Transform New Product Development with AI

While AI is certainly touted as being able to create rapid data-driven insights, there are advantages in the new product development process that can…

explorer in a cave
user experience

Applying AI to Anthropological Research

Agile research and methodologies are of primary importance to the innovation discipline, as they promote a more versatile, rapid, adaptive approach to…

gross profit margin

Innovation Principles, 5/7

Gross Profit Margin and Net Present Value are two primary profitability indicators for evaluating an intended entrepreneurial offering. Even if suffic…

design thinking

Innovation Principles, 4/7

The front end of innovation is a distinctly iterative endeavor based on human-centered, design-thinking principles. It could be represented by a spira…

innovation leadership

Winning the Innovation Strategy Game

We know that having a creative mindset can fuel innovation, and that fostering a culture of innovation is also important to get the job done. Yet ther…


Taking Next Steps with Innovation Talent

As we head into the new year, taking the next steps with innovation talent remains an important question to explore. With the competitive landscape in…

innovation team

PIE: Get Your Slice of Success

How can someone really stand out and succeed as a corporate innovator, get the most exciting projects, or secure a promotion? This is a question I enc…

disruptive innovation

Shaping the Future with Disruptive Technology

As we head into 2024, innovation of all types, most especially in technology, will continue to disrupt, transform and impact our lives, from the workp…

innovation team

Keeping Your Innovation Career Resilient

With the rise of technology, such as AI, impacting workers and workplaces, it’s safe to say the future of work is evolving—in innovation and in ma…

innovation frameworks

Innovation Principles, 3/7

The main premise behind an integrated end-to-end continuum of innovation and new product development is that a holistic understanding of sequential de…

Generation Z

Shaping the Next Generation of Innovation

Generation Z is in a unique position as they are often viewed as one of the first to be shaped and influenced by technology such as the Internet, soci…

human centered design

Innovation Principles, 2/7

Successful innovation endeavors are built on creative tension between key enabling entrepreneurial trade-offs associated with four must-have constitue…

innovation growth

Unlocking Business Growth Through Innovation

The business world is changing quickly for innovators and there is a growing and ever-present imperative to keep up. Business model transformations an…

transformational innovation

Innovation Principles, 1/7

Imagine a case where a company’s growth depends on an innovation involving complex cross-disciplinary technologies such as electro-mechanical hardwa…

innovation culture

Sustaining the Self-Disruption Journey

The adage “disrupt or be disrupted” may not necessarily always mean the same thing to the same companies. Even the original architects of disrupti…


Playing the Game of Disruption

At FEI, Angelina Carvajal, Strategy & Innovation Partner, Sr. Dir. (Optum Advisory), UnitedHealth Group, had a chance to share her thoughts on disrupt…

innovation mindset

Creating the Happiness Mindset for Innovation

With 2023 often being labeled the year of uncertainty, it comes as no surprise that consumers, and the innovation community, has had its fair share of…

external partnerships

Powering Innovation’s Long-Term Play

Ishan Jaithwa, Manager, New Growth Areas, Cummins Inc., sat down with All Things Innovation’s Seth Adler at our studio at the FEI conference. Jaithw…

product innovation

Design Thinking Faces the Pace of Change

Seth Adler of All Things Innovation recently caught up with Prapti Jha, T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, at this year’s FEI co…

innovation culture

Opening the Doors of Innovation Perception

Seth Adler of All Things Innovation caught up with Cory Sorice, SVP and Chief Innovation Officer, Masonite International, during this year’s FEI con…

digital transformation

Beyond Innovation Theater

At FEI, All Things Innovation conducted a special roundtable, bringing cross industry, cross disciplinarians together to talk about transformation and…

digital transformation

Supporting Data with Design Thinking

At FEI, All Things Innovation conducted a special roundtable, bringing cross industry, cross disciplinarians together to talk about transformation and…


Achieving Transformational Innovation

At FEI, All Things Innovation conducted a special roundtable, bringing cross industry, cross disciplinarians together to talk about transformation and…

chief strategy officer

Setting the Strategic Direction

A chief strategy officer (CSO) is increasingly becoming a more relevant element to a research and development team in an organization. An innovation t…

innovation leadership

Playing Moneyball for the Win

In the popular baseball movie “Moneyball,” the character Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill) highlights the “epic failure” of MLB leadership in managin…

innovation mindset

Putting Together Your Innovation Team

As the community’s recent Innovation Spend & Trends Report indicated, innovation teams are not working in a bubble, or at least not as much as they…

scalable innovation

Sizing Up Your Innovation’s Impact

If your company has successfully developed an innovative product or service, you might be at the stage of the process known as scalability. Perhaps yo…

innovation strategy

Generating Innovation Through Ideation

Ideation is often confused with innovation, along with other related terms regarding the creative process, such as brainstorming or design thinking. W…

innovation talent

Managing Talent to Drive Innovation

With the economy producing mixed signals, and companies often in a state of flux, managing innovation talent has never been a more challenging and imp…


Balancing Innovation with Ambidexterity

Innovators have long been tasked with being a flexible part of an ambidextrous team, as part of an organizational cog that can easily pivot and manage…

disruption theory

Defining Disruptive Innovation

Disruptive innovation is often a phrase used to make a splash in the business world. Some may debate that the label has been applied carelessly at tim…

innovation strategy

Gaining True Value While Moving Forward

The All Things Innovation community came together in this Gathering on Innovation Strategy to drive immediate lessons learned through the first half o…

humanity-centric innovation

Diving Into Humanity-Centric Innovation

With the continued emergence and evolving development of artificial intelligence, there rises a question of how humans and AI can work together more e…

innovation talent

Tapping Into the Innovation Talent Pipeline

In the last few years, the pandemic and a range of other economic factors have influenced the talent recruitment, development and retention practices…

innovation talent

Ignite a Culture of Innovation

From the successes to the failures, from the breakthroughs to the breaking points, the innovation community knows all too well that fostering a cultur…

innovation mindset

Innovation During A Downturn

Whether you believe the USA is headed toward or already in a recession, there are signs of a slowing or reversal of economic activity. Of the 15 metri…

successful innovation

Striving for Successful Innovation

In the quest for innovation, there is often a fine line between success and failure. The road to success is not always clear, easy or convenient. Howe…


Perspectives On Corporate Venturing

The Rolling Stones might have famously sung, “Start Me Up,” back in the 1980s, and Microsoft later tapped the tune for its Windows 95 marketing ca…


Innovation Diversity

Black, Indigenous and People of Color have always been leaders in innovation and it’s time for us to put that at the forefront. DEI, or Diversity Eq…

innovation culture

Fostering Innovation

When you start to talk that way and lead that way, people do feel more psychologically safe to support change and support innovation that’s happenin…

innovation leadership

Breakthrough Innovation

While the rest of the industry relies on iterative change, Alex Moyes explains the breakthrough innovation happening at Dominion Energy. “So Dominio…

innovation ecosystems

Innovation Ecosystems

Innovation is a journey, it’s a continuum of experiences, an act of exploration. The orchestration of ecosystems is more and more important in consi…


Innovation Ventures

The movement for startups and corporate venturing is becoming more and more of a trend in organizations according to Chris Varley, Principal of Goodye…

innovation culture

Control The Sails

Although the world was affected heavily with change in the last few years, not much in the business world has changed as far as topics and issues go….

innovation culture

Innovation Culture

Innovation starts with the employees of an organization. As we know, the people that work for a business are some of its greatest assets. In today’s…


Interaction Innovation

We are at a time in history of incredible change and technological innovations, such as the rise of machine intelligence, and companies who keep doing…

humanity-centric innovation

Humanity-Centric Innovation

Humanity-centric innovation is the idea of solving the biggest problems facing humanity in an economically viable way. Pete Dulcamara, Chief Scientist…

innovation leadership

Certain Uncertainty

Life is uncertain in every way. It’s always interesting to meet new people and try new things. On the other hand, attackers may sometimes appear out o…


Strategic Innovation

Any new concept or technological advancement will continue to change and advance. Landlines were commonplace before smartphones. Remember those? What…

constant change

Innovation As Constant Change

The key strategy to a successful business is to know when they are being innovative or are just transforming their status quo according to market tren…