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Selecting an Innovation Framework

Navigating the Innovation Process

A strategic approach to innovation, with the customer as the central focus, drives adaptability and continual improvement, as well as boosting competitiveness. Structuring ideation efforts also supports a more systematic and consistent innovation strategy. This process also ensures that innovation initiatives are in line with the company’s strategic goals and objectives. It also increases efficiency and resource optimization, promotes resilience and adaptation, and engages and empowers employees.

IdeaScale, in its article, “What is an Innovation Framework?,” further notes that instituting these processes or methodologies can help future-proof the business: “An innovation framework helps businesses future-proof themselves by embracing change and proactively seeking new opportunities. It enables businesses to anticipate market trends, identify emerging technologies, and explore business model innovation. This forward-looking approach helps businesses adapt and thrive in an ever-evolving business landscape.”

In addition, IdeaScale identifies ten types of commonly used frameworks:

  • Open Innovation Framework: This involves collaborating with external partners, such as customers, suppliers, or research institutions, to exchange knowledge, ideas, and resources for innovation. It focuses on leveraging external expertise to drive innovation within the organization.
  • Blue Ocean Strategy Framework: Blue Ocean Strategy aims to create uncontested market space by identifying and developing innovative products or services that differentiate the organization from its competitors. It involves shifting the focus from competing in existing market spaces to creating new market opportunities.
  • Disruptive Innovation Framework: Coined by Clayton Christensen, this refers to the development of new products or services that initially cater to niche markets but eventually disrupt established markets. This framework emphasizes the importance of identifying and capitalizing on opportunities to disrupt existing industries.
  • Business Model Innovation Framework: Business model innovation involves reimagining and reinventing the way an organization creates, delivers, and captures value. It focuses on transforming or creating new business models to gain a competitive edge and capture new market opportunities.
  • Design Thinking Framework: Design thinking is a human-centered approach that emphasizes empathy, problem-solving, and creative thinking to drive innovation. It involves understanding user needs, ideating solutions, prototyping, and iterating based on user feedback.
  • Lean Startup Framework: The lean startup framework is centered around building and launching minimum viable products (MVPs) to quickly test assumptions and gather user feedback. It focuses on a cycle of build-measure-learn to iteratively refine products or services based on validated learning.
  • Customer-Centric Innovation Framework: This framework revolves around deeply understanding customer needs, pain points, and desires. It involves gathering customer insights, conducting market research and leveraging customer feedback to drive innovation and create value for customers.
  • Platform Innovation Framework: Platform innovation involves developing a platform or ecosystem that enables the integration of multiple products, services, or technologies. It focuses on creating a network effect, where the value of the platform increases as more participants join and contribute.
  • Sustainability and Green Innovation Framework: This framework emphasizes developing environmentally sustainable solutions and practices. It involves incorporating environmental considerations into product design, supply chains, and operations, aiming to minimize environmental impact and create more sustainable business models.
  • Co-Creation Framework: Co-creation involves customers, partners, and other stakeholders in the process. It focuses on collaborative idea generation, co-design, and co-development to create solutions that align closely with the needs and preferences of the intended users.

Stay Focused on Agile Solutions

All Things Innovation has looked previously at frameworks as an innovation solution, such as “Create A Blueprint for Success With Innovation Frameworks.” The road to innovation development is rarely a straight and narrow path. Often, there are many detours along the way. But taking an innovation framework approach could help create a blueprint for success. It’s not enough anymore to just throw an idea onto the wall and hope it will stick. Instead, these flexible and agile frameworks are a strategic structure designed to give the enterprise and the innovation team the ability to tap into ideas. One can then evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each idea, sharpen the decision-making around each idea generated and build strategies to turn them into value-generating opportunities.

Sometimes, having a big idea is not enough. In All Things Innovation’s “Operationalizing Ideation Through Idea Management,” we looked at how ideation, the creative and systematic generation of ideas, is an important step in the innovation process. This is a method for collecting ideas and refining them through a multi-stage process consisting of phases and gates, for example. Ultimately, these ideas can be refined further over the course of the process, which aims to identify which ideas can potentially be turned into solutions. While ideation is often seen as a brainstorming process that opens the gateway to innovation, there is also a mode of thought that seeks to operationalize ideation. Turning these abstract concepts and ideas into something more measurable is akin to ideation management.

Managing the Innovation Framework Process

There are several steps to forming an innovation framework, regardless of whichever one might be flexible and agile enough to fit your company’s needs. But implementing and managing such frameworks requires planning and rigorous execution. It also requires a commitment from leadership. Fostering a culture of innovation, from the leadership of the company and the team to the individual employees, is a crucial lever of growth.

From cross-functional collaboration, to idea management and resource allocation, to championing innovation throughout the company, all play a role in in the innovation framework process, which in the end can organize, support and reinforce the company’s efforts. Ignite innovation by carefully choosing the right framework for you. These are powerful tools and mindsets that can make real progress to achieve your innovation goals.

GP Strategies, in its article, “Innovation Frameworks: What They Are and How to Build One,” makes note of a common misconception: “There is a widespread misconception that innovation is some otherworldly, extraordinary element that the lucky few stumbles upon. Realistically, you want your innovation potential to be sustainable and reliably accessed over time. If you want innovation, you need tools to understand and gauge innovation. You need science, not magic.”

Video courtesy of Growth Tribe


  • 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.

    View all posts

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