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Innovation Tools

As someone working or studying in the field of innovation, you probably already know that there exists a wealth of tools and techniques to help you find your way through the innovation maze.


Pareto Analysis

(A tool for separating the major causes (the ‘vital few’) of a problem, from the minor ones (‘trivial many’).

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Customer personas

A powerful approach to identifying and understanding users and their needs


PEST Analysis

Closely linked to the SWOT approach (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) this is a simple way of developing a map of the factors and forces in the environment which affect the strategic challenges and opportunities facing an organisation.

Linear Abstract Pattern

Pattern Recognition

Various tools for combatting assumptions.

Missing Piece

Policy Deployment

A tool for exploring strategy by breaking down big themes into smaller elements.


Partnerships with People

This is a framework and self-assessment package originally developed by the UK Department of Trade and Industry. Based on interviews with over 70 successful firms, it provides a simple assessment and some guidance on development paths and actions.

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Portfolio Management Tools

Portfolio Management (PM) techniques are systematic ways of looking at a set of projects or activities or even business units, in order to reach an optimum balance between risks and returns, stability and growth, attractions and drawbacks in general, by making the best use of usually limited resources.

Implementation Planning


A tool that translates customer requirements, expressed in the customers’ language, into an action plan.

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Problem-solving cycle

A tool for evaluating continuous improvement.

Image by Yaopey Yong


A tool for exploring possible causes of innovation project failure by anticipating what might go wrong.

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Post-Project Reviews

 A tool for analysing strengths and weaknesses of projects.

Market Analysis

Potential Problem Analysis

A tool to help implementation of innovation by trying to think through what might happen and developing contingency plans for how to deal with those problems.

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Product Life Cycle Analysis

A useful tool to help analysis where and when different approaches to innovation may be needed. Can also apply to services.


Product Process Matrix

The product/process matrix is a simple tool for mapping whether or proposed strategic choices around your firm`s product portfolio are in line with your overall manufacturing capability.

Image by Clayton Robbins

Process Mapping

A tool for representing processes as sequences of time-based activities. It considers the whole process – paying particular attention to interfaces between different types or stages of processes.



A tool for testing innovation.



An approach to brainstorming which focuses on questions rather than solutions as its starting point. 

Image by Mathew Schwartz

Rapid prototyping

Rapid prototyping technologies and approached are another powerful technological resource in product development.

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Relationship mapping

A tool for exploring and mapping the relationship between different entities involved in a problem


Remote Associations Test (RAT)

A set of tests to help explore creative abilities around divergent thinking.


Research portfolio management

The basic idea behind portfolio models is that there are different types of technology.



A useful technique in creative problem solving.


Rich Pictures

A tool for representing complex problems and identifying possible routes through to their solution.


Risk Assessment Matrix

A simple way of ranking different potential projects in terms f their potential benefit and the likely risks or costs in implementing them.

Empty Road

Road Mapping

A tool for looking ahead to some kind of future state and then tracking back through the stages needed to get to that state.

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