Landscape of innovation approaches: introducing version 2

The number of innovation methods available can be confusing and daunting. We’ve mapped out the various methods and approaches we’ve come across to help people explore and make sense of the broad range of methods that exist. We’ve included new approaches since our first version.

Earlier this year we presented our landscape of innovation approaches. Since publishing this diagram we’ve received many helpful comments and suggestions. We’ve also created a list of approaches not already on the map; a combination of emerging methods and new to us approaches. Which brings us to version 2 of the landscape.

Below the updated diagram we’ve included a full list of all the approaches, with new additions highlighted.

The full Landscape of innovation approaches. Download this diagram as a PDF.

We used the same structure as the previous version and grouped methods and approaches into four categories: intelligence, solution, technology and talent. These spaces reflect the premise that in order to create change, you need to understand reality, as well as develop solutions and interventions to have an effect on it. There is no formula to how the methods are positioned within these spaces. Instead, we have tried to group methods together that are closely related.

People requested more information about what each approach means and where they should go to learn more about them. For each method on the map, there is a description available somewhere on the internet. But these descriptions aren’t always clear. For newcomers to public innovation especially, we wanted to signpost useful references. This is particularly true when a method has a variety of meanings and there is no consensus among practitioners and theorists.

To provide some guidance and clarity in general, we have listed all the approaches below and added links to resources that provide a definition and introductory information. Some approaches – especially the emerging or unusual ones (e.g. reverse engineering, smart contracts) – are not always well described or documented. Whereas more established approaches may be subject to disagreement or nuances of interpretation. For example, the meaning and value of ‘design thinking’ has been fiercely disputed and criticised since it has grown in popularity.

For these more “controversial” approaches, we haven’t picked a side with the reference we’ve provided. Instead, we’ve tried to refer to resources that we consider accessible, that don’t require prior knowledge and that provide a comprehensive introduction or definition that is generally accepted.

Intelligence space

These approaches help you make sense of reality, understand causes and effects of issues, and identify opportunities. Activities are driven by an inquisitive and analytical mindset.

Solutions space

These approaches help you test and develop solutions. Activities are driven by a generative and entrepreneurial mindset, aiming to shape reality.

Intelligence - Solutions space

The crossover between the intelligence and solution space includes methods built on both mindsets. They aim to understand, as well as shape reality.

Technology space

Approaches and technology that enable action and change, such as digital tools and data-related methods (at the intersection with the intelligence space).

Talent space

Approaches focused on mobilising talent, developing technical and leadership skills and increasing organisational readiness.

We hope you have found this useful as a primer. As this map is a continual work in progress we look forward to your feedback to further improve it. Please get in touch with us through the States of Change twitter.

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