Drive Innovation
Many of us think we’re not creative. But when we’re in a situation that demands creativity, we find out we were wrong; creativity is not the rare attribute so many of us assume it is. This is also true for innovation. “Doing” an innovation project or “being” innovative may sound daunting, but really, it just requires a toolkit and the willingness to try. Even better? You can integrate these tools and approaches into your company, with real impact.

A gamification approach to innovation

An automotive company wanted to shape its digital transformation strategy.

A «gamification» approach was chosen to ideate new digital services and products. Rather than imposing a strategy from the top, the conscious choice was made to generate the ideas bottom-up. Following up on the most promising ones using a «lean-start-up-methodology», some of the ideas were implemented and created the building blocks of a digital transformation strategy.

Ideation with «Future Deck» gamification

Frugal Innovation

Oliver Gassmann on frugal innovation – meaning developing products for the bottom of the pyramid in emerging markets.

Design Thinking

Design Thinking is a development that has recently attracted significant attention in the management discourse. The Institute of Information Management at the University of St. Gallen, the academic home of all three authors, has been conducting Design Thinking teaching and research for 10 years.

In this study, Design Thinking is defined as: mindset, process, and toolbox. As a mindset, Design Thinking is characterized by several key principles: a combination of divergent and convergent thinking, a strong orientation to both obvious and hidden needs of customers and users, and prototyping. As a process, Design Thinking is seen as a combination of a micro- and a macro-process.

The micro-process—as innovation process per se—consists of these steps: “Define the Problem”, “Needfinding and Synthesis”, “Ideate”, “Prototype” and “Test”. The macro-process consists of milestones manifested in prototypes that must fulfill defined requirements. As a toolbox, Design Thinking refers to the application of numerous methods and techniques from various disciplines: design, but also engineering, informatics, and psychology. Today, a growing number of companies, consulting firms, and universities use Design Thinking, continuously enlarging and re-defining its meaning.

At University of St.Gallen, Design Thinking is taught as a problem-based course, together with research partner companies, with more than 40 projects successfully completed over the past 10 years. Research in Design Thinking at the University of St.Gallen focuses on aspects of modeling the Design Thinking processes and corporate entrepreneurship.

In the near future, Design Thinking is expected to be deployed as an innovative method in corporations and also become an integral part of management education, particularly innovation. In addition, it will be developed further at the interface of design, design management and engineering sciences.

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