Innovations need opportunities. Our new article describes how such opportunities turn into ideas. And how they can be brought to market with the help of the Innovation Mesh.

“Every man is surrounded by opportunity. But these only exist when they are recognised. And he knows them only when he seeks them!” I take this quote from the British medical doctor, cognitive scientist and writer Edward de Bono in my article “How innovation works. The e-camper bike is picking up speed – a case study”. I am interested in how we can recognise the opportunities that surround us all and turn them into innovations. The article was recently published in issue 03 of the trade journal “Ideen- und Innovationsmanagement” by ESV Verlag and is available here (in German language).

Manage innovations in a structured and flexible way with the Innovation Mesh

For my illustrative case study, I use the ‘Innovation Mesh’ – a process model that enables the management of innovations in a structured and flexible way. It is an approach of innovation management to act in dynamic and unmanageable situations and to use the opportunities that surround us.

The Innovation Mesh contains seven themes that bring an idea to maturity and finally to a marketable product. In the case study, the bicycle manufacturer Jørens Zweiräder runs through these seven themes (several times) with a specially created ‘Innovation Project Group’. In several iterations, the team uses the ‘Innovation Mesh’ to bring the e-camper-bike to market maturity in different markets.

Fostering out-of-the-box thinking

The individual Innovation Mesh themes are not only run through once, but sometimes up to three times, in order to have the final product ready for different markets. Thus, the project group’s process model serves as a flexible structure and orientation to further develop the innovation step by step. In contrast to other approaches to innovation management, ideas that do not appear to be very promising from the current perspective are not simply rejected. They are repeatedly reassessed in several experimental phases. Out-of-the-box thinking is thus encouraged.

And why do we need it? To turn opportunities into innovations.