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Software for the fuzzy front-end: Focus areas and how to make it fly

Judging by Our project pipeline, leading firms are intensifying their efforts in developing the fuzzy front-end of the innovation funnel. We are currently conducting a study to better understand where things are going. First, preliminary results suggest that development efforts are targeted at

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  • Getting more original ideas from internal staff
  • Connecting new ideas with existing ideas and experts
  • Generating more breakthrough concepts and ensure proper funding
  • Improving the processing of existing ideas
  • Using more external impulses (also from Big Data) as catalyst for ideas
  • Step Securing management buy-in for innovation


This does not mean, of course that other issues such as e.g. extending the innovation ecosystem and get more innovation impulses from academia, start-ups and SMEs have lost their importance. It is more about the question, in which direction the extra mile will be walked.

“So I have decided for and implemented
your software. How do you make your firm using it?”

Usually, in our discussions with clients that are in the process of implementing a new respectively changing to a new software platform that supports these fuzzy front-end optimizations we are asked what should be done after the software is technically available. How do you get things going? Judging by our experience, the game plan should build on 6 meaningful first goals:

  1. Awareness: Find meaningful „show case“ targeted campaigns but do not Do not fall prey to actionism, do not work without business-related metrics – The question, “what did we get out of it” will surely come
  2. Pioneers and Ambassadors: Support and fund the pioneers who are willing to take a risk; Do not work without funding and proper resources for the ones that march ahead
  3. Meaning: Drive implementation for the first show case campaigns and do not think that a large number of campaigns – the „innovation carnival“ – will move the organization
  4. Communities, Viral change: Connect and support the pioneers and early movers; Do not underestimate the power of connection and curiosity
  5. Act your way into thinking: Actively build Critical Mass for Change by providing stories and spaces for learning; Do not assume that the first steps of change in innovation culture can be ordered top-down
  6. Sponsorship: Draw in Management support early and do not assume that change in innovation culture can be fully implemented bottom-up