Landscape of Innovation Approaches

Bas Leurs at Nesta: “Through our work in the Innovation Skills team, we often find ourselves being asked by governments and civil servants which innovation tools and techniques they should use. So what innovation approaches are there that can be applied in the public sector? And how are they related to each other?

With these questions in mind, over the last couple of years we’ve been mapping out the various innovation methods and approaches we’ve come across from studying innovation practice and our many conversations with different lab practitioners, colleagues and other innovation experts.

Download this diagram as a PDF.

The map we’ve created provides an overview of innovation methods and approaches that help people make sense of reality, and approaches that help develop solutions and interventions to create change.

Understanding and shaping reality

The approaches mapped out in the diagram are structured into four spaces: intelligence, solution, technology and talent. These spaces are built on the premise that in order to create change, you need to make sense and understand reality, as well as develop solutions and interventions to change that reality:

  • intelligence space – focuses on approaches that help you make sense of and conceptualise reality

  • solution space – focuses on methods that help you test and develop solutions

In terms of mindsets, you could say that the intelligence space is more academic, whereas the solution space involves more of an entrepreneurial approach. The activities in these are supported by two further spaces:

  • technology space – includes approaches and technology that enable action and change, such as digital tools and data-related methods

  • talent space – focuses on how to mobilise talent, develop skills and increase organisational readiness in order to ultimately make change happen…(More)”.