A Strategic Model of Innovation


  • Paul Frobisher Strategic Innovation Ltd




The academic literature provides many models of the innovation process, often based on the ‘innovation funnel’. Experience from earlier research has shown that these models struggle to explicitly define innovation as a process at the strategic level, or provide ways to measure innovation effectiveness. (Frobisher, 2010). To address this gap, a strategic model of innovation was developed based on the IDEF0 methodology.  Modelling innovation as a hierarchical, standardised process, conforming to the strict discipline of IDEF0 resulted in an improved understanding of the innovation process and enabled more robust measurement of the company wide impact of innovation support activities, in this research case measuring the benefits of adopting TRIZ tools.

Since the original work, this strategic model of innovation has been applied to diverse fields including FMCG, Automotive, Chemicals, City Planning and Sustainability.  Learning from these experiences has informed refinements to the model such that it now provides a coherent, top-level understanding of innovation as a strategic process. 

The key takeaway is that innovation is more than the introduction of new products and services, it is more closely aligned to business strategy.  It enables an understanding of the importance of intangibles especially in the outputs of the innovation process.  It also addresses the contradictions inherent in embedding sustainability within business and in society more widely. This paper describes the model and its practical application in framing Systematic Innovation programmes including TRIZ and TrenDNA. An example is provided, asking the strategic question - is the world really transitioning to electric vehicles, and if so, when? 

Keywords:Business Strategy, Electric Vehicles, IDEF0, Innovation Model, Sustainability, TRIZ

Author Biography

Paul Frobisher, Strategic Innovation Ltd

Director of Strategic Innovation Ltd Experienced Innovation consultant with an engineering background, specialising in TRIZ and the process of innovation