empowering what's next

What is innovation and where does it come from? Which innovation methods and strategies are used? What does good innovation management mean in a company?

These are the questions John Bessant, Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Exeter in England, addresses in his famous textbook Managing Innovation. For us, however, he looks to the future and explains which three trends in innovation research are most exciting for him.

Have a look at the exciting interview of innosabi’s Catharina van Delden with her former professor!

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Before the year is slowly coming to its end, we have two great new features to announce which greatly improve the usability of the innosabi platform for all users and admins. The new tile view switch allows you to change the layout in which ideas are displayed in the frontend. The Unsplash API is a direct integration of one of the largest databases of free stock images. You can use it to find beautiful, high-quality images for the header and teasers of your topics. Read more about these features below.

Screenshot Platform Backend Kachelansicht

While the traditional view of ideas inside a project displays suggestions and comments in the form of a wall or feed, the tile view gives each idea a small, clickable tile with various tabs depending on the project type. Before the latest update, the tile view had to be enabled platform-wide or for certain project types such as funding campaigns during the platform setup. Now, you have the option to configure it yourself inside the topic settings. And not just for the entire platform but for individual project phases! Now it’s possible to have the classic view for a collaborative discussion in the first step and then continue with a voting with a short list in a tile view. Just a few clicks in the backend to select the respective phases and to find the switch for the tile view. It’s as easy as that!

Screenshot Plattform Unsplash API

The second feature we have just introduced to our platforms is supposed to make life easier when setting up new topics and campaigns. From our experience, one of the most important factors for engaging people and guiding them towards participation is the aesthetic appeal of a project. High-quality, topic-related teaser images will simply create more curiosity and interest on the overview page and provide a cleaner, more refined overall user experience. This can be challenging and you don’t always have the time to go on a lengthy search for the perfect visuals. We often face the same problem when drafting platform mockups, concepts for new features or communication material. That’s why our own frontend developers and designers all rely on free stock image databases. Our favorite by far: Unsplash. It is irreplaceable in our daily work flow. To give you access to the over 300.000 high-quality images of Unsplash, we reached out to them and they accepted the integration of a direct API to their database inside the backend. What this means: Instead of uploading your own topic teasers and header visuals, you can search the Unsplash catalogue for your keyword and select the image you would like to add with just a few clicks. And without even leaving the topic settings page. This feature is now available in all our platforms and we hope our customers like it as much as we do. After all, a beautiful platform is a place where people feel welcome to share their ideas.

An idea alone does not make any innovation nor does it promote progress. That is how Christian Homma – Senior Innovation Manager at Siemens AG – describes the pivotal challenge of working in innovation management. After all, good ideas will not turn into marketable products that generate added value and revenue for the company by themselves. They always need passionate supporters who recognize and promote their potential. They need space and time to flourish. And ultimately, their success depends on whether the organization has the right processes and financial resources to make their implementation possible.

“Siemens Quickstarter is about changing the company‘s culture; tearing down silos and empowering employees to live ownership. If you submit a project and get funded, it is your responsibility to implement it. The innosabi software is the ideal tool to engage all employees of our organization on one efficient, digital platform for innovation funding.”

Christian Homma, Siemens AG

Together with his colleague Christoph Krois, Christian Homma is responsible for the implementation of innovation initiatives for Siemens AG at Corporate Technology. The Quickstarter platform takes a key role in this endeavor by acting as holistic solution for integrating employees into innovation projects. With the innosabi technology, it is possible to involve the employees in all steps from idea generation to the distribution of budgets. In our Case Study Video Christian Homma and Christoph Krois explain how Innovation Funding works and how successful Siemens has been so far with the innosabi platform.

innosabi spark

Success starts with making the right decisions. That is why Siemens uses innosabi spark to identify relevant ideas and drive innovative projects from across the organization.

„There is knowledge and ideas in our company and in the world out there that we necessarily have to connect with us. To do so, we need to think ahead, implement agile processes, integrate new methods and tools to be able to innovate faster and efficiently.”

Christoph Krois, Siemens AG

All employees take on more responsibility for the future of the company. Be it through detailed plans for their own innovation projects or the distribution of budgets on exciting ideas of others.

“With the Quickstarter platform, we are pursuing several long-term goals. On the one hand, we want to give disruptive ideas a chance to be implemented. But we also want to change the culture in the company. We want ownership culture: to encourage the intrapreneurs within the company to stand up for their own ideas and to actually implement them.”

Christian Homma, Siemens AG

The finance and insurance industry has dodged disruptive innovations for a long time. But now, like many others, it faces a major change: digitization. Although the digital age only started a few years ago, the speed with which new technologies are created and outdated is enormous.

Digitization is creating useful trends that have made life easier for both customers and businesses, as well as many challenges associated with the accelerating pace of new digital innovations.

Keep up with FinTechs

Especially for established finance and insurance companies that have emerged in an offline world, the transformation to a digital enterprise is challenging and challenging. Mainly regarding the size and solid structures, fast changes are impossible. In contrast, FinTechs have emerged in a digital world and are competing with market leaders with new business models. Their advantage lies in their flexibility to react to new things. If you compare FinTechs with major corporations, they look a lot like a sailboat compared to a cruise ship. As a large company, this means staying up to date and implementing innovations.

How to be innovative

Which innovations should your company implement? What trends can you use to meet the needs of your customers better? How can large, established corporations become more flexible and agile?

Find out how your business can be fit for a digital future. Read more in the innosabi report Agile Innovation in the Financial Industry.

agile innovation in finance // launch into a digital future

No matter the company’s size or industry: there is always at least one person talking about “making things more agile”. But what does it exactly mean? And how can it actually be put into practice and become more than the buzzword that every c-suite seems to enjoy using?

Well, first of all in business context agility is synonymously used to say that something is flexible, proactive, and quick – characteristics that come in handy in a fast-paced and transforming world. But beyond this descriptive meaning stands an entire mindset and philosophy. A way of looking at challenges and doing things that goes a lot deeper than simply putting the agile label on everything that differs from traditional waterfall processes. In short: being truly agile is a question of corporate culture and perspective.

A Short History of Agile

With the digital transformation of all areas of life, not only the needs of people are changing by the minute. Also, the emergence of other new technologies is accelerating. The world is evolving faster and faster. Obviously, companies need to adapt to this pace and rapid shifts in market situations in order to be successful. Therein lies the need for being agile.

To become agile, it helps to have a look at a shining example. One industry that is characterized by agility more than any other – and has been so for the last decades – is software development. It can serve as a model for every other industry wanting to be agile. While many areas are only now realizing the full impact of digital transformation, software development has been at the very heart of this development from the beginning. The way in which it understood the need for new approaches in a quickly evolving world can be best seen in the Agile Manifesto. It was published in 2001 after 17 leading figures in the software industry had met in the Utah mountains. Their common goal was to find the best possible workflows for software development. During their stay, they managed to identify and formulate common beliefs that are defined in the Agile Manifesto. Today, almost two decades later, it is more relevant than ever. Especially for other industries.

The guiding principles formulated in the Manifesto are the essence of the software industry’s capability to keep up with the fast-paced, digitalized world. So, the most important questions that all other industries affected by this transformation have to ask is: What is software development doing differently and how is it able to turn the challenges of speed and flexibility to become part of its very nature?

The key values of agile software development

At the heart of the Agile Manifesto lie four key values that represent a departure from how new products were previously developed. They are the starting point for transferring “agile” into other areas.

  • Individuals and interactions: The development team is the focus of the Agile Manifesto. True collaboration, personal communication, and an ambitious, trust-based work environment make successful problem-solving possible.
  • Working software: Behind this value stands a strong “hands-on mentality”, which leads to efficient and effective software development. Instead of lengthy documentation, the focus lies on real problem-solving. Minimum viable product instead of a polished end product.
  • Costumer collaboration: Often the specifications change during the project. The team has to react fast accordingly. Open communication and cooperation with the customer help to respond optimally to constantly changing requirements. Direct customer feedback on prototypes or new features in a product can help you move things forward quickly and in line with your needs.
  • Responding to change: Technology is changing, demands are changing, people are changing. Software development must be able to respond quickly to these changes and integrate them into the current processes.

While these principles were originally formulated specifically for software development, they hold true for any other industry today. All it takes to make them fully applicable to other processes apart from software development are a few adjustments to broaden their scope.

Why agility is so important today

The speed at which new possibilities emerge is breathtaking. Virtual Reality, Blockchain or Artificial Intelligence have already become the new normal. The technological foundation for many potential game changers has been set over the past years. The practical applications will without a doubt follow at an exponential speed. But even as these “new” technologies are beginning to reach the mainstream the next big things are already in the making. Consequently, reacting to such developments is only one part of the challenge companies have to face. Keeping an eye on the horizon, identifying potential game changers, and understanding their implication is the second part. The pervasive nature of the advancements in digital technologies makes things especially important. As everything is becoming digital, it becomes even harder to anticipate the full extent of the impact of new developments. Companies who are not prepared to adapt to these new requirements will quickly fall behind. Therefore, it’s not only necessary for companies to become more digital but also to become faster and more agile. Nothing shockingly new here. So, the real question is: How to start and how to go beyond the buzzwords?

Agile in the field of innovation

We believe that there is one area which benefits most from agile methods: innovation. But why is that? Simply put, the act of innovating often comes down finding a new solution to a problem. Not just any problem but a problem that often lies in the future. For this reason, the requirements for a solution can change again and again. Planning a project from start to end, and then adhering strictly to this plan is in many cases no longer the direct route to success. The circumstances are changing too fast. Whether these are changing user needs, technological requirements, consumer habits, or market dynamics: changes and the accompanying new challenges are inevitable. Nevertheless, words such as unexpected or unforeseen are red flags in classical project management. In contrast, they are no problem for agile teams.

Four Principles of Agile Innovation

As described earlier, the key principles of agile software development provide a blueprint for bringing agility to other areas. We are in the fortunate position to have experienced first handedly how agility works in software development and how it translates to the field of innovation management. innosabi develops software solutions for innovation management in large companies. From day one, our developer team has worked with agile methods. Not long after, our marketing team adopted this mindset and started to work in sprints and tasks with great success. Today, all of innosabi is working agile. What allowed us to access tremendous potential and growth inside our own company is what we try to implement in the innovation management of large organizations. Solving complex problems, defying unpredictable changes and achieving great results – this is what agility is all about. As a guide, we adapted the Agile Manifesto and formulated our own principles: the Agile Innovation Manifesto.

  • Openness over Secrecy: Openness means a sustainable dialogue in a large network of different people, including end users, external specialists, employees of other departments or even the general public, as well as employees in innovation management. It benefits from access to more knowledge, ideas, and perspectives. But this also means that corporate structures with impenetrable borders between different departments, indeed a total of silos, can be a hindrance. Thus, openness and transparency can help to implement innovations better and faster.
  • Prototypes over Finality: Changing products after launch is a difficult task. But sometimes improvements are needed to better serve the needs of users. Instead of developing an idea all the way to its market entry, prototype testing provides important feedback and reduce the risk of failure on the market. With iterative loops, in which consumers can try out and evaluate unfinished versions, innovation processes can set the foundation for success early on. In addition, this also helps to avoid putting too many resources into an idea that eventually would turn out to be a dead end.
  • Collaboration over Transaction: Collaboration promotes innovation. It’s not just about customer feedback; it’s about collaborative exchanges between companies, employees, stakeholders, and customers – the entire ecosystem. Boundaries between teams and departments are dissolved, even the division into manufacturers and users is softened. But keep in mind, we are talking about real collaboration here! Conducting a quantitative survey with customers or awarding large prizes in idea contests is not enough. The focus is on working together towards a common goal. To solve a problem in order to achieve a better result that benefits everyone involved. The principle can be used both with external stakeholders and within a company. Why should companies painstakingly transfer knowledge and know-how from other departments to innovation management if there is the possibility of involving all employees in a common innovation process? Embrace the dialogue!
  • Adaptability over Resistance: Change cannot be avoided in a world that is always changing. But an agile approach is about not just reacting to change but acting proactively. The added value in the adaptability of a company is thus not only in the output. When we speak of the application of agile principles in innovation management or product development, we do not only speak of methodology, but also of a change in corporate culture. Because only when it is anchored in the culture that changes or adjustments to a product are no problem as well as certain flexibility in the innovation processes, companies can face new challenges.

Cultural change in the Age of Agile

The paradox of the modern corporate world is that almost every industry feels threatened by uncertainty and disruption but at the same time there is more information and data available than ever before. So the problem really is that information and knowledge are often not properly used or included in decision making. Adopting agile principles and aligning your organization with them is the first step to solving this challenge. An agile mindset deeply embedded in the corporate culture enables a constant look beyond the own organization. At every point along the creation of new products or services and by all individuals involved. With the right agile processes and mindset incorporating or reacting to these insights should not be a problem.

This is only possible when agility is understood in its entirety. When going beyond the buzzword and mere process optimizations. For software development, the idea of agility became the central element that defined the identity of an entire industry. It helped to establish a shared foundation for software developers across organizations and nations. And at the same time set the industry apart from the processes of the analog world. In doing so, the agile principles defined a new type of work culture perfectly aligned with the requirements of a digital environment. A transformation that the world outside software development needs to catch up with.

“At the core, I believe Agile is […] about delivering good products to customers by operating in an environment that does more than talk about “people as our most important asset” but actually “acts” as if people were the most important, and lose the word “asset”. So in the final analysis, the meteoric rise of interest in—and sometimes tremendous criticism of—Agile Methodologies is about […] values and culture.” – Jim Highsmith, co-author of the Agile Manifesto

What better time to start than now?

In our experience, the Principles of Agile Innovation can only be successfully practiced with the right tools. To enable an agile mindset across entire organizations and ecosystems a scalable digital infrastructure for the right forms of collaboration and knowledge exchange is paramount. Whether it is internal collaboration in highly technical innovation projects or external collaboration with consumers: the desired outcome and the characteristics of the target audience determine how agile principles can be best put into practice. This means that agile innovation with your customers might function entirely different compared to one with your employees.

This might sound like a huge effort and investment. But here’s the good news: you don’t have to do it all at once. Find the right starting point and go from there. Do you already have an accelerator program for employee ideas? Then just make it agile with the right platform for large-scale collaboration, resource funding, and prototype testing. What about customer panels? Why not use these contacts and invite them to a continuous exchange and ideation projects instead of isolated focus groups or surveys? There are many more groups and individuals within your ecosystem that can be engaged in agile ways along all steps of the innovation process: suppliers, research institutions, or even the general public.

Fully transforming your company and imprinting the agile mindset inside your culture like in the software industry will take time. But the only way to get there is by simply starting it. Living it. And by setting the first examples for all others to follow.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn by Catharina van Delden.

The innosabi panel at the Daimler Digital Life Days 2018 provided the perfect opportunity to exchange an in-depth discussion with Frieder Munk about the use of the innosabi software at Daimler AG. Frieder Munk is responsible for corporate culture and innovation at Daimler Digital Life and was one of the organizers of the event. With the help of a Crowd Ideation platform from innosabi, he also supports various departments in the company in innovation projects together with employees. DAIMLER IDEAS is a platform for collaboration and virtual crowdfunding. Through the Innovation Funding approach, innovation becomes the task of all employees: from the generation of ideas to the distribution of budgets to their actual realization.

“The platform gives us the necessary transparency in the implementation processes of innovations. Decisions are no longer taken in a quiet room, but the employees have the opportunity at any time to keep track of what’s happening with their ideas.”

Frieder Munk, Daimler AG

Watch the complete interview with Frieder Munk and innosabi CEO, Catharina van Delden.


Implement organization-wide knowledge exchange and innovation culture with agile innovation management into your company. Exploit the expertise and ideas of your employees to innovate faster than ever before. Benefit from the specialized funding and solution scouting functions of the innosabi software.

The first step into the future of digital innovation management is quite simple! Fill out the contact form, briefly describe your request and an innosabi expert will contact you immediately.

We are pleased to meet you!

As part of the innosabi Customer Panel at the Daimler Digital Life Days 2018, we had the opportunity to talk in detail with Nicolas Limbach about the use of innosabi software at Bayer AG. Nicolas Limbach is responsible for the promotion and implementation of innovation in the procurement process in the strategic purchasing department – especially for the areas of health and crops. In doing so, Bayer AG relies on its huge network of suppliers and integrates them into innovation projects with the help of the THRIVE platform. Innosabi’s supplier innovation approach makes it possible to harness the knowledge and innovative strength of external stakeholders to initiate collaborative problem-solving.

“Compared to the traditional process, the ideation process with our suppliers on the platform shortens the time-to-market by about 7 months — which of course translates into additional revenue.”

Nicolas Limbach, Bayer AG

Here is the complete interview with Nicolas Limbach and innosabi CEO Catharina van Delden.

With our Supplier Innovation approach, it is possible to establish a protected, virtual environment in the company to invite selected, relevant experts and to exchange sensitive information.

“Selected suppliers help us to work on problems in the business that we can only describe. For the solution, we lack the specifications, the knowledge or the resources.”

Nicolas Limbach, Bayer AG

The structured solicitation and evaluation of ideas quickly result in suitable solutions that can be implemented directly with the respective suppliers. This provides solutions to challenges in the innovation process, even before they arise.

“With the help of the innosabi software, we can quickly give our partners feedback on their ideas and commission them with the implementation. This motivates the suppliers to favorably implement innovative technologies, as they in turn benefit from long-term business relationships.”

Nicolas Limbach, Bayer AG


Take advantage of the knowledge and competence of your suppliers and partners for innovation projects. Shorten the time to market and accelerate the internalization of new technologies. Increase the relationships in your network with Supplier Innovation and gain competitive advantage through collaborative ideation with your ecosystem.

The first step in the future of digital innovation management is quite simple! Fill out the contact form, briefly describe your request and an innosabi expert will contact you immediately.

We are pleased to meet you!

There has been a lot going on with the innosabi software over the last couple of weeks. Not only did we rebrand our entire CI and introduce a new product portfolio. We also implemented a bunch of new features and updates. To give you quick overview, we want to show you the three most important ones in this article.

Pairwise Voting

Imagine this scenario: you have collected over a hundred great ideas and maybe even went through a first screening step. You are now left with this large number of potentially game-changing suggestions. How do you find the one that truly stands out from the rest? The one that really deserves your attention and resources? We now have just the right thing for you. Our new pairwise voting feature!

Basically, you can select any number of ideas from a suggestion or ideation project and move them to a pairwise voting phase. Similar to a classic voting, it is then up to your selected target group to rate them. But here’s the twist: users only ever see two ideas (the eponymous “pair”) at once. The task is to select the one which they consider superior. Once selected, a new pair is presented and the game begins anew. From experience we can tell you that this is actually a lot of fun. During development and testing with real platform data, we caught ourselves clicking happily through dozens of pairs without even realizing it.

The simplicity for the user and the great gamification design is only the surface. The real magic happens underneath the hood. We adapted a so called ELO rating algorithm which is commonly used to rank professional chess players. The great thing about it: the scoring does not depend on the number of votes a suggestion received. So even in a short voting phase with limited participants – for example selected experts – you can get sound, meaningful results for a large number of ideas. And not just after completion of the voting but in real time.

User Tagging

We are very happy to present the brand new user tagging functionality! The perfect way to bring people together and address the relevant users in your innovation projects. All it takes is a simple “@”.

Imagine you see an idea in one of your projects which is relevant for one of your colleagues. You could pick up the phone and call or write an email to tell them about it. But that seems quite tedious, doesn’t it? Or what about this scenario: You come across a discussion and you know just the right user who can contribute the missing expertise. How would you engage him or her in the ongoing discussion?

We took a lesson from all the popular social media platforms and adopted their way of tagging other users. Whether it is twitter, facebook, or instagram: the @ connects people! We are soon starting the rollout of the same functionality across all our platforms. Once you get the update, you can simply tag other registered platform users in your suggestions and comments via a simple @ followed by their name. The user who gets tagged will receive a notification via email with a direct link to the discussion.

New Blog Interface

We are very proud to present you the new platform blog interface for all innosabi platforms. We have reworked the article overview as well as the article view to optimize the user experience. We received a lot of feedback that users do not always read articles in chronological order but actually want to sort them by topics or screen them in one condensed overview. We took both of these aspects as the basis for our new blog overview. As you can see in the screenshots and stylized layouts, your platform blog will now also use our typical tile view. Each tile will contain title, image, as well as a short preview of the article. Main articles can be easily pinned to the beginning of the page in full width. In addition, all articles can be filtered by tags which you can easily assign to the individual entries via the backend.

Of course, we want the users to have the same great experience after clicking a tile in the blog overview. So we also redesigned the article view. We updated the rather outdated layout to a more modern look. Instead of displaying blocks of running text across the full width, we applied the design cues conveyed by the tiles in all other parts of the platform to the articles. Blog posts now also resemble large tiles which are nestled in buttons for social sharing on the left and tiles for recommendations of similar articles on the bottom. In terms of user experience, this greatly improves the typical flow of interactions with the blog.

Innovation. A word that moves the world. Literally. Because without innovations, there would be neither progress nor change. Big, drastic changes in the world would not have been possible without innovation. The industrialization needed the invention of the steam engine, digital transformation the internet. Humans always strive for further improvement and change. With this, mankind is the origin of innovation.

But what is innovation? What exactly does this word mean? One definition of innovation that we think is one of the best comes from Jürgen Hauschildt (2016):

“Innovations are qualitatively new products or processes, which differ “noticeably ” – however that is to be determined – compared to a comparison state.”

For us, innovation means change, reform, introduction of something new and often the realization of a novel, advanced solution to a specific problem.

Definition von Innovation, Typen von Innovation, definition of innovation, types of innovation

There seems to be a fair amount of meanings for this one word. Even science seems to be disunited on this: These are the two opposing sides: 

  • Innovation is a novelty or renewal of an object or a course of action
  • Innovation is change and application, which means innovation must first be invented, but introduced, used and applied too

This is precisely where the crucial difference between innovation and invention lies. Especially in English-speaking countries, “innovation” and “invention” are often used interchangeably. However, looking more closely at the meanings, it becomes clear that an invention can only be the basis for innovation. Inventions begin with an idea and the development of a prototype. For an innovation to emerge, the prototype must become a product that is brought to the market and used.

What are the different types of innovation?

Without innovation, no company can survive longer then a few years. Just because a corporation is big, does not mean it is undisruptable.

In addition to the object of innovation, it is also useful to distinguish for which scope an innovation. Additionally, product, service and business model innovations can be divided by their market impact. These two attributes can be used to differentiate the following types of innovations:

  • Performance innovations are new ideas for a already well-known market. Often an improvement of the existing offer is made possible by new technologies.
  • Application innovations open up a new market for an already existing idea. New and additional customers can now use an existing offer.
  • Incremental innovations are advancements/ the optimization of existing products, services or business models. The adjustments often serve to reduce costs, optimize customer benefit or reposition the market.
  • Radical innovation means that completely new ideas are translated into never seen before products, services or business models. Their impact on hole markets can be extreme. 
  • Sustaining innovations help companies defend their own market position and remain competitive. Any innovation that enhances a supply is therefore a sustaining innovation, whether radical or incremental.
  • Disruptive innovations are those that shape new markets or disrupt established ones. Frequently, disruptive innovations are possible through new technologies. The car for example was a disruptive innovation regarding transportation 100 years ago. Whether an innovation is disruptive often depends on the perspective. While the electric car is a radical but sustainable innovation for the automotive industry, it can be disruptive to the petrol industry, because their product is no longer needed.
  • Agile innovation means implementing ideas through collaboration and iterative prototype circles/ loops. With the adaptability of agile innovation processes, innovations can be brought to market faster and implemented more seamlessly.

In addition, the trigger for an innovation can be distinguished. So what triggered the innovation? Two main possibilities: Market-pull, where innovations are initiated by customer request, and technology-push, where new technologies enable new applications or products which then are marketed accordingly.

How can innovation processes be implemented in a company?

Agile innovation management is key to innovation success. This is where the different types of innovation come together. There are differences in the people and resources with which ideas are collected and implemented. In Closed Innovation, organizations only involve internal resources in the innovation process. This can be done in the form of classic idea management, using innosabi spark, or via internal innovation projects and knowledge sharing, as it is possible with the innosabi launch pad software. If a company also opens its innovation processes to external partners, this approach is called open innovation. Customers (innosabi telescope) or suppliers and research institutes (innosabi orbit) can be involved in the development of new innovations that way. Interested? Request a demo!

Where does innovation come from? The origin of innovation is not a philosophical, but a rather simpel historical one: Where would be stand today, if it was not for innovations like the wheel, fire and electricity? Not to speak of modern communication technologies, medicine and democracy? Humans always innovated, what changes was the scope of innovation. The digital world of today is the result of countless innovations. At innosabi, we love to be part of this evolution, be digital pioneers and push along the boundaries of whats possible. Still, as a mindset, we always find it helpful to keep the origins of innovation in mind, when thinking about the next steps today.


Innovation is not an abstract or new concept, but the tangible result of the human urge for knowledge and progress. Our drive to question the status quo and to be constantly on the look-out for new ideas has barely changed over the millennia. Above all, innovation simply expresses the human desire for a comfortable life in prosperity, peace and good health.

The longings and ideas of how we can make our lives easier and more substantial accompany us in our everyday thinking and acting. Even in our spare time, we search for ways to become as time- or financially efficient as possible in order to live a better, more beautiful life. Also at work, we strive to improve processes or develop new products and services to create a positive working environment and value for us and our company.

Was ist die Quelle von Innovation?

The origins of innovation lie in the big and small things of everyday life. These are things that we want to improve or adapt to our changing needs and wishes. The finiteness of resources force us to develop new solutions. Our human Imagination propels us to strive for radically new technologies. We derive questions on how to do this or that differently and find the necessary knowledge. In doing so, we inevitably encounter problems and are confronted with the limits of what is currently possible. And that is the genuine starting point for the emergence of innovation: the desire for change and progress by overcoming obstacles and shifting boundaries.

Every person has a very individual set of knowledge, characteristics and wishes. Everyone has skills and valuable experience that can be helpful in a wide range of situations in life – personally and professionally. Thus, every human being has the potential to become a catalyst for innovation and to participate in its implementation.

Personal motivation for innovations goes up, when a problem in our everyday lives is omnipresent or limits us in some way. A very emotional example in this respect is the story of Tal Golesworthy, who did not just want to accept his incurable disease and has improved his life and the lives of others through a small but subtle innovation. The great advantage of Tal Golesworthy, which can not be overemphasized: He thought like an engineer and not like a medical doctor. Thus, he brought a completely new perspective in old and previously unsuccessful treatment methods.

At innosabi we implement the ideas and methods presented above in our platforms and use our software to advance them. The focus is on the network of people, their knowledge and their abilities. The premise that everyone can be the starting point for innovation naturally applies to organizations, companies and their huge ecosystems of customers, suppliers, scientists and many more in every way. The potentials are almost endless and just waiting to be uncovered and brought together with the right infrastructure.

“Disruptive ideas need an unconventional innovation process.” With this guiding principle, Dr. Christian Homma from Siemens launched the company-internal program Siemens Quickstarter. The software developed by innosabi enables employees to participate in the company’s innovation management actively.

“Our employees are creative, but many good ideas lie dormant.” Siemens Quickstarter increases transparency in the innovation process, says Christian Homma in an interview. With the help of the innosabi software, Siemens is breaking open the silo thinking, as employees can now find out which innovation projects their colleagues are working on.

The particular feature of the platform is the possibility for innovation funding. The employees crowdfund submitted ideas on a real budget. Projects that achieve their funding goal can be implemented directly – without a board, without a management decision. In this way, Siemens promotes Ownership Culture:

We have a higher employee motivation. And we live Ownership Culture. We use the platform to promote intrapreneurship because the employees are committed to their ideas. Anyone who reaches the funding goal implements his idea in a separate project.

Watch the whole video (English subtitles available):

In the innovation process of Siemens, it says: Just give it a try. For this approach, the program and the Siemens Quickstarter platform of the International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM) were awarded the Grand Prize 2018. Click here for the video: youtu.be/n4sUsncHzGs

Dr. Bettina von Stamm is a renowned expert in innovation, product development and design. She has been researching and working on innovation for over 25 years, calling herself an innovation philosopher, storyteller or catalyst. In 2004, she founded the Innovation Leadership Forum, a Think & Do Tank that helps organizations understand, unlock and improve their innovation potential and performance. In an interview with Julia Schmidt, Business Development at innosabi, she is giving an exceptional overview of how innovation concepts and our perspectives have changed in recent decades:

“Of course people have always innovated. What has changed over time is the degree to which we deliberately and proactively seek to create these various types of innovation.”

As the most important piece of advice, the innovation expert gives organizations the following task:

“Define what innovation means to you and why you want that specific kind of innovation to happen in your organization. Most companies I talk to think and claim that innovation is important to them, while most do not even have a company-wide definition. How can you expect innovation to happen, when you do not even know what it means?”

According to Dr. Bettina von Stamm, there is no “one right” definition of innovation:

“Understand and define what innovation means for your organization, in your specific context. This will not be only one type of innovation, it is most likely a hole innovation scape. Organizations have to be very clear on where they want to innovate and why they want to innovate there. Success factors vary, depending on the company and the kind of innovation.”

The Changing Concepts of Innovation

The overview Dr. Bettina von Stamm can give on the changes in the concepts of innovation within the past 30 years is remarkable. She says that each kind of innovation has always been done in a way, just not as a deliberately promoted concept, but unconsciously, accidentally or even out of emergency situations. Initially, the concept of innovation management only evolved around product innovations in the early nineties. It was simply about improving own products through research and development. Since then, in particular, the breadth and perspective of the concept of innovation has changed. When one saw fewer possibilities in pure product innovation, process innovation followed. For example, cost-efficient machines, simplified processes and intelligent warehousing have been implemented. After this potential seemed largely exhausted, the service innovation followed. Thereby the end of the sales process and the user experience were optimized. In the early 2000s, the targeted business model innovation came along. Thus, the issue of innovation within companies has grown from the smallest unit, the single product, to the largest possible unit, the business model. However, Dr. Bettina von Stamm says that this is just another piece in a much bigger puzzle:

“One thing is for certain: The path of innovation does not end there. It is an endless journey where there is always something else around the corner.”

We thank Dr. Bettina von Stamm and everyone involved in the making of this great interview and look forward to finding out together which concepts of innovation will prevail in the future.

In the past few months, innosabi has undergone one of the biggest changes in our company’s history: the premiere of the new product portfolio and the introduction of three different software solutions instead of one. The beginning of a new, exciting chapter. However, this change posed a very big challenge for us: how to redesign a brand architecture that has been built around a single product in recent years? Let us walk you through the process:


What was previously summarized as innosabi crowd (or simply the innosabi software) are now three stand-alone solutions that divide by application area and user group: one for working with customers on new products. One for speeding up internal innovation projects and collaboration inside the company. And one for the integration of suppliers and expert networks in the innovation process.

One motif that has accompanied the innosabi brand and product presentation for a long time is aerospace and the cosmos. It embodies the pioneering spirit, the look into the future and the technological progress that we pursue with our corporate philosophy and our vision. The decision to look up names for the new software solutions from this very field was therefore rather obvious.


A platform that looks far beyond the boundaries of ones own company. It helps to discover customer needs and new product ideas and therefore brings customers closer to the company. It makes previously hidden details visible. As a telescope provides us with important insights into distant galaxies and planets, innosabi telescope generates the necessary insights to drive customer oriented innovation.


A platform that provokes ideas to spark within the company. It helps to ensure that suggestions for improvement are heard and can fully unfold. It ignites the potential of one’s own employees and makes innovation part of the corporate culture. As a single spark can trigger major changes, innosabi spark ensures that employee suggestions shape the company.


A platform that binds suppliers and experts more closely to the company. It helps to attract knowledge and innovations from the immediate, professional environment. It builds strong relationships for innovation and brings external potential within reach. As satellites orbit around a planet, innosabi orbit makes the company a hub of far-reaching networks.


The imagery for the new logos takes up the names and emphasizes additional dimensions of meaning for the individual products. And because that was not challenging enough for us, everything should, of course, be based on logically linked visual elements: uniform, geometric shapes.

Customer Community and Collaboration – innosabi telescope

The dominant form of the telescope logo is a hexagon. The outline and the inner section form this shape. A closer look reveals that the shape does not consist of a single surface but is formed by individual triangles. This style element is not only found in the telescope logo and symbolizes one of the core elements of our philosophy: innovation is created above all where the right elements come together and become more than the sum of the individual parts. From several, relatively simple triangles becomes a complex hexagon. The second meaning of the logo includes the representation of the name. The opened hexagon – especially in combination with the triangular elements – shows slightly abstracted the aperture of an camera objective. The most important building block of a telescope. At the same time, the aperture of this panel contains the third meaning of the logo: A ring forms around the center of the logo. A ring that seems to expand. Just as the telescope software enables companies to search for insights and ideas far beyond their own borders.

innosabi Software - Spark - Employee Ideas

To represent the eponymous spark in geometric shapes, we have chosen a triangle. Although a spark itself is rather informal, the triangle embodies many of its main characteristics: in particular spontaneity and the direction in which it leaps. The triangle runs pointedly upwards and, like an arrow, implies a clear dynamic. The uniqueness of this direction of movement reflects what constitutes the platform in the classical idea process: to move ideas from A to B efficiently. But unlike telescope, these elements are not other geometric shapes, but congruent triangles, which become larger outwards to the overall shape. Once again, the process idea of ​​the spark platform is highlighted. At least as important, however, is the abstract representation of a flame, which is triggered by the eponymous spark and emblematic of the drive for innovation and enthusiasm that should be kindled in the employees. Unlike telescope or orbit, the spark logo is a solid surface. The difference between the areas of application of the software solutions is thus visualized as well: A platform that fills the company inwards and invigorates – just as the logo itself is closed.

innosabi orbit software

Finding a suitable geometric figure for orbit was easy. However, putting the meanings and features of the orbit software into it was much more difficult. The orbit software is characterized by the fact that external experts or suppliers are closely tied to the company. They are put inside the company’s orbit. With this one logical focus, the visual distinction between internal and external platform becomes clear again. But the design of the logo also starts at a different location. Above all, the direct involvement of suppliers and expert networks has the goal of creating speed. The color gradient and the appearance of the ring as two nested rings – the continuous motif of the product branding – creates the impression of movement. The ring seems to rotate quickly. On the one hand, this rotational movement illustrates the speed that orbit offers the company. On the other hand, it also describes the interaction between companies and the involved external partners. Just as the ring turns inexorably, orbit brings innovations into the company, which in turn also benefits the entire environment and drives it to further progress.


The entire color scheme of the product logos has a very high priority in the design concept. As a universally understandable visual feature, the colors are essential in reorienting the innosabi product strategy. In order to emphasize the distinction between the individual software solutions and to emphasize the differentiation of the software into a three-part portfolio, we deliberately opted for very strong color palettes. Through strong contrasts and saturation, they create the dynamics and agility that we associate with innosabi and our software. Each software solution has its own clearly defined color palette, which is not only reflected in the logos, but also in every other communication relating to the respective products.

The color palettes are chosen so that they have the greatest possible radiance. Both literally, in terms of the luminous effect of the individual shades, as well as the memorability as a unique selling point. Especially for people who have not yet dealt with innosabi and our methods in detail, a differentiation of the individual solutions is difficult. The very present color helps to emphasize differences and to assign new information immediately to the right solutions. The bright colors are rarely used extensively, but used selectively. One factor is especially important: the background. We have decided in the new innosabi design for a consistently dark theme. All bright and colored accents emerge even more through a perceived glow effect. Like stars or distant galaxies in the night sky. In full harmony with our overarching universe motif.

Even for experienced users, the color scheme should provide better orientation for the future. Our goal is to create our own “world” within each software. The user interface and interface for Platform Admins can be optimized for more intuitive use by deliberately using the associated color scheme. In particular, when using several innosabi platforms in a company, the colors provide unambiguous information about the respective field of application.


There was one big question that we had to ask ourselves after working out the individual product identities: “How does all this fit together?”. Because our goal was not to brand individual products, but an entire product family. Although each solution is technically independent in itself and clearly separated from the others by logos, colors and descriptions, the full potential of the software lies in the interplay of the individual solutions: our idea of ​​the digital infrastructure for innovation. To visualize this as a superordinate message required some abstraction and thought experiments.

The first step was to demonstrate the breadth and penetration of such a digital infrastructure throughout a company’s ecosystem. Neither a two-dimensional nor one of the familiar three-dimensional figures could convey this sufficiently. Therefore, we have used the (abstract) dimension above and taken a tesseract as a template. The three-dimensional projection of a four-dimensional cube reflects the desired all-encompassing and penetrating character.

The second step was to combine the basic form with the overall theme of the product identity: the combination of individual elements into something bigger. The logical, next “smaller” level of the tesseract is the classic cube. As an elementary building block for the representation of the product family in the style of the tesseract symbolize in large numbers the different components of an ecosystem for innovation. From different companies and data to people and ideas. Together they form something bigger.

The third step was to integrate the individual software solutions. We deliberately chose not to use the elaborated logos, as this would weaken the overall character of the basic form. Thanks to the clear and easily recognizable color scheme, this wasn’t even necessary anyway. We understood the individual software solutions in their respective colors as a connecting element in the collection of individual cubes. They form the ecosystem and create connections that go beyond directly adjacent elements. The internal and external orientation of the respective solutions are represented by the paths on which the colored building blocks run through the ecosystem. orbit and telescope move significantly outside of the tesseract, whereas spark turns inward.

With empty minds from thinking and tired hands from sketching, but bursting with pride, we present the next major milestone in the history of innosabi – the new product branding.

The innosabi software accelerates innovation processes and enables innovation management with the entire ecosystem of a company. But which innovation methods are behind the innosabi products? And in which use cases can our software be used? In just two minutes, our CEO Catharina van Delden clarifies these two questions and introduces the company innosabi.

Are you curious now? Then we recommend the webcast hello world_ this is innosabi! In a total of 20 minutes, Catharina van Delden vividly explains both the method of agile innovation and the use cases of our products.

Fancy more knowledge about innovation methods? Where does Agile Innovation come from, how the four principles of agile innovation management came about, and what are the benefits of agility in the innovation process? Find out in the blog post about our products and the LinkedIn article by Catharina van Delden.

Not only the world around us stands constant transformation, also innosabi is entering a new era. With the expansion of our portfolio, we are adapting the innosabi products to the changing requirements of digitization. Therefore, we are building our software solutions even more around specific use cases. But what has been the trigger for this development? It becomes quite obvious when one steps back for a moment to take a glimpse into the past.

Digital transformation is no longer a task of the future

Our lives are becoming more digital and faster. Software and intelligent technologies are continually expanding their impact on our everyday lives: Internet of Things, Big Data or Industry 4.0 are fundamentally altering the ways we live and work.

These developments drive and inspire the work at innosabi. With our technology, we support our customers in a changing world – so they can be faster and more digital, but also be prepared for a future in which companies sometimes have to completely redefine themselves and their products. We have a profound understanding of the necessity to address future problems right away and find a creative solution through innovation.

Adaptability is the key to success – also for innosabi

In a world that is in constant transformation, change cannot be avoided. Following an agile approach, it is inevitable to put “Adaptability over Resistance”. The world is no longer just about responding to change, but to act actively and to shape the future. However, this principle of Agile Innovation, which we have already introduced here on the blog, is not only essential for our customers, but also for ourselves. Like any other company, innosabi continues to evolve.

Roughly summarized, the evolution of innosabi began seven years ago with unserAller. Via Facebook and our own platform, consumers could take part in the development of new products. From shower gel to mustard, everything was there. Sometimes we even sold the jointly developed products in the unserAller shop. It soon became clear: what works for consumer goods is also interesting for suppliers in many other areas. That’s why innosabi gave companies the opportunity to build their own communities and thus became an expert in innovation software. With the innosabi technology, companies are able to cultivate communities and work on projects collaboratively with their customers. But we have found that companies could benefit not only from external communities. Internal collaboration and employee communities add value to the development process as well.

So much has changed in recent years: new use cases for our software, new stakeholders and now a new, expanded product portfolio. In doing so, we want to continue our development, adapting to the changing requirements of our customers and the conditions of digital change.

5 software solutions for innovation in your business

Übersicht über das Produktportfolio der innosabi Software Technologie: orbit, telescope, spark, launch pad und hub

Agile innovation now covers many areas of company business, indeed the entire ecosystem of a company. The right digital infrastructure is an important prerequisite. With the innosabi software, we are not just providing the right infrastructure, but also the necessary acceleration through agility in the innovation process. We offer five specialized solutions to better meet the needs of different applications and objectives in innovation management.

  • innosabi launch pad accelerates the innovation process and connects the knowledge in the entire company. In Innovation Funding and Solution Scouting projects, employees can collaboratively develop, refine, and fund ideas – and quickly find the best path from idea to implementation.
  • innosabi spark enables a completely modernized idea management. Through transparent evaluation, efficient workflows and state-of-the-art user experience, companies can fully exploit the potential of employee ideas.
  • innosabi telescope is the solution for collaboration with customers. Companies can test their prototypes directly with the end user and get feedback in the development process. Crowd Innovation together with customers opens up the possibility of user-centered, agile and successful product development.
  • innosabi orbit provides the opportunity to collaborate with networks and external stakeholders. Engage suppliers in development processes at an early stage or solve problems with a selected network of experts.
  • innosabi hub combines the four specialized solutions launch pad, spark, telescope and orbit in one central analysis tool. Thus, our software provides the necessary infrastructure for a networked, digital ecosystem. Advanced data analytics enables reporting across all projects and platforms.

Innovation management and idea management, internal and external, with customers, suppliers, experts and your employees – with the innosabi software you will find a suitable, specialized platform solution for every application and create a digital infrastructure for an agile innovation management. Find out more about the individual platform solutions on our website.