Back in the 70s, one of the most remarkable industrial designers of our times, Dieter Rams, was becoming increasingly concerned by the “confusion of forms, colours and noises”. It led him to come up with ten principles for good design.

Almost half a century later, we are experiencing similar perplexities, when it comes to innovation. A growing number of firms has founded Innovation Labs, started innovative projects, and even employed Innovation Designers. Although everyone took up the cause, hardly anyone can tell what innovation actually is – let alone, what works.

Based on years of experience, helping corporates to develop new, cutting-edge products, we have seen the challenges first-hand. This is why we want to shed some light on a very complex matter. In great admiration for Rams, we have borrowed his concept and came up with our “ten principles for good innovation”. Our hope is to open a discussion, provoke thoughts, and make innovation more applicable in practice.

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1.
Good innovation creates something new.

It transforms the present in anticipation of the future.

2.
Good innovation seeks improvement.

It is driven by the belief that it is possible to make a change for the better.

3.
Good innovation disturbs.

It shakes the established order to the very foundations, refusing to keep quiet.

4.
Good innovation solves a problem.

It knows its target group and provides a tailored solution to their needs.

5.
Good innovation is tangible.

It helps ideas to be understood and discussed by making them visible.

6.
Good innovation is planned.

It foresees the next stageĀ and delivers step-by-step.

7.
Good innovation is based on data.

Consistently from start to finish. It listens, verifies and revises.

8.
Good innovation is adaptable.

It may fail, but is able to reinvent itself. It remains open for the unpredictable, challenging the unknown.

9.
Good innovation is an attitude.

It is willing to question everything, including itself. It staggers and doubts until it finds an answer.

10.
Good innovation pays off.

Because it creates added value that can be measured.

These principles can be shared accurately and fairly under the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence.