Infographic: Innovation Learning Arches

Infographic: Innovation Learning Arches

What if we look at innovation from the perspective of learning? In that case, the sole intention of innovation management is not systematically generating and implementing viable offerings, but optimizing the amount of learning that an organization can handle when dealing with processes of creativity. For the purpose of this infographic I’ve combined the theories on a) stage-gate processes in innovation and technology development, b) organization learning and absorptive capacity and c) learning arches as they are widely used on higher education.

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Inneagram: Stakeholder Collaboration in Innovation Ecosystems

Inneagram: Stakeholder Collaboration in Innovation Ecosystems

The story of this infographic began 16 years ago during a Summer School organized by the University of Cambridge. Not in the City of Perspiring Dreams itself, but on the mystical mountain Uludağ in Turkey, with 15 fellow students in a mountain hut more than 1 hour away from the nearest town with cellphone reception. On this mountain, led by Cambridge professor Jim Platts, we took an ESTIEM traineeship in transformative leadership. Without taking a deep dive into the material of the Summer School, one of the models that we started to work with was the Enneagram. Not only the power of the model itself, but also the history behind it, really intrigued me and so the story began.

Over the years, I’ve read much more about the Enneagram. Mostly used in (business) psychology, the framework is best described as an adaptive approach to recognize your own – and others’- behaviour in interactions with others. So it’s not, as many think, a framework for personality traits, like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or the Big-5 personality test. It perhaps holds the middle between these personality tests and the Rose of Leary, a theory of behavioral influence. The theory helps you to find your comfort-spot and from there on explains how your interactions with others happen and could be improved if you learn how to read it. It’s adaptable: it may change under different circumstances, under different preconditions and in different situations.


And there it is: these transformative processes are very prevalent in innovation ecosystems as well. When, for a research study I was doing, I finally created a list of 9 different stakeholders that are preconditional for successful innovation ecosystems, I got the idea of combining the enneagram (ennea = 9) and replace the types with ‘stakeholder types’. Obviously, this didn’t fit seamlessly and I started to research relationships in collaborative innovation to optimize this framework – and the inneagram was born.

Download a high-resolution (PDF) of this infographic now!

9 Types of Stakeholders

In the framework, I’ve distinguished between 9 types of stakeholders:

  1. Public Sector Innovation: This type takes the form of public sector parties, such as government, innovation agencies and institutions.
  2. Innovation Brokers: This type takes the form of intermediate parties, such as regional agencies and innovation consultants.
  3. Innovation Suppliers: This type takes the form all business partners in the mesosystem, i.e. suppliers, competitors and clients.
  4. Innopreneurs: This type takes the form of entrepreneurs, inventors, startups, specialized SMEs, and tech agencies.
  5. Innovation Research: This type takes the form of universities, research centers, scientific boards, boardroom consultancies.
  6. Early Adaptors: This type takes the form of clients, co-creation partners and labs, and lead users.
  7. Scalers: This type takes the form of investors, incubators, accelerators, venture capital investors, angels.
  8. Communities: This type takes the form of local communities, local governments, residents and employees.
  9. Challengers: This type takes the form of NGO’s, social innovators, social entrepreneurs, thought leader

For each of the stakeholders, the Inneagram identifies the following:

< Left wing: from which type does this type lend its strengths from when collaborating?
? The original name in the enneagram
# Its strengths in collaborative innovation alliances.
@ Typical parties associated with this type.
+ How these types behave in thriving collaborations
– How these types might behave when challenged in collaborations.
🖤 Which type this type usually forms very strong bonds with.
💔 Which type this type usually forms very problematic alliances with.
> Right wing: from which type does this type lend its strengths from when collaborating?

How to use

There are several ways to use the Inneagram. The most common ones are:

  1. Corners of Intelligence: The corners of intelligence are the most prevalent collaboration patterns that we can recognize. They reflect, clockwise, the body, heart and mind. Types within the same corner have very similar behavioral patterns and organizational structures.
  2. Wings: The wings indicate how organizations blend into each other. Most organization don’t fit right into one specific box, but act as a combination of 2, most commonly there left or right wing. That’s why some companies might characterize themselves as a “1w2” organization: an organization that mostly identifies as a type 1 but with significant strength borrowed from type 2s.
  3. Harmonic Alliances: The harmonic triads are 3 different types of alliances that find each other easily in their level of energy. These alliances tend to be very strong, as they built upon inner trust and energetic relationships. We distinguish between the Positive Outlook Alliance, the Competency Alliance and the Entrepreneurial Alliance. These alliances are excellent collaborations in the starting phase of building an innovation ecosystem.
  4. Communicative Alliances: The communicative triads are 3 different types of alliances that find each other easily in their preferred styles of communication. These alliances tend to be effective and result-driven, which is beneficiary in the exploitation phase of a particular innovation system. We distinguish between The compliancy alliance, the introspective alliance, and the assertive alliance.
  5. Goal-oriented Alliances: The goal-oriented triads are 3 different types of alliances that have a shared goal in mind. These type of alliances find each other easily before the kick-off the creation of an innovation ecosystem and towards the end of an ecosystem lifetime. We distinguish between the relationalistic alliance, the pragmatic alliance and the idealistic alliance.

The Inneagram is now available as a download in our Innovation Toolbox and I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have!

Innovation for SDGs

Innovation for SDGs

After its introduction by the United Nations in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have started to become increasingly accepted and embraced by both the public sector and the private sector as the ‘horizon’ to focus on when it comes to this world’s grandest challenges. Over the years, public institutes have operationalized and committed themselves to the 17 SDGs – and its 169 measurable targets. In their ambition to be sustainable, large corporates have embedded the SDGs in their annual reporting cycles and have started to (incrementally) change their behaviour for the good.

It is widely accepted that innovation and entrepreneurship are in high need to address these challenges. Innovation and emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, will guide the way to a better world. It is therefore that SDGs have become a prior field of interest in science, both in social sciences as in more innovation-related sciences. We believe that developments in science – not in the last place sponsored by large corporates or subsidized by public institutes – will lead to future developments in the private sector. In that way – science will guide us towards are more sustainable world.

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Open Innovation’s Latest Papers: Wicked Acceleration, Entrepreneurial Ecosystems & More

At, we are on a mission to bridge the gap between education and industry. That’s why we continuously scan the newest, open access, publication in the field of innovation & entrepreneurship for you. These are some of the most interesting publications recently:
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A Visual History of Innovation Theory

A Visual History of Innovation Theory

The history of innovation theory is as rich as innovation itself. Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle already used the term καινοτομία coming from καινός (new) and τομ (radical craftsmanship): crafting in a radically new way. In modern theory, it was Schumpeter who popularized the term innovation in 1934 as part of his line of thinking about business cycles and creative destruction as the basis for (capitalistic) market economies. While he may have based his theory largely on 19th century and early 20th century economists, such as Tarde, Weber and Marx, his work was unique in the way that it combined all of these theories and that he described the important role of the ‘entrepreneur’ in innovation. Different scholars have later addressed the invention of the term ‘entrepreneur’ to Schumpeter.

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Crisis-Triggered Innovation Systems

Crisis-triggered Innovation Systems

While the Corona crisis is currently affecting millions worldwide, I wanted to already share with you a fragment of a book I’m currently writing about innovation in the new economy. The fragment is about how a crisis or disruption can create a (spontaneous) need for innovation and could open up opportunities for innovative companies to address new and changed market needs.

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Business Model Innovation Canvas

How to blend 10 Types of Innovation with the Business Model Canvas?

Simple but effective: I’ve tried to combine the excellent framework of 10 Types of Innovation (Keeley et al, 2013) with the highly successful framework of the Business Model Canvas (Osterwalder, Pigneur et al, 2008). I wasn’t the first one to come up with this idea, some others have plotted the 10 types on the BMC before, such as Huw Griffiths on Medium or Heather McQuaid on Slideshare.

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When Ten Faces flirt with Ten Types: Ten Types of Innovation Teams

When the book “Ten Types of Innovation” (Keeley et al.), in its most recent format, hit the shelves in 2013 – not only me, but many of my colleagues in higher education, embraced the work because of its clarity and integrality. It offered a much richer approach than the usual – perhaps more scientifically evidenced – approach of 4 types of innovation (product innovation, process innovation, business model innovation, service innovation). The work was, and still is, one of the most influential works used in our Business Innovation program and highly rewarded by both students and partners in the field. The infographic I made in 2014 based on this book has been one of the most downloaded infographics on this blog ever since.

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A 4-Step Approach to Creating Exceptional Business Models

a futuring technique for public organizations

Still a holy grail in market research: the DESTEP – STEEPLE – method. It is taught in almost every business-related course in the world and a very powerful tool to map trends for strategic purposes. 

However, there are a few fatal flaws that may cause users of this method to miss out on important opportunities:

  1. It’s too broad to grasp the real pains and gains of customers and clients as well – and as such may result in insights for the whole market rather than insights for your users specifically.
  2. It’s supposedly a desk research method, missing out on many ‘odd’ opinions and visions that may actually change your market sooner than you think.
  3. It’s based on ‘old-world-thinking’ by looking into economies, demographics and technologies, rather than shifting paradigms, sociographics and new business models that may or may not be digitally enabled.
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