Strategy Tools for the Next Generation

We need new strategy tools for the future. Tools that are fit for the realities of more speed, more change and more innovation. The next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs, risk takers and pirates need to master strategic innovation. We introduce is a series of visual strategic innovation tools: Strategy Tools for the Next Generation

Strategy Tools for the Next Generation

(Parts previously published on the Management Innovation Exchange for the Hack: CREATING STRATEGY TOOLS FOR THE NEXT GENERATION)

Most of today’s strategy tools are insufficient to explain many of our times most successful companies.

The long-term strategies of firms like Amazon, Apple and Facebook does not fit the current paradigm of strategy teaching in most business school. The mindset, the outsized ambitions, the disruptive attitude, the innovative strategies seen in firms like these does not match the current teaching realities.

In many of today’s business schools, SWOT, Porter’s Five-forces, PESTEL are still taught as primary strategy tools. These are the tools that are supposed to develop the next Amazon or the next Facebook. They will not. We need something else. We need tools for the future.


Our solution: a series of visual strategy and innovation tools for the future.

Through three years of action research and active experiments, we have developed and/or identified 32 powerful visual tools. Tools that help companies make strategic innovation happen. These are the tools we belief students and executives of all ages could benefit greatly from mastering.

All our work builds on Creative Commons. All our tools are freely available from
In 2012 we lauched the site in English. In 2013 we published the first tools in Brazilian Portuguese.

Today we highlight four of these tools:

– Strategic Innovation Canvas

– Innovation Thinking Modes

– The Innovation Pyramid

– The Action Roadmap

Strategic Innovation Canvas

Strategic Innovation Canvas is our default innovation tool. This is the starting point for virtually any strategy discussion or management development process. This is ground zero. This is where it all begins.

After having run the Strategic Innovation Canvas with management teams across private and public organizations, we can state; it simply works.

The design principles and the visual thinking behind it helps management teams across all industries and all areas of expertise grasp strategic innovation in a record short amount of time. Business Schools, public schools, oil & gas, manufacturing, IT, Start-ups, they all quickly grasp and are able to act on the canvas.


Innovation Thinking Modes

Most people think without thinking.
Apply this to the strategy process, and the result is most often a very linear, logic thinking process. You probably know it as ‘’Thinking inside the box’’.
Bettina von Stamm defines ‘’innovation as a state of mind’’. Genuine innovation first requires a new innovation thinking mode.
We define five such innovation thinking modes.
The Box
Just outside the box
Think Big
Dream Bigger
Pirate thinking

Innovation thinking modes can be taught, learned and trained. As any new language, it requires training, practice and immersion over time to truly master.

Innovation Thinking Modes

The Innovation Pyramid

The Innovation Pyramid is a holistic tool for making leaders, employees and their companies significantly increase their innovation capability. It is a tool to develop a shared language, shared understanding and shared action around innovation.

Further it is both a strategy tool and a fun process to challenge the organization to dream bigger, drive change and make innovation happen. Along with visual thinking facilitation, The Innovation Pyramid truly helps companies innovate how they innovate.

The Innovation Pyramid

The Action Roadmap

The Action Road Map is designed to help you and your team move from ideation to execution – faster. It is designed to make innovation happen – today.
A lot of the innovation tools we have today focus on ideation. On generating ideas. On coming up with incremental and radical ideas. Powerful ideas. This is important. But it is not enough.
The Action Road Map focuses on the back-end of innovation. On execution. The Action Road Map breaks the ideation part into three areas:
Easy to do//can get done by Monday
Impact // will have powerful impact, wow!!
Fun // this would be so much fun to do

These three areas, we find, help balance any company’s execution portfolio.
Next, the Action Road Map is built for responsibilities, teamwork and deadlines. It is built for the realities of fast-moving businesses. It is built for teams that want to dramatically increase their ability to get things done.
What is the job to be done?
Who is responsible?
How will it get done?
By when will it be finished?

Teams that adopt these principles will find their ability to execute increase. Teams that master these principles and build them into the team’s DNA will find making innovation happen to be a natural state of mind.
Cisco recently hired a Cisco Decision Accelerator to help Cisco develop their ability to execute. The Action Road Map gives you and your team that same ability.

Action Roadmap

Learn more about Strategy Tools for the Next Generation on the offical site or follow our blog tags as we work to develop strategy tools fit for the future.

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