Leverage the past to design the future




Innovation Map – Inspiration for your Innovation Roadmap


Guiding questions (examples):

  • When happened what? How quickly did a technology assert itself? And why? What does this mean for me and my business?
  • Who grew up with which technology and is familiar with it? Who didn't? What does this mean for communication between employees of different age groups and for transformation processes in the company?


What is an Innovation Map

A "map" of key innovations paired with important political and economic events.


Why is an innovation Map of interest and important?

The Innovation Map offers orientation for designing the future and successfully implementing innovations in the market. Every new product competes against the innovations of yesterday. Only those, who have a clear overview of the relevant past garnered by an innovation map, can realistically plan for the future. Every new innovation builds on existing building blocks. New "building blocks" in theory or in the laboratory are useless, they must be available in market-relevant quantities, applicable and reliable. The path to this goal is often much longer and more rocky than expected. Thus, many annual figures on the map will seem strange because they often lie much earlier than a technology was perceived as relevant by the public.


How is the map structured?

The innovation map uses time as one dimension and then presents selected key technology fields as "layers". In addition, the birth years of the generations beginning with the "Baby Boomers" are provided under the time axis. The starting points of new technologies, products, companies and important events are sorted into this basic structure of time axis and "layers". All entries on the innovation map are starting points for development paths that have brought about a multitude of changes. Their selection is undoubtedly subjective and does not claim to be complete.


Were all the innovations mapped successful in the long term?

The technologies and products listed in the map were not necessarily successful in the long term. Here are two examples:

  • Sputnik only sent his signal from space for a few months before its battery ran out. Solar cells, which provide today's satellites with energy supply, were invented, but not yet usable. Sputnik and Juri Gagarin, as the first human in space, set in motion the technological race of the Cold War that shaped the entire future development.
  • The Apple Newton was an immense flop, but it was the highly visible starting point for all PDAs up to the key functions of modern smartphones and tablets.


How do you utilize the map?

The innovation map is a tool to make you ponder and reflect. Draw the connections between the technologies presented and identify dependencies and time intervals between them. This will give you a frame of reference in which you can classify your company's innovations and future roadmap. How does this work in practice? Talk to us!


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