Think Tanks

Deep dive on key technological or societal trends to create new game-changing solutions

Think tank image

Think Tanks are designed to help your company deep-dive and develop innovations on specific domains. Typically, this involved 2-3 selected domains in promising business areas.

We provide a clear process, tooling, and coaching to help you go from domain selection to bringing an innovation to market. Depending on your needs and prior knowledge of innovation teams, the process can vary in length, with a maximum of 3 months. Within this period, dedicated teams develop mature ideas, ready for inception

The Think Tank process

Below we see the key steps to a Think Tank process. Here we focus on the steps until inception. Check out more about inception here

1 | Domain & participants selection

Domain can come from societal megatrends, ongoing projects in your company, or areas management or experts in the company think are important to explore. We support companies by offering research on future trends and tools to help management decide on which domain to pursue.

With the domains at hand, you can then either assign people to join the Think Tanks or have an open application for all employees. Selecting the right applicants allows us to build multidisciplinary teams per Think Tank. Per process, usually 8-12 applicants are chosen (i.e. 2-3 teams of 4 people each). Teams can either be assigned to a Think Tank project full time or work part-time while maintaining their current function.

2 | Grounding

During this phase we aim to ground the teams firmly on knowledge about the customer, technology, and competition. Teams apply a variety of tools and templates in this phase, such as ‘technology convergence mapping’, ‘need finding interviews’, ‘jobs to be done’, ‘customer personas’, ‘value chain analysis’, and ‘customer journey mapping’.

In this phase, which can take up to 1-month, it is key for teams to talk to customers directly, talk to others within the organization, join conferences, talk to start-ups, follow workshops, and perform desk research. By the end of the grounding phase, the teams will have a solid understanding of their innovation domain grounded on robust evidence and information obtained directly from customers or experts.​ This will allow them to identify key problems customers are facing to move to the ideation phase.

3 | Ideation

In this phase, we provide teams with a host of tools to develop as many ideas as possible. These tools include ‘how might we’s’, ‘white and dark horsing’,  ‘SCAMPER Blue Ocean’, and ‘idea napkins’. Our in-house sketch artists can also help teams in building a simple drawing which brings ideas to life.​ We helps teams in this phase to also build and test simple prototypes with experts and potential customers. The market research that started in the grounding phase, continues during ideation, with more targeted research on the ideas teams develop.

We have seen teams come up with up to 100 ideas. They then select themselves, with selection criteria we provide, their 10-20 best ideas. They then share these ideas internally, in a marketplace (e.g., through an idea poster), to gather feedback from others in the organization. At the end of this phase, the team chooses ideas (e.g., 6-10 ideas) to move to the maturation phase.

4 | Maturation

The maturation phase begins with customer value proposition workshops. The teams bring their top ideas from the ideation phase and build a more concrete concept. We use our tooling to help team bring their ideas to the next level. These are then presented to each other and to management to make a selection of ideas (e.g., top 2-3 per team) to move forward with.

Together with us, the teams gather research insights to advance the concept. The teams then participate in a workshop (lasting typically 3 days) to further mature their idea. In these three days, we cover topics such as ‘developing a vision on the market’, ‘business model choice’, ‘fit between the idea and your company’, ‘roadmap to success’, and ‘how to make your presentation rock’, to help teams in building a business case pitch.

Benefits of Think Tanks

Think Tanks allow you to build extensive knowledge in a promising area for your company. At the end teams will have developed validated innovation projects on big ideas in key domains. And all of that, from selected domains to projects pitches backed by customer input, in just a few months.