FORTH Innovation

FORTH Doubles your Innovation Effectiveness

The FORTH innovation methodology doubles the effectiveness of your innovation process. Recent scientific research by Herman van den Bosch proves that out of 100 ideas, 78 are taken into development and 51 are introduced, compared to 21 in an average Stage-Gate process:


Why does FORTH work so well?

With FORTH, you structure the fuzzy front end of innovation, and by doing this, you better define the entry point to the Stage-Gate process. By having a better defined entry point, you dramatically improve the odds of getting tangible and useful results that can be successfully launched.

This is what you gain from a FORTH Innovation project:

  1. It is a structured 5-step method, at a fixed duration and cost, with a guaranteed result
  2. You discover new customer insights yourself
  3. Concepts are checked with customers
  4. You develop 3-5 concrete mini new business cases
  5. You get 100% internal support due to teamwork
  6. There have been 40 succesful FORTH implementations in Europe
  7. FORTH has been scientifically proven to be very effective

If you experience the following problems, FORTH is definitely for you:

  • My innovation projects don’t have enough management support
  • We don’t have enough critical mass to support/develop an innovative culture
  • We don’t have a good enough knowledge about our customer issues
  • Our current innovation process is not effective

A FORTH project consists of 5 steps, each with a carefully planned set of workshops, and with very well defined deliverables. The 5 steps are:

  1. Full Steam Ahead (5 weeks)
  2. Observe and Learn (6 weeks)
  3. Raise Ideas (2 weeks)
  4. Test Ideas (3 weeks)
  5. Homecoming (4 weeks)


Step 1: Full Steam Ahead: Define Innovation Assignment and Create Project Team

In this step, we challenge the management to start a real innovation project, by formulating an innovation assignment, and putting together an ideation team with internal and external participants. This lasts about five weeks, and consists of the following activities and deliverables:

Three Activities

  • Innovation focus workshop
  • Core team introductory meeting
  • Kick-off workshop

Six Deliverables

  • Innovation assignment
  • Ideation team
  • FORTH planning
  • Departure document
  • Potential target groups
  • 6 -10 innovation opportunities


Step 2: Observe & Learn: Explore Innovation Opportunities by Talking to Customers

In this step, you explore the innovation opportunities, trends and technology, and discover customer issues among the target groups. You also share your findings among the ideation team in an inspiring way. The entire process takes about six weeks, and includes the following activities and deliverables:

Five Activities

  • Explore preparation workshop
  • Exploring trends & technology
  • Discovering customer’s issues
  • Exploring innovation opportunities
  • Four observe & learn workshops

Three Deliverables

  • An open mind
  • Best innovation opportunities
  • Understanding of customer issues


Step 3: Raise Ideas: Generate Ideas, based on Customer Frictions and Innovation Opportunities

This step consists of a two-day brainstorming session and a concept generation workshop. Concepts can be for new products, services or business models, and these are further developed during the concept improvement workshop. The innovation opportunities, the discovered customer issues, and the involvement of outsiders are all part of the third step, and the creative peak of the expedition. This step consists of the following activities and deliverables:

Two Activities

  • New product brainstorm
  • Concept improvement workshop

Four Deliverables

  • 500 – 750 ideas
  • 30 – 40 idea directions
  • 12 concepts
  • 12 improved concepts ready for market research


Step 4: Test Ideas: Ask Customers for Feedback on Concepts

How attractive are the new concepts and how many truly stand out? In this step, we reflect on this together with customers, and improve the concepts based on their feedback. This step takes three weeks, and consist of the following activities and deliverables:

Two Activities

  • Concept testing
  • 2nd concept improvement workshop

One Deliverable

  • 3-5 best and improved tested concepts


Step 5: Homecoming: Create Mini Business Cases, and select Concepts for further Development

In this final step, the FORTH expedition returns home with three to five attractive new product, service or business model concepts, and enough support to fill the innovation pipeline. This step consists of the following activities and deliverables:

Three Activities

  • 4 mini new business case workshops
  • Final presentation
  • Concept transfer workshop

Three Deliverables

  • 3-5 mini new business cases
  • Effective ideation process
  • Innovative mindset


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