Over one hundred innovation resources ranging from books, websites, tools, videos and much more.
I’ve pulled together these resources inspire your next innovation project and to learn about different ways of thinking, experimenting, and doing the wonderfully messy work of innovating.
Running innovation projects can be difficult and you constantly need to make sure you have the right tools to do the job.
Clients vary, projects differ, but the underlying process and tools you use can make it easier.
In addition, the process of innovating is getting easier as more collaboration and communication tools become available.
However, you’re doing new things so you can’t rely on heavily on habits and routines.
If you and your innovation team don’t feel uncomfortable, you’re simply not innovating. Innovators challenge each other, the processes and the thinking behind any ideas.
Over 100 Innovation Resources
Tools are just that the instruments you use to get the job done.
At every moment in your innovation process, you can use innovation tools, references, checklists and other innovation methods.
I do the same for the innovation projects I manage.
1. INNOVATION RESOURCES – BLOGS
Genius steals as the saying goes. In other words a good deal of innovation is about connecting the dots between existing ideas, frameworks and concepts.
Part of your job as an innovator then is to keep up with the latest thinking in this space.
Tech In Asia
Top Trends Now and Next
Bothsides of the Table
The Nordic Web
Harvard Business Review
New York Times bits
Technology Review by MIT
Mine That Data
Business Model Innovation
Business Insider: Chart of the day
Think with Google
Note: Use a tool like Flipboard or Feedly to gather all your news from these sites into one place. It saves a huge amount of time.
Selectively choose which ones you think have a good newsletter and then subscribe to them. Some do not publish in their newsletter the same content as their blogs. If you are already hitting the limit of what you can manage in your inbox then think about using Unroll.me to reduce your email intake.
Newsletters worth considering:
2. INNOVATION RESOURCES – SOCIAL MEDIA
Use Flipboard(iPad) to create news channels on specific topics. With these apps I’ve made channels for “innovation”, “entrepreneurship”, “creativity” and so on. Every day I get the most popular articles related to these subjects. A good RSS Reader like Feedly is a win as well.
Note: Create a Twitter list with people who are experts in innovation influencers and add this list to Flipboard.
If you want to find influencers check out some of the influencer marketing tools you can use.
By doing this you can keep track of all the articles and links that these“influencers” share.
If you’re looking for what your network is interested in, you should definitely use Nuzzel, it shows you the top stories, shared by your friends! Very useful!
STAY UPDATED THROUGH #HASHTAGS
Keep track of hashtags on specific topics like the business model, growth marketing or conferences to get suggestions on who to follow in the innovation field.
Today quite a few regions have their own hashtag to share information about technology and startups.
Besides getting news on events, startups etc., these hashtags are very useful when planning an inspiration trip or reaching out to specific communities.
Also, be aware of regional hashtags often use innovation centres and incubators.
Again, by using Tweetdeck. You could create very specific search queries by combining search terms.
Example of a query for one Tweetdeck column: “business innovation” OR “new business model” OR “lean startup model”. Of course, you can use Google Alerts service to get similar notifications on new articles, directly in your mailbox.
4. INNOVATION RESOURCES – INFOGRAPHICS
Many agencies and organizations share amazing PDF’s and research papers packed with tons of inspiration. Explore & enjoy!
I love to create a wall with trend maps or canvas type tools. You can use this to think about how to shape ideas, workshop with different groups and make your own tools.
This is something we have done at Cranfield University where we have created over 100 design thinking tools (canvas tools based on solid research).
5. INNOVATIONS TREND REPORTS & WEBSITES
Evolve or dissolve! These reports will give you a better idea of where we are heading. Make a coffee and read them.
6. INNOVATION RESOURCES – VIDEOS
Videos are a great way to learn and the internet has some high-quality videos by some inspiring experts. To discover great video content you could go to Khanacademy, Zeitgeist Minds, Youtube or other video sites like Vimeo.
Note: On YouTube or Vimeo, search for “Documentaries”, Concept videos, and so on. If you want to find inspiring videos on the future of technology you can start your search by looking for specific research labs e.g. MIT.
TOP TED PICKS
Nobody can beat the inspirational power of 1000+ talks in the TED talk archive. Just check how Johanna Blakley is spreading her wisdom on fashion’s free culture.
- Jeff Bezos on the next web innovation
- Zack Kanter on falling in love with the future
- Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity
- Chris Anderson of WIRED on tech’s Long Tail
- Saul Griffith on everyday inventions
- Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from
- Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity
Remember that you can browse TED Talks by topic:
7. INNOVATION RESOURCES – BOOKS
THE INNOVATIVE MINDSET
As far as innovation resources go, books are some of the best. Some great writers have passed on their knowledge, frameworks and tools. These will help you develop the skills and innovation mindset necessary to succeed!
- The Lean Startup – By Eric Ries
- LeanB2B – How to apply Lean Startup in B2B – By Etienne Garbugli
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
- The Ten Faces of Innovation (Tom Kelley – IDEO)
- The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next
- Competitive Advantage
- Portugese book on Design Thinking with tons of Innovation tools and frameworks. (PDF)
- The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will
- Change the Way You Do Business
- Zero to One: Notes on startups, or how to build the future
- The Innovator’s Method: Bringing the Lean Start-up into Your Organisation
- Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
- Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
BOOKS ON INNOVATION TOOLS
Here are some awesome inspirational books offering concrete tools for your innovation projects.
- Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers
- This is Service Design Thinking: Basics, Tools, Cases
- Design Research: Methods and Perspectives
- Don’t Just Roll The Dice: A usefully short guide to software pricing
- Go Gamestorm: Linked to the book mentioned above. Packed with exercises and examples on how to brainstorm and other creativity techniques.
- Proven Models: One of the most extensive lists with all possible frameworks used in innovation (and management).
- Service Design Tools: A visual overview with tons of tools & templates. Great resource!
- Innowiz: Great collection of innovation & creativity tools
- Pen & Paper Tools for getting from Research to Design
- Uxbooth: Complete Beginner’s Guide to Design Research
- Startups: This is how design works
- Design Survival Guide
100 images for visual brainstorming.
Any Innovation professional should challenge status quo. Below are some books raising important questions.
- Free: The Future of a Radical Price
- Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers
- Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption (Rachel Botsman)
- Why We Buy: The Science Of Shopping
- Democratizating Innovation
- Open Service Innovation: Rethinking Your Business to Grow and Compete in a New Era
- Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age
Note: If you want to keep up with the latest in challengers then head over to the Thinkers50.
8. SOFTWARE TOOLS
I use Evernote (capturing notes) but I know others have their favourites and there is no one tool that everyone universally likes (although Slack deems to get close to that).
Get instant feedback on mock-ups and ideas via 5 second Test, now a part of Usabilityhub. Using these tools you can quickly test your designs and mockups on real people and get valuable feedback. Another great website is Usertesting.com.
Use Keynotopia to create wireframes and prototypes via Powerpoint and Keynote
Visualisations are important to explain your product/service and increase enagement! So always make sure to make your innovation project is visual! Below are some awesome tools that I use on projects:
- Paper: Drawing on your iPad
- Visual.ly: Create stunning infographics.
- Business Model Toolbox for iPad (Business Model Generation).
- Mindmeister.com: Online shared mind maps supported by a neat iPad app.
- Use Mural.ly for infinite digital whiteboards: visual collaboration made easy.
- MyFonts has an awesome tool to define of which font a specific text is ‘made of’.
- Placeit to create beautiful mockups in seconds.
For more tools take a look at the curated list I have put together which covers these and many more startup tools.
SHARE AND JOIN IN THE COMMUNITY
Remember to share knowledge and experience – that way we all learn., both internally and externally! Below are some great tools for sharing innovation knowledge and to collaborate on projects!
Handpick.me: Send your clients or team an automatic daily mail with your hand-picked news & blog articles. You can even add comments to every item. Great tool! You can Share your screen via Zoom to do presentations and record them if you need to revisit what clients said.
Capture and discuss ideas within your organisation using idea management tools.
Note: Link things together e.g. Apps like Trello link with Slack and both Slack links to Google Drive! Make your workflow easy and save time.
In this digitally connected world of tools and platforms, you need to try BUT quickly settle and use the tools that work for you and your team.
The best way to do this is to start with a simple system and then build out.
As you learn and develop you will find gaps that other tools can fill or more feature rich tools can help with. Remember, learning new tools can take time and can disrupt things.
So do the research first before you make changes and do it as a team to get ideas flowing.
Remember to stay safe while only remembering one password? Use services like LastPass!
9. PITCHES AND PRESENTATIONS
Learning to communicate your ideas effectively, quickly and convincingly takes time. You have to be part designer, business guru (finances, strategy), part salesman and marketer – all about the benefits.
Despite what can seem like a lot of challenges there are some simple rules to follow and loads of help online.
Every innovator will need to present. Unfortunately, I see far too many bad visual presentations or poorly structured ones. Fortunately, there are some great innovation resources on the internet to help you become a presentation ninja. Learn from the masters and level up!
TOOLS FOR MAKING AWESOME SLIDES
To create awesome slide decks: Keep it short and simple, try to amaze your audience but DO NOT mention your ‘elevator pitch’. Keep it sharp, simple, understand where the value sits for each party: stakeholders, customers and have the rest of your logic stack up.
Tips & tricks for awesome slides:
Develop a clear theme style. Use Canva to help (even with a super easy & cool get-started tool!).
I follow 1 rule: 1 slide = 1 idea = 1 image.
Other great tips on how to create awesome slides can be found in these books:
- Speak to Win – Brain Tracy
- Talk like Ted – Carmine Gallo
- Resonate – Nancy Duarte
- Why Most PowerPoint Presentations Suck – Rick Altman
Share your presentations online:
Once you have created a brilliant slide deck, don’t forget the opportunity to share it with the world. Add it to your Linkedin profile and share it with your professional network.
Remember the golden rule: 1 slide = 1 idea = 1 image! Where do you find stunning images for your presentation? Here are some useful innovation resources that provide you with free images.
Creative commons license ftw:
Flickr.com has a huge selection of high res images that are available under the Creative Commons license.
Stock photos and icons:
Note: see the design tools section for more options.
Watch every pitch of Dragons Den! (I’m serious about this.) See how other inventors succeed or fail at pitching their idea to investors.
Besides the books mentioned earlier, you learn how to communicate effectively by watching some great Ted Talks like this one by Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are (TED Video). Nancy Duarte reveals the structure of the greatest speeches – this is fascinating.
10. CREATE TOOLS
Create tools! Below are some links that can help you to create your own non-digital tools to use with clients or internally within your business.
Print your own brainstorm cards via Moo (Printfinity) service
Use a Persona Template for brainstorm sessions and get inspiration about your customers.
Hello, Startup: A Programmer’s Guide to Building Products, Technologies & Teams.