Innovation Glossary

Get familiar with the main concepts from the startup ecosystem with this innovation glossary.

This innovation glossary will help you recognize and understand the main concepts related to the agile and user centered design methodologies. All these concepts are explained in our online courses.

A thought or suggestion as to a
possible course of action.

The act of turning new and
imaginitive ideas into reality.

Creation of a new idea or concept.

Turning a new concept into
commercial success or
widespread use.

Lateral thinking

The solving of problems by a
creative approach, typically
through viewing the problem in a
new and unusual light.

Vertical thinking

The solving of problems using
conventional logical processes.

Divergent thinking

Thinking in diverging directions
and aims to have a wide variety of
ideas. It is connected with the
right brain, creative part.

Convergent thinking

Thinking in focusing on few or
one ideas by using critical
thinking. It is connected with the
right brain, creative part.

Critical thinking

The objective analysis and
evaluation of an issue in order to
form a judgement.

Process used in Design Thinking,
visualized as two diamonds that
show the convergent and
divergent thinking.


The capacity to gain an accurate
and deep understanding of
someone or something.


A set of principles, tools and
practices which can be used to
guide processes to achieve a
particular goal.


A flexible structure for supporting
or enclosing something else, like
an skeleton, from where
something can be constructed.


An instrument used in the
performance of something. In
innovation, the same tools can be
used in different frameworks.

Graphic created by Ideo, that
explains innovation is found when
Desirability, Feasibility, Viability

Taking the lessons, skills and
overall technology and applying
them within a different market.

Increases value to the customer
(features, design changes, etc.)

It gives birth to new industries
and involves creating new

New technology or processes,
that dramatically changes the
way a structure or industry

Open Innovation

Combining ideas sourced outside
an organization and those
created internally.

Blue Ocean strategy

Concept adapted from the book
with its same name in 2005,
which strategy consist in going to
untapped markets.

Framework from Human
centered methodology. Process
with 5 phases: empathise, define,
ideate, prototype, test.

Service Design (Thinking)

Based in the design thinking
process but focused in services,
people and processes.

Design Sprint

Inspired by design think, Design
Sprint is a framework to test in 4
or 5 days a product or service
before going to the market.

Lean Startup

A method of innovation that
allows for the rapid development
and launch of new products into
the market.

Business Model Canvas

Visual tool with elements
describing a firm’s or product’s
value proposition, infrastructure,
customers, and finances.

Value Proposition Canvas

Tool which can help ensure that a
product or service is positioned
around what the customer values
and needs.


A lean startup method for
developing businesses and
products by changing direction.

Minimum Value Product

Or MVP. It is the cheapest and
fastest product made to validate
an assumption. The concept
comes from the lean startup.


Method for making processes
more flexible and faster than in
the Waterfall project
management methodology.

Agile Manifesto

Document that sets out the Agile
values and principles and helps
teams to work more efficiently
and sustainably.


Workflow system developed by
Toyota, to improve manufacturing
efficiency. In Japanese means


Agile framework created for
software development, where
processes and roles are defined.

Objectives and Key Results

Or OKR. goal-setting framework
for defining and tracking
objectives and their outcomes.

Problem framing

Exploring the given problem and
its context and may re-interpret
or restructure the given problem.


Empathy is the ability to feel what
others are feeling as if you are
feeling it yourself.

Five whys

Iterative interrogative technique
used to explore the cause
and effect relationships
underlying a particular problem.

Six thinking hats

Decision-making technique for
enhancing team communication.
It fosters collaboration, creativity,
and innovation.


Group creativity technique by
which efforts are made to find a
conclusion for a specific problem
by gathering a list of ideas.


Ideating technique by comparing
an idea, business or product to
something similar

Random combination

Ideating technique by combining
randomly different ideas, mainly
products, by drawing.


Ideating technique by comparing
an idea, business or product to
something totally different.


Creative process which can be
spoken, written, or composed
without prior preparation.

Affinity diagram

Tool that shows the relationships
between information, opinions,
problems, solutions, and issues by
placing them in related groups.

Idea clustering

Organizing and analysing large
numbers of ideas by categorising
them. It is used to connect ideas
and drive to convergent thinking


Problem solving method based on
logic and data, which accelerates
the project team’s ability to solve
these problems creatively

Mind mapping

Diagram for connecting concepts
to build an intuitive framework
around a central concept.

Decision tree

Tool that uses a tree-like model of
decisions and their possible
consequences and utility.


Exercise to create a positive group
atmosphere, reduce pressure,
energize, connect people and
enhance creativity.


Art of telling a really good story
that captivates the listener and
recipient, arouses their emotions
and leaves a lasting impression.

The heroe's journey

Story structure shared by cultures
worldwide, in which a character
ventures into unknown territory to
retrieve something they need.

Business model

Describes the rationale of how an
organization creates, delivers, and
captures value, in economic,
social, cultural or other contexts.

Business model innovation

Development of new, unique
concepts supporting an
organization’s financial viability,
including its mission.

Business model navigator

Comprehensive, process-oriented
methodology for developing
business models in four phases
and using specific techniques.

Ten types of innovation

Framework result of an exhaustive
study that identifies 10 types of
innovation based on the structure,
the offering and the experience.

Platform business model

Not a technology infrastructure, but a
holistic business model that focuses
on helping to facilitate interactions
across a large number of participants.

3 horizons model

Growth strategy framework by
McKinsey that should only be used
to set a growth strategy, which will
help inform an innovation strategy.

Social innovation

New solutions that simultaneously
meet a social need and lead to new
or improved capabilities, assets
and/or relationships.

Systemic innovation

Set of interconnected innovations,
with innovation both in the parts of
the system and in the ways that they

Circular economy

Economic, social and environmental
production and consumption model
that aims to build a sustainable
society based on a circular model.

Gig economy

Economic activity that involves the
use of temporary or freelance workers
to perform jobs typically in the service
sector. Ex. Task rabbit or Helpling.

Sharing economy

Individuals are said to rent or “share”
things like their cars, homes and
personal time to other individuals in
a peer-to-peer fashion.

Orange economy

It refers to everything that is
developed through people’s
creativity and inspiration that
becomes a good or service.

Purpose economy

Theory that suggests that companies
will be most successful in the
long-term only if they have a very
clear sense of societal purpose.
Board with postits - Ideation board for open innovation

Any questions about our innovation glossary?

All these concepts are explained in our online courses and in some of our blog posts.

Please, feel free to contact us if you want us to talk about a specific topic in our blog. You can use our contact form.

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