No. 1 ~ January 2022


From the field

How the problem definition and main question influence participation, idea quality and the ultimate value creation.

New partners

RiverStoneBlue entered into new partnerships with innovation management software suppliers during 2021.

Roundtable: 25'JAN'22

Online conversation about the (desired) personality, knowledge and skills of an innovation manager.

from the field

the power of better questions!

Improving your question or problem statement probably has the most impact on your innovation efforts!


Broad questions lead to vague and unrealistic answers, while narrow questions exclude potential solutions. The most famous example is probably the bagage claim story as explained in the video below. Over the past year, I ran various online ideation campaign where we also saw this impact of improving the question.


The example I wanted to share today is about a supermarket that wanted to increase its revenues, and the initial plan was to ask employees about “How might we increase our revenues?” A classical example of an overly abstract question that won’t excite employees nor source relevant solutions.


After speaking with the Managing Director, it became clear that the admired revenue growth could be achieved through more frequent visits from their existing customer base. We also realized that all employees would be doing groceries and could answer as a customer. That made us rephrase the question into “What would convince you to do your daily grocery shopping at [brand]?”


This was engaging for all employees and could have a direct impact on them, which resulted in high engagement and hundreds of ideas!!! Eventually about a dozen ideas were selected that together were able to deliver the admired revenue growth! 


Don’t turn your innovation questions into a maze in which your employees get lost. Also, don’t drop them in an open field without any directions.


New partners

During 2021, I spend quite a bit of my time on identifying new partners. Since the beginning of my independent career, I trained and advised many customers of HYPE Innovation. A match made in heaven as my experiences and offerings suited well to their needs and ambitions. 



Therefore, I reached out to various other software providers in the Innovation Management space, and I’m happy to announce that RiverStoneBlue now also supports customers of Brightidea, Qmarkets, HeroX and AcceptMission


Six signs your ideation program needs an upgrade


The ideas you collect have no strategic relevance, nor do they provide answers to your most stressing challenges.


You experience low overall engagement, or only partial participation (eg. only certain groups) from the invitees.


There’s limited collaboration between the creatives and the SMEs preventing initial hunches are grown into proposals management can decide upon.


Once you get to evaluation, you discover ideas cannot be compared fairly. It seems you need to categorize them first and probably also loop in other experts.


Although you did select a few ideas as winners, you’re unconvinced anything will ever be realized, let alone create value. Apart from increased employee engagement, you’re unable to report on the impact you created through your program.


You ran a few ideation campaigns, but business units don’t seem to adopt to this new way of working, nor do they see it as a valid method to find solutions for their challenges.

books and articles

Invisible Solutions

The book Invisible Solutions by Stephen Shapiro is a must read if you’re looking for solutions!


The introduction says it all: “To find better solutions, you need to first ask better questions. The questions you ask determine which solutions you’ll see and which will remain hidden.”


In this book, Stephen explains his 25 lenses that help you to reframe ineffective questions into well-defined ones in order to find better solutions.


If you know me, you’ve heard me hammering on the importance of questions for your ideation campaigns and the book is of great help there!


Over the past year, I applied the lenses to ‘Reduce abstraction’ or ‘Change perspective’ resulting in better ideas and more implementations than with the original question.


The book comes with the ‘Cheat Sheet’ which never left my desk since I got my hands on it. On top of that, Stephen did a whole podcast series, there’s an online lease browser and even an interactive bot to help you apply the lenses in practice.


You can find this and other favorites in my online Innovators’ Bookclub that you can access here!

roundtable event

The Innovation Manager's personality


During this highly interactive and online event, we’ll look at the Innovation Manager’s personality together. What are the required skills and experience, and is one personality type better than another? Do the results of a company’s innovation activities depend on the person leading it? And is this the same for all innovation programs, or is it company or sector specific?


In various blocks, Roel takes you through the various elements that together make (or break) an Innovation Manager. All elements are openly discussed and voted upon in order to build a shared understanding of the ideal personality of an Innovation Manager!

event details

WHEN: January 25th from 4pm to 5.30pm CET

WHERE: Online via FlowOS’ Sessions ~ Register here

WHO: All attendees, moderated by Roel de Vries



Start the new year of flying and get your innovation management support in for the rest of the year NOW! 

Based on the success of our Prepaid Service Packages, we now also offer continuous support via our yearly subscription packages. And because it also gives us more continuity, we’re able to offer it more cheaply than the prepaid packages! Are you paying upfront for the entire year? Then we’ll add another staggering discount of 20%!

Use the subscription hours to loop in an experienced, external coach for help and advise, or outsource certain Innovation Management activities to to this person so you can focus on your colleagues and their innovations yourself! 

Move a

500 per month
  • 5 hours / month
  • Spend freely
  • Annual cancellation
  • €6000 iso €7500/y
€1500 discount

move a

1000 per month
  • 10 hours / month
  • Spend freely
  • Annual cancellation
  • €12000 iso €15000/y
€3000 discount

Move a

2000 per month
  • 20 hours / month
  • Spend freely
  • Annual cancellation
  • €24000 iso €30000/y
€6000 discount

Reducing CO2 impact


112 trees