How do you structure the chaotic start of Innovation? By having a concrete map of where you are going and working together throughout the journey……..

The FORTH innovation method structures the chaotic start of innovation and fosters a culture for innovation in an expedition of 10 – 20 weeks depending on the delivery format. The deliverables of this innovation expedition are 3-5 mini new business cases for innovative concepts, which fit the business reality of your organisation.

At Visualise, we acknowledge that many organizations struggle with innovation. They often do not know how to start it effectively. The FORTH Innovation method is designed to help organizations to focus their innovation process and create a culture of innovation.

The method was developed from the design thinking process by Gijs Van Wulfen in 2002 and has been used on over 200 assignments so far. As Gijs had a passion for travel stories, the methodology resembles a travel map where the treasure is the end result and the journey each member takes in the process.

Each island is outlined below.

Full Steam Ahead

Full Steam Ahead demonstrates how you can challenge your organisation to start a credible innovation project by formulating a concrete innovation assignment and choosing the right team as crewmates. This assignment is your compass throughout the journey and all crewmates have a say in the process.

Its intent is to bring everyone on board, including your board members, to focus on the treasure that should be brought back from unknown lands.

Observe & learn

This is where you remove your blinkers and see the world through “different eyes”.

To gain new and refreshing insights, we have to reserve our judgement, this is why this second step in creating new concepts is extremely important. Observe & learn illustrates how you can explore innovation opportunities, trends and technology and how you can discover customer frictions among the target groups over a 3-week process of having an open mind.

Raise ideas

As Gijs says “This step is the pièce de résistance of FORTH“.

Concepts for new products, services or business models are developed and further refined during the concept development workshops. It is not uncommon to have in access of 800 idea directions, resulting in rapidly bringing these down to 15 improved concepts as outlined in the Innovation assignment.

Test ideas

How attractive are the new concepts and how many truly stand out? Here you reflect on this together with customers and improve the concepts based on their feedback. At the end of this stage, the innovation team will select the best 3-5 new concepts to be worked out as mini new business cases.


In the final step, the FORTH expedition returns home with three to five attractive new product or service concepts and enough support to fill the innovation pipeline. They will be presented to senior management and a decision will be made which business cases to adopt in the formal product development process for commercial development.

So want are the main deliverables from FORTH?

  • 3 – 5 Mini business cases
  • A team that has been on the journey and is brought into the process
  • Which helps to develop an innovation culture for the future wellbeing of the organisation.

If you would like to understand more about the Forth Innovation Method and how it can help your business, contact us.