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FORTH Innovation Method: The Key to Innovate

The FORTH process is your key to building your innovation pipeline so you can focus on building products customers want and meet your business objectives, by focusing your team on an innovation assignment that brings together the knowledge and experience within your organisation.

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Program OutcomesWhat does this mean?
Business Focused Innovation project linked to business reality
Mini New Business Cases Three to five attractive new product or service concepts
Stakeholder SupportSupport and buy-in from all stakeholders as they have been part of the process
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FORTH Innovation Method


Gijs Van Wulfen is the author of the innovation bestseller “The Innovation Expedition”, which has been published in English, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Turkish, Dutch, Chinese and Japanese. Gijs furthermore founded the FORTH innovation method, which provides structure to the chaotic start of innovation, while still fostering creative thinking.

The FORTH method helps businesses to generate well-constructed new product, service, and business model concepts. To date, the FORTH innovation method has been implemented in 200+ businesses in Asia, Europe, Africa and North – and South America.

“FORTH is one of the best and straightforward methods for helping move through the fuzzy front end of discovery.”
Mrs. Del Langer-Anderson, 3M USA
business coach - Forbes - startups
business coach - Forbes - startups
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What Is FORTH?

Starting innovation is for many a struggle to master. Studies show that only a quarter of all organisations are effective at the start of innovation. You might recognize some of the struggles in practice:

  • “Our short-term mindset rules.”

  • “Our innovation process is unorganized. It’s chaos.”

  • “We cannot change our habits within the company.”

  • “We struggle to get inside the head of our customers.”

  • “There is no support for innovation among my colleagues.”

The FORTH innovation method based on Design thinking that structures the chaotic start of innovation creating variable mini new business cases and fosters a culture for innovation in an expedition of 10 weeks. The deliverables of this innovation expedition are 3-5 mini new business cases for innovative concepts, which fit the ‘in the box’ reality of your organization.

Implemented By Organisations Worldwide

The FORTH innovation method is implemented by organizations all over the world. Both in the profit sector, like 3m (USA), Huntsman (Europe and Apac), orange (Europe), NEC (Japan), Edison (Italy), and Bruil (Netherlands) as in the non-profit sector, like, Senai/Sesi (brazil) and healthcare organisations like Alfred health (Australia), and GGD (Netherlands).

The methodology has generated innovative new products, services and business models. It is also being used to innovate internal processes and to create a culture for innovation.

FORTH Innovation Method Case studies

The FORTH innovation method has proven to kickstart innovation at organisations in many sectors on every continent of the world. Here you find a casebook of 40 successful innovation projects in 15 countries that have used FORTH.

In 2020 we took the FORTH innovation methodology 100% online, using tools like Trello, Miro in combination with Zoom and Webex.

The online – or hybrid innovation cases of Philip Morris International, Pulse, The Ministry of Security and Justice, NEC and Bruil confirm that FORTH delivers great results while working 100% remote.

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Proven Effectiveness

Based on 100 ideas, scientific research from the open university determined that the FORTH innovation method provided greater value as 78 ideas were taken into development and 51 are introduced, compared to 21 in an average stage-gated process.

The structured methodology doubles your innovation effectiveness, as the start of innovation is so more professional.

Online Options

The COVID crisis has meant organisations need to reinvent themselves. At the same time, individuals are now more than ever ready and open for online formats to innovate. We experienced this ourselves while facilitating an innovation project in china with the FORTH innovation methodology. During the process, china went into strict lockdown, but we took the last two phases online and finished FORTH according to the original plan with five disruptive new business cases.

The online delivery of business cases, and online decision making, worked excellently. At this moment the demand in the market for FORTH innovation programmes online is raised and we know from experience that a FORTH online process of 10 weeks works when applied correctly. We learned that the critical success factor is that a facilitator masters the online formats, using the same techniques as in-person but benefiting from the digital tools now available.

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The FORTH Innovation Method Expedition

Select the core and support members. Together, the members will draw up the “mission of innovation”. This experience is the moment when the unique story of the organization emerges. “Why did they exist and get together? What to do?” Insights into it can be an irreplaceable experience.

You will gain insight into future potential customers, observe them, listen to them and learn more about their real troubles.

This experience is vitally important. Innovation failures often occur due to poor customer understanding. It is important to grasp what are the customer frictions.

It is this step that makes the FORTH Innovation Method the most exciting. We will all create 500+ ideas for solving the problems of users. This method builds on the tacit knowledge of your organization and we use methods to extract these insights.

The ideas created are compared with the “mission of innovation”, selected, and put together in a concept. Create a brochure. Get potential users to rate and give feedback. The concept is narrowed down from the evaluation points.

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.

How We Can Help

We will schedule a free 3-hour virtual workshop to assess your needs and to discuss the next steps

We will guide you through the 5 steps of Forth over the expedition of discovery

At the end of the process, 3-5 attractive new product or service concepts delivered in mini business cases are presented and injected into your innovation funnel.