Understand backpack

The “understand backpack” supports the learning about the enterprise, the external environment and its stakeholders.

A Strategic Innovation System (SIS) should be able to: a) provide a means to identify potential opportunities and threats by exploring market, competitive and technology developments from internal and external sources; b) support the framing and

development of an opportunity by facilitating insights about current reality and future scenarios; and c) identify important unmet needs of customer/stakeholders; so that timely and relevant information can be provided to business leaders and innovators.

More about it

  • It facilitates exploration activity leading to new insights, responding to questions such as the following:
    • External environment (intelligence): what are the main trends affecting the organization (e.g. STEEPLE)? What are the forces governing competition (e.g. Porter analysis)? How is the market and what is it demanding (e.g. user / customer and market research)? What technologies are out there that might be of particular interest?
    • Future (foresight): how the environment might be in the short, medium and long term (as seen from current reality)? What are the main certainties and uncertainties about the future aspects that are relevant to the organization?
    • State of the organization: what are the current capabilities and resources of the organization? What is its business model (i.e. how it creates, delivers and captures value)?.
    • Customers and other key stakeholders: what are the underlying aspirations (functional or emotional) of a customer/stakeholder? What are their anxieties and pains while using current solutions? What are the needs or desired outcomes they are seeking at every step of their experience?


  • It includes tools and techniques such as the following:
    • STEEPLE (e.g. integrated within Roadmap) for the purpose of identifying social, technological, economical, ethical, political, legal and environmental trends and drivers.
    • Scenario planning for the purpose of comprehending possible futures by interpreting today’s signals in the environment.
    • Porter’s forces (competitive analysis) for the purpose of comprehending the level of competition and factors involved within an industry which may affect the ability of an organisation to serve a market and make a profit.
    • Interlinked grids (QFD-like) for the purpose of analysing customer needs, establishing design criteria, and visualising implications.
    • LEGO Serious Play for the purpose of comprehending values, interests, motivations and emotions of stakeholders (even unconscious or hidden drivers) and their roles, relationships and potential impacts within a team, environment or system.
    • Business model canvas for the purpose of comprehending a current business model through its key elements and interrelationships.
    • And many others such as Job-to-Be-Done, User Persona, and Journey Mapping.