from trends to ideas using the wheel

THE WHEEL is one of our proprietary methodologies for Human-Centered creative innovation and value creation. Its principles rely on these three pillars:

the tweet brief the human-centered approach playing the wheel




Our brains work better when given specific problems to be solved or direct questions to be answered.

Instead of asking “We need to innovate, what can we do?”, start by asking “What’s needed out there?” and then “How can we help?”

As easy as a 1,2,3. Whatever methodology you want to apply to a problem-solving process, should be easy to understand and agile to implement.

THE WHEEL is a gameboard designed to be a snapshot of your company. It has 8 standard lanes of action, representing the 8 axes of the value equation of your company where you can introduce new ideas and innovations. These standard lanes of actions are: Business Model & Pricing / Product & Service & Packaging / Brand & Communications / Distribution Channels / Communication Channels / Moments / Target / Market & Category. Here’s an example of THE WHEEL for consumer goods and services. It can be changed to include other lanes of actions depending on the category (e.g. for Pharma we normally introduce a couple of extra lanes for the Doctors and the salesforce of Medical Visitors).


the wheel of innovation

Click on the image to download a projectable/printable version of THE WHEEL.

THE WHEEL can be projected on a wall, draw on a board or on a flipchart sheet, whatever suits best your group dynamics.

using the wheel

AS EASY AS 1,2,3.

Using a gamification approach to problem-solving we follow 3 steps to help you generate ideas / hypothesis of solutions for your business problems.

the tweet brief

It all begins defining a one-tweet brief, that is, the central question, the main problem of the brand to be solved during the ideation sessions. Here’s an example for airlines.

airlines problem

In the example, the situation is clear: no matter how great your service is, at the end people is looking for their flights at and other promotional websites. And when that happens, you’re not playing YOUR game, you are playing THEIRS (mostly based on pricing). So the central question for the tweet brief can be something like this:

airlines brief central question

You can actually think of many different tweet briefs in the process, depending on what problems you want to solve. The most important thing is that people must focus on only one problem at a time. Remember, creativity has to be laser-focused, and the focus must be to solve ONE business problem.
the trends

Once defined the problem, the whole group together, with a collaborative mindset… the ideation game begins. And it begins from a Human-Centered perspective.

the human-centered approach

One of the principles of the Human-Centered approach is EMPATHY. Using our base of Behavioral Trends you can play the role of different groups out there.

mentality & behavioral trends

Understanding the way they think and behave, their beliefs and needstates you can actually start seeing opportunities in the unmet needs they have. For example, THE REIGN OF THE URBAN NOMADS

trend urban nomads

During a flight you’re supposed to get disconnected, but the URBAN NOMADS need full connectivity 24/7/365. Do you see an opportunity?

the ideas

Once detected the opportunity, it’s time for the ideas, that is, hypothesis of value propositions that may solve the business problem. If the URBAN NOMADS need full connectivity, WHAT IF we give them FREE Wi-Fi in all their flights?

free wifi onboard for the urban nomads

You may say this is a good idea, but once you start doing it every other airline may do it as well, so instead of a competitive advantage you will setup a new standard for flying. But WHAT IF we put an additional trend in the model, in this case THE ERA OF SUBSCRIPTION

trend subscription

These people are willing to make a commitment to your brand if you give them added value in exchange. And that added value can be full connectivity for the URBAN NOMADS. So you can, for example, subscribe them to a club, charge them an annual fee, and in exchange give them FREE Wi-Fi during their flights and local connectivity while traveling abroad…

the airline of the urban nomads

Once you nailed it down, you can articulate your idea as a hypothesis based on Behavioral Trends. You don’t need more than a few words to express it…

the airline of the urban nomads

The most important thing: any idea has to come back to the tweet brief to see if it’s responding to the central question, the business problem we’re trying to solve. If not, the idea may be good, but it is useless for the business and must be discarded.

There are many tips and rules we have defined for playing THE WHEEL: we have learned a lot while using it hundreds of times. And several different formats in which we can introduce it as an agile innovation methodology in your organization. Contact us if you want to know more about it.