Real Time Innovation - Change the pattern. Change your thinking.


“Imagine the world is wonderful, and it’s because of you.” This saying it is the guideline we use when we reflect on innovation processes. If we look at the past, innovation always had the greatest effect when social and ecological changes caused insecurity, crises, or just a desire for something new. They can develop a power that shapes our future and thus gives us hope for a liveable world.

Innovations are not primarily useful because of their promise of quick profits with some technical novelty, but rather because they bring welfare into the world. Today this is more crucial than ever because society faces great challenges, both socially and ecologically, which cannot be tackled using the familiar approaches. Younger generations view start-up companies as a great opportunity to achieve their values, life philosophy and their dreams. Rapid change, such as digitization and globalization, drives established companies to think about how they can remain successful and secure their long-term existence through new innovative approaches. Politicians, focused on societal innovation, are eager to look for innovative strategies in order to remain competitive and be ready for future challenges.

Of course, new challenges ask for innovation processes constantly evolving and adapting to the circumstances. The scientific findings of Schumpeter1, Chesbrough2 or Rogers3 and their manifestations in the form of popular approaches such as Euectuation4, Theory U5, Design Thinking6, Lean Running, Lean Scaling and Lean Startup7 or tools like Business Innovation Design8, Circular Design9, the Blue Ocean Strategy10, Design a Better Business11 or the Business Model Canvas12 contribute to make innovation and its implementation more accessible and rethink known challenges. Our ability to embrace and actively apply these new principles to real world problems will help to bring innovation into the world and into our society.

Our Real Time Innovation (RTI) approach aims to complement and expand existing innovation tools with new perspectives on process and methods, and, at the same time, helps to combine existing approaches. This will promote entrepreneurial and responsible strategies and innovative approaches for both future start-ups and intrapreneurs.

Our approach wants to highlight the following principles:

•    Innovation processes rely on the interplay of the personal characteristics and experiences of the actors involved, the quality of the idea or the innovation project itself, the operational implementation of the innovation process, and the ecosystem.

•    Implicit patterns of action intervene in the use of known methods and o1en influence success in an innovation stage more than the ‘correct’ application of existing methods and tools.

•    Innovation processes that go beyond incremental improvements are subject to a chronological dynamic that requires new performance metrics.

In order to reveal success patterns and correlations in these areas, we have used pattern language to extract implicit success factors and classify them into categories (The Entrepreneur – Team and Collaboration – Customers, Stakeholders and Eco-System – Truly, the best solution – Sustainability and responsibility – Time and space). In addition, we have assigned the patterns levels of innovation processes that reflect the maturity of an innovation.

Each pattern, each category and each phase is depicted on a separate card. The cards allow to pick up individual patterns, to link various patterns, or to develop an entire innovation system. They playfully offer inspiration, convey new insights in the implementation of the innovation process, and lead us towards a new culture of innovation.

At the same time, the RTI Tool is based on the experience of entrepreneurs, start-ups, innovators, experts, and existing insights and literature to derive explicit criteria and metrics relevant to the success of subsequent levels at each stage for all categories. Thus, the RTI Tool can be used as dynamic innovation radar to depict the current state of the project at any time. The Pattern Cards show how to meet the criteria and parameters of the radar. A system of innovation can thus be systematically developed using a case study or a project to be developed. RTI-Tool users will learn to apply success factors related to innovation levels, approaches, team and organizational structures. For complex and dynamic processes traditional success factors and key figures are less helpful and sometimes even counterproductive and often impede future-oriented innovations.


The present work, tool and material was created by the following authors:

  • Klaus Sailer - Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship (
  • Wolfgang Stark - Steinbeis Transferzentrum Innovation und Sustainable Leadership (
  • Christina Weber - Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship (
  • Susanna Eder - Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship (
  • Erik A.Leonavicius - REINVENTIS (


Cooperation Project:

The development of the „Real Time Innovation“ tool was funded by the VDMA Bavaria and the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Auairs, Energy and Technology as part of the project „Industry 4.0 Bavaria - Production and Business Models of Tomorrow“. The German Engineering Federation (VDMA) is Europe‘s largest industrial association. It represents the interests of the medium-sized companies in the capital goods industry and sees itself as a networking platform on which its member companies can exchange views on technical challenges, interdisciplinary issues and many other relevant topics.



1 Joseph Schumpeter: The Theory of economic development. An Inquiry into Profits, Capital, Credits, and the Business Cycle (1912-34), Cambridge Massachussets, 1934

2 Henry Chesbrough: Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2003

3 Everett Rogers: The Dißusion of Innovations. The Free Press, New York. 2007

4 Saras Sarasvathy, Stuart Read Eßectual Entrepreneurship, Routledge, 2011)

5 C. Otto Scharmer: Theory U – Leading from the Future as it emerges, Berrett Köhler Publishers, 2009

6 Richard Buchanan: Wicked Problems in Design Thinking, MIT Press, Design Issues, 1992

7 Ash Maurya: Running Lean, San Francisco, 2010; Eric Ries: Lean Startup, 2011;Steve Blank: The four steps to the epiphany, Third Edition Quad/Graphics 2007

8 Jeßrey Tjendra: Business Innovation Design Framework (

9 IDEO und Ellen MacArthur Foundation: The Circular Design Guide (

10 W.C. Kim and Renee Mauborgne: The Blue Ocean Strategy, HBR 2004, p.71-79

11 Patrick Van Der Pijl und Justin Lokitz: „Design a Better Business: New Tools, Skills, and Mindset for Strategy and Innovation“ Wiley Publ., Hoboken, NJ, USA, 2016

12 Alexander Osterwalder und Yves Pigneur: Business Model Generation, Patrick van der Pijl, 2010