Biases and innovation

You, I and everyone else in this world live in a world of professional biases. Our professional biases have helped us thrive and survive in our day-to-day working world. Yet your career has also created some limiting innovation biases. 

Innovation experts like myself headlining conferences around the world with unique innovation methodologies all have biases. 

Whilst biases are what can give experts such a fresh, unique perspective on innovation, for most of us trying to apply their unique innovation approach, it rarely works.

What’s been missing in innovation models, methodologies and training is understanding the innovative strengths of innovative professional biases. By taking the best innovative strengths from professional innovators across a wide range of professional industries and understanding the keys phases of innovation, we can use these strengths to apply in our day-to-day innovation. 

A great starting point is to think of the four main levels of innovation and what role a professional innovator excels at in each of these levels. 

When it comes to commercial innovation, there are four key phases of innovation.

  1. Investigation

  2. Ideation

  3. Iteration

  4. Commercialisation

Here are the fast facts on each of these phases:


This is the research phase of innovation. it can be both statistical and behavioural.

In many ways you are simply looking for data, insights, trends and behaviours that reveal opportunities to innovate around.


Give me ideas, lots of ideas! Ideation is all about idea generation. There are linear and logical ideation skills, and there are also radical brainstorming thinking styles that we can learn from professionals who really dominate this space 'day in day out'.


Build and test your ideas through prototypes, pilots and simulations. Iteration experts aren’t as well known as others, yet when you can tap into just a smidgen of their skill set, the results are incredible.


“Show me the money” and a “make the most of my money” mindset is what drives this critical phase of innovation. It’s about executing, decision-making, sharing and selling your innovation to the world.



Different professionals will all have a particular phase that they think is most important, and interestingly, you will find that they are rarely the same. What you will also find is that different professionals excel at different levels. 

For example, a marketer excels in the commercialisation stage, an R&D engineer totally nails the ideation stage, a scientist will excel in the iteration stage whilst an analyst can dominate the investigation stage.

If you are keen to improve you personal and organisational innovation, then consider what biases you may have, the strengths you can work with and the weaknesses you need to work on. 

Do you need to incorporate more research and investigation, brainstorming, piloting or simply better marketing?

Good luck finding your biases.



Nils Vesk

Founder of Ideas with Legs | Innovation speaker | consultant | author

nils vesk