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Structure Eats Culture for Breakfast? 
Let’s put a stop to this!

Visualize, create, and optimize your innovation (eco)system with this card set of 120+ innovation vehicles and program building blocks. A tool for innovation executives, catalysts, and change agents who are serious about establishing a culture of innovation by changing their organization design and building a dedicated operating system for innovation.

You can now buy them digitally or support our crowdfunding for a print version!


— The Pain —

Life as an innovation leader or catalyst for change can be hard

You will have to deal permanently will all kinds of obstacles to innovation in general and the happiness of your product and innovation teams in particular.

Lacking knowledge and awareness in the org

Neither your C-suite nor your colleagues and closest potential allies know how to organize for innovation. Ambidexterity is a foreign word; if not, it’s set up inefficiently. The innovation strategy is vague.

Insufficient or no support structures at all

Your innovation lab, accelerator, and/or other programs are not interconnected and strategically aligned. It’s little fires everywhere. Lacking well-interlocked support structures, your teams struggle to create the groundbreaking innovations you crave.

Mediocre results

The organization tends to attribute lower-than-expected results to low team performance. So, teams and individuals get blamed, not the (lacking) system that might have stifled them in the first place.

Lots of innovation theater

Due to fails and your unimpressive innovation track record, more pressure mounts, and the organization favors quick-win over long-term thinking. It puts faith in “success recipes” instead of striving to develop its own way of innovating. Lip service and grand speeches are the order of the day.

— The Support Tool —

A visual strategy facilitation tool for innovation executives, catalysts, change agents, and consultants

Visualize and (re)design your innovation funnel’s support structures and help your innovation teams getting their work done with a turbo boost rather than internally induced friction.

Step 1: Get stakeholder buy-in and understanding without “Bla Bla” and “Powerpoint”

✅  Bring influential (non-) innovation stakeholders up-to-date on how pioneer organizations set up their innovation support structures

✅  Communicate systemic connections to stressed, short-tempered stakeholders in a very short period of time.

✅  Produce buy-in for a more strategic view on support structures and foundational "building blocks" for innovation

Step 2: Structure your own innovation enablement work

✅  Familiarize yourself with and weigh up options to structure your innovation (eco)system

✅  Flexibily design your own innovation system without prescriptive recipes or frameworks

✅  Take decisions based on "next practice" and proven vehicles without reinventing the wheel

✅  Discover support structure and governance gaps in your innovation pipeline/funnel

✅  Overcome your innovation barriers by screening and adapting proven vehicles to your organization’s context

✅  Design and map your own innovation operating system and its support structures, and programs 

Turn abstract discussions about your innovation funnel's efficacy into something tangible

Regularly gather your key stakeholders, innovation and product teams and visually check with them whether your support system is really serving them. Can be beautifully combined with existing tools and frameworks, such as: BMNT's Lean Innovation Pipeline, GroundControl's NEXT Canvas, Strategyzer's Ecosystem Map, LPK's Roadblocks to Innovation, and many more ...

An innovation system design cards mapping session at the HPI Potsdam
120 + Cards

Version 1.0 of the card deck consists of 120+ cards of innovation system building blocks in different categories.

Background Information

For each card there will be a little info page with best-of links to studies, whitepapers, and blog articles (coming in v2.0).

Download Access to Updates

Buying any set also gives access to card updates, that will be added from time to time and which you can self-print to keep your deck up to date.

See all the cards which are included in the set:
  1. Ad-hoc Brainstorming
  2. Agile Change Roadmap
  3. Agile Delivery
  4. Biomimicry
  5. Business Model and Lean Startup »Thinking«
  6. Business Plan
  7. Business R&D Function
  8. Center of (Business) Excellence
  9. CEO Calendar Time
  10. Change Narrative
  11. Chief Entrepreneurship Officer
  12. Circular Economy
  13. Classic Product Team
  14. Communities of Practice
  15. Continuous Improvement and Innovation Approaches
  16. Corporate Accelerator
  17. Corporate Foresight Function
  18. Cross-Industry Networks
  19. Customer Immersion Program
  20. Customer Visit Program
  21. Data & Analytics Function
  22. Dedicated Innovation Team
  23. Dedicated Product / Exploration Team
  24. Definition of Innovation
  25. Delivery Sprints
  26. Demo Day
  27. Design as a Driver of Innovation
  28. Design Ops
  29. Design Thinking
  30. Dev Ops
  31. Discovery Sprints
  32. Diversity
  33. Dual Operating System
  34. E-Learning
  35. Ecosystem and Networked »Thinking«
  36. Emerging Products Division
  37. Flexible Team Working Spaces
  38. Hackathons
  39. Idea Challenge
  40. Idea Selection Committee
  41. Identity Platform: Vision, Mission, and Values
  42. In-Project Coaching
  43. Incentive Systems
  44. Incubator
  45. Innovation Roadmap
  46. Innovation »Lab«
  47. Innovation Academy
  48. Innovation Campaign
  49. Innovation Career Path Model
  50. Innovation Catalyst Core Team
  51. Innovation Center
  52. Innovation Collective Agreement
  53. Innovation Event
  54. Innovation Governance Model
  55. Innovation Hiring Team/Offensive
  56. Innovation Mentors Program
  57. Innovation Metrics
  58. Innovation Outpost for M&A Scouting
  59. Innovation Safari / Inspiration Excursion
  60. Innovation Strategy
  61. Innovation Thesis
  62. Innovation Workshop
  63. Innovation/Product Team Tool Stacks
  64. Inverse Mentoring Program
  65. Investment Board
  66. Kickbox Program
  67. Leadership Trainings
  68. Lean Innovation Philosophy
  69. Learning Experiences
  70. Learning Fair
  71. Meet-ups and Community-Events
  72. Mergers and Acquisition
  73. Method Training Playbooks and Kits
  74. Modern (Innovation) Leadership Paradigm
  75. New Work
  76. Ongoing Innovation & Culture Assessments
  77. Open Innovation Challenge Platform
  78. Operational Portfolio Management
  79. Playing Field »Thinking«
  80. Problem Fair
  81. Procurement Fast Lane
  82. Product Ops
  83. Project Management Office
  84. Public Accelerator
  85. Refactoring Organisation
  86. Research Ops
  87. Scale-up / Growth Team
  88. Self-Organizing, Cross-Disciplinary Structures
  89. Service Logic
  90. Service Quality Assurance Panel
  91. Skunk Works
  92. Startup Fund
  93. Storytelling Team
  94. Strategic Portfolio Management
  95. Strategic Portfolio Standup
  96. Strategy Review Meeting
  97. Studio and Maker Spaces
  98. Suggestion Scheme
  99. Tech Fair
  100. Tech R&D Function
  101. Think Tank
  102. Train-the-Trainer Programs
  103. Transformation Steering Team(s)
  104. University Partnership(s)
  105. Unstructured Time Model
  106. Venture Studio

PDF Version v1.0

Innovation System Design Cards: PDF Versions

Download the cards as PDF for self-printing. German and English versions available. Check out the free preview versions here: EN | DE.

Mural / Miro Version v1.0

Innovation System Design Cards: Mural / Miro Version

Download ready-made Mural / Miro templates with example pathways and useful complementary tools, which help you visualizing your own or your client's innovation system.

Print Version & Digital Files

Innovation System Design Cards: Print Version

Support the crowdfunding campaign for the production of a printed and updated version 2.0 of the cards. With your pledge you also receive all digital versions of the cards and their future updates (PDF, Miro, Mural).

About the author

Jan Schmiedgen relaxing

Jan can only relax when he knows that things in the world are changing for the better. But for that to happen, people smarter than him must be allowed to be effective. He will, therefore, not rest until innovation and product teams in influential large organizations can really bring the new into the world — without any unnecessary politics and friction.

He has curated the card set from his observations of pioneer organizations (Intuit, Autodesk, SAP, etc.) but also from co-created interventions over the last 15 years as an innovation researcher, coach and strategy consultant, where amongst others, he worked with companies like Commerzbank/CommerzReal, Bosch, Wikimedia, Siemens/Next47, or Volkswagen. Today Jan is a partner in the Berlin-based innovation consulting boutique co:dify with current clients like Voith, Kelvion, RockTech, and Bosch China.


Why did you create this card deck Jan?

Out of a mixture of frustration and optimism of the will. You can read about it in a blog post here.

How can I apply the cards in my work practice?

After having them mocked up for use in training, knowledge activation, and consulting work, I also obtained feedback from a small circle of innovation experts who tested them. The ways they and I used them are described in this little facilitator's guide: English Version (EN) | German Version (DE). This gives some inspiration on how you might use them too.

Do you have an example of a real world innovation system from one specific organization?

I didn't have the time and capacity yet to create specific company examples even though all cards' vehicles exist in real-world organizations (often a whole bunch of them in one single organization). By "coincidence" (and for a Barcamp-like online conference), however, Martin Jordan (back then GDS' Head of Service Design) and I mapped the English government's digital transformation structures though. You can watch an explanation video here. You can download the GDS-specific card set here if you are interested. Here you can also see it on a Miro board.

Do the contents of the cards also make sense for medium-sized companies?

Only some of the building blocks are 1:1 applicable for companies under 1,000 or even 500 employees. Nonetheless, all of the cards can provide inspiration, because you can always ask yourself, "What person, group, or program element performs the job which this vehicle typically does in a progressive large organization?" 

Where can I follow your progress with producing the card set for the wider public?

You can follow the Roadmap here.

Why do you promote the card set to innovation leaders and change agents and not to C-level executives directly?

Because from experience I have no illusions that C-Level Executives actively search for such tools or apply them themselves. Strategic conversations in which the cards could be used are rather prepared and moderated by above mentioned persons on VP level. Of course, the tool was created specifically for this purpose, so that one can enter into an exchange with (also innovation-inexperienced) board members and managing directors faster and more comprehensibly, but its facilitation should be done by experts.

What are the sources from which you’ve compiled these cards?

A mixture of many: It started with interviews and observations we made in pioneer organizations when conducting our research for our design thinking adaptation study “Parts without a Whole” in 2015. There we came across many thoughtful leadership decisions, scaling approaches, and innovation vehicles. Further, they have been fed by the fruitful exchanges on “next practices” between (corporate) innovation scholars and practitioners in various communities in the last ten years. To name a few: conferences and workshops at the HPI; industry networks like DTX and Design@Business; recently Innovation Leader and Innov8rs; and several small but highly professional meet-up groups. Some cards are also based on important academic theories, which we consider essential and which have become the cornerstones for innovation in the pioneer organizations mentioned above but which aren’t practiced widely in the industry yet. The same applies to pragmatic and practical approaches, which international (lean) innovation thought-leaders — whose thinking we at co:dify appreciate and follow — have developed. Last but not least, quite a few cards are fed by our own work and consulting experience.

I bought the cards. Where can I redownload the files if I lost them?

You can go to and enter the email address from which you bought your licenses. A magic login link will be send to you. You will then be able to re-download all files.

Ready to take action?

Don’t reinvent the wheel!

Trust the inspiration but never the recipe. Create your own innovation system stimulated by building blocks and innovation pathway examples of international trailblazers. Design an innovation system that will eventually also survive your next CEO change.

All proceeds from the card sales go into the further development of this tool.

Ready to get your card set?

Then head over to our brand-new co:dify Innovator Utilities store now. You will not only level up your and your fellow innovation peers' knowledge and facilitation experience. Your purchase or pledge will also help create an updated version 2.0 of this tool with more background information on each building block. So, if you care as much about establishing innovation as a discipline as we do: swipe your card for our cards. 😉