The Seven Essential Innovation Questions (SEIQ)

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The path to innovation usually starts with a question. That is what Autodesk’s Innovation Genome Project learned after it tried to quantify what worked about the 1,000 greatest innovations across human history. This project took nearly 6 years!


The key question for the Project was: “How did the originator think of that innovation?”. Was there a pattern across such a diverse group? The team realized that “innovators implicitly or explicitly asked a set of questions about the status quo (the current thing) to get to the status Novo (the new thing)”.


With that data in hand, they quickly identified the set of questions that famous innovators have consistently asked and answered to generate ideas that can lead to new innovations.


They came up with the Seven Essential Innovation Questions (SEIQ): a framework to support the idea generation process and to drive innovation in a structured and effective way.


SEIQ is a very easy-to-use and pragmatic tool. First of all, you need to identify an opportunity to innovate: what is the pain point in your business that needs to be changed? Then ask yourself these 7 questions:

  1. What could we look at in a new way?

  2. What could we use in a new way?

  3. What could we move, changing its position in time or space?

  4. What could we interconnect in a different way?

  5. What could we alter or change?

  6. What could we make that is truly new?

  7. What could we imagine to create a great experience?


If you want to learn more check out the paper, "Real Innovation" by Bill O’Connor, the “father” of the project!