The 4S Innovation Information Funnel

Innovation should be supported by a clear structure in your organization. For Successful knowledge management and use of all available information for innovation purposes, you should think of the management of knowledge, ideas and innovation information as a funnel with four steps: Search, Systematically collect, Select and Share Innovative information:


Knowing how to improve the products is obtained by understanding the job (core benefit) the product/customer is trying to do, it solves wrong problems improving the products irrelevant to customers need. By only asking customers for solutions a company becomes a counter clerk, who takes orders and fulfills them without adding value. Search should include information about all the stakeholders and other industries. 10 important search areas are:

  • Internal Business Intelligence Processes
  • Processes
  • Supply Chain Management
  • The External Environment
  • Competitors
  • Non Customers
  • Customers
  • Other Industries
  • Current Industry
  • Employees

Systematic collection

There are different strategies to collect information for innovation purpose: management interviews, company vision, corporate boards, surveys, technology search, trends search and outside experts. The main sources and how to collect information can however, be divided into four information collection groups: 

  • Corporate information
  • Upstream suppliers
  • Users and customers
  • External brokers


The information and ideas should be evaluated by your selected criteria’s as: cost, buyer value, strategic fit, potential, attractiveness, profitability, resources and competences, time, achievable, news value, risk. The ideas should be evaluated to be selected and prioritized, which should be launched by an “Idea council”.  When eliminating an idea it is important to inform the idea owner of the reasons. It will be de-motivating if the employee registers ideas and never gets any feedback.


Most information sharing is based on IT, but also Culture, Infrastructure and Technology is important for knowledge management and information sharing. We are living in an age of misinformation, people are permanently being flooded with information, and therefore it is important to focus on the data quality which is distributed to the individual. To avoid too much information it is important to personalize the information by using an employee portal.

Later in this blog each of the 4S’ will be explained further for successful use of innovation information and idea/knowledge management.


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