Your Innovation Buzzword Library

7 min read

First of all, what is a buzzword? Well, it's a word or expression from a particular subject area that has become fashionable because it has been used a lot.

And you, my lucky friend, have just found the place where the buzzwords related to the particular subject Innovation are collected. We will keep this library updated, and if you would like to add more words please let us know in the comments below.



An agreement between a group of people or a team who want to work together because of shared interests or aims. Being aligned increases the chances of successful collaboration. There can also be alignment in other areas, for example between a vision and work carried out or a certain KPI and a project.

Ambidextrous Organization

Being able to use both hands equally well. An ambidextrous organization is an organization that uses it’s explorative and exploitative “hands” equally well



To assess or measure the quality of something by comparing it with something else of an accepted standard.

Best Practice

A "best practice" is a method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives. This because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by other means or because it has become a standard way of doing things, e.g., a standard way of complying with legal or ethical requirements.

Big Data

Big Data is a field that treats ways to analyze, systematically extract information from, or otherwise deal with data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional data-processing application software.


Continuous Improvement

Continuously improving the value offer that constitutes the core business of a company today.


Crowdsourcing is the collection of information, opinions, or work from a group of people, usually sourced via the Internet. Crowdsourcing work allows companies to save time and money while tapping into people with different skills or thoughts from all over the world.

Current Core Business

The main value a company is currently providing their customers and earning money on. It can be a product or service, or something else.

Customer centric

.. or Client-centric, is an approach of doing business that focuses on creating a positive experience for the customer by maximizing service and/or product offerings and building relationships.

Customer journey

A customer journey is a way of mapping and describing the full customer experience related to a value offer from a company, from first interaction until the customer ends it’s relationship with the company or value. It can be used as a tool for finding ways to create value in all steps of a customers’ interaction with a company.

Customer pains and gains

Customer pains and gains are potential opportunities for a company to create value. A customer pain can be solved and a customer gain can be added. These are values a customer is willing to pay for. This is useful to think about when i.e defining problem statements or evaluating solutions. If for example a product does not solve a customer pain or add a customer gain, it is not likely to succeed on the market.


Disruptive Innovation

An innovation cannot become disruptive until it has been released to the market and fundamentally changed it. Hence, disruptive innovation is not a "work in progress", but rather a result of successful innovation work that has already been done. 


Exploration mode

Exploration mode is what we call the exploring phase where innovation project are usually initiated. This phase is much about discovering, learning, testing and building and we focus our work around Why?, What? and for Who?. During this phase, we have no set end goal, but the aim of the phase is rather to develop and define an innovation that we want to realize in the exploiting phase. We write more about this in for example "What is Innovation?".

Exploitation mode

Exploitation mode is what we call the exploiting phase that aims to realize and exploit (innovation) projects. The focus here is to build a predetermined goal, achieving as high quality as possible with as little resources as possible (to be crass). This is the mode most companies are very used to and adept at working within. In this phase, we are concerned with How?, and we have a set goal or end result that we are going to achieve. We write more about this in for example "What is innovation?"


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Go-to-market plan

A plan for going from the current state (where the concept is not up-and-running) to our desired state (when the concept is up-and-running). It needs to contain everything from how we practically build the concept, to how we reach and sell to our first customer and how er scale our business model etc. 

Growth Hacking

Growth hacking is a relatively new field in marketing, focused on growth. Growth hacking is particularly prevalent with startups, when the goal is finding product/market-fit or achieving rapid growth in the early-stages of launching a new product or service to market.



Relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just its parts.



The work of creating ideas and finding solutions to a predefined problem statement.

Incremental Innovation

Innovations that are closely related to today's core business. Closely related to Continuous Improvement.


Something new that creates value for people. 

There are different types of innovation. See Continuous Improvement, Incremental Innovation, Radical Innovation, Disruptive Innovation. 

Innovation Management 

Driving and developing the over all innovation work in an organization, doing everything from overviewing and prioritizing the innovation portfolio to developing the innovation capabilities of the organization. 

Innovation System

The innovation system of a company contains all it's innovation efforts, sorted out over their innovation structures and processes. This system provides an overview that helps us understand and prioritize our innovation portfolio, helping us make strategic decisions aiming to stay relevant over time. It also allows us to improve our innovation capability by analyzing the system and discovering it's weaknesses. 


The work of learning about and getting insight into fields relevant to one’s work, to then sort and make sense of the findings, and conclude relevant implications of the new knowledge.


The word iterative indicates that something is repeated. Tied to innovation, we often use the word iterative connected to processes or methods. An iterative process is a process that is repeated several times in a row. Hence, the process is not linear. 



The "Jobs To Be Done" (JTBD) is a framework for viewing your products and solutions in terms of the "jobs" customers are trying to get done. In other words, the JTBD is the reason why your customers "hire" your product or service.



A performance indicator or key performance indicator (KPI) is a type of performance measurement.  KPIs evaluate the success of an organization or of a particular activity (such as projects, programs, products and other initiatives) in which it engages.


Lean Start-up

An innovation method focused on developing an idea by protoyping, testing/measuring and learning in “Build-Measure-Learn cycles”. Eric Ries: “Startup success can be engineered by following the process, which means it can be learned, which means it can be taught” -

Level of abstraction

The amount of complexity by which a system is viewed or programmed. The higher the level, the less detail. The lower the level, the more detail. The highest level of abstraction is the entire system. The next level would be a handful of components, and so on, while the lowest level could be millions of objects.

The term "level of abstraction" is often used in computer science and software development. The term can also be used in innovation management to, in the same manner, describe innovation projects or initiatives and their level of complexity and details.


The action or advantage of using a lever - a lever can be an advantage a company has e.g compared to competitors.

Leverage can also be the results from using borrowed capital as a funding source when investing to expand the firm's asset base and generate returns on risk capital. Leverage is then an investment strategy of using borrowed money to increase the potential return of an investment.

Leverage can further refer to the amount of debt a firm uses to finance assets. When one refers to a company, property or investment as "highly leveraged," it means that item has more debt than equity.

Low hanging fruit

Something that is easy to obtain, achieve, or take advantage of.


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Not Invented Here

“Not invented here-syndrome” is a term used to describe the (often unconscious) negative bias a person or group can feel towards something that originated from outside of the group/team/company.


Open Innovation

Innovation-work where people outside the organization or group is invited to join and contribute



The process of making something suitable for the needs of a particular person


A pivot is a "structured course correction designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, strategy, and engine of growth." Pivoting is changing direction for your innovation in line with new discoveries in the project.

Psychological safety

Having psychological safety means being able to show and employ "one's self" without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status or career.

In psychologically safe teams, team members feel accepted and respected.


The innovation portfolio of a company contains all it's innovation projects. By categorizing the portfolio based on for example the 3 horizons of innovation, we can overview it and make sure we cover all horizons with relevant projects. Having an understanding for our innovation portfolio helps us make strategic decisions, aiming to make the company relevant over time. 


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Radical Innovation

Innovation that is not related to today's core business and will, if implemented radically change a company's value offer, ways of working etc. Can also be called Discontinuous Innovation. 



A limited area within which we can for example drive innovation. Setting a scope for our innovation efforts helps us focus on a specific area and become more relevant in our work. 

Sense of Ownership

In psychology, ownership is the feeling that something is yours. Psychological ownership is distinct from legal ownership: one may feel that one's cubicle at work is theirs and no one else's (i.e. psychological ownership), but legal ownership of the cubicle is actually conferred to the organization. Having a sense of ownership for a project implies that you feel the project is yours and that you will take on responsibility to drive it forward and engage in it.


The word “sprint” can be used to describe one cycle of work. In iterative work, for example, we can use the term to describe one cycle of the work method we are using.


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Suggest more words in the comments below 👇


Suggest more words in the comments below 👇


Suggest more words in the comments below 👇


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