Free Human-Centered Innovation Tools

Free Human-Centered Innovation Tools

Innovation is all about change, and change only succeeds when people are put at the center. Therefore, people are also the heart of innovation.

It is because of this fact that I continue to build out my Human-Centered Innovation methodology and toolkit.

Keeping with the spirit of placing people at the center of innovation and change I have not only resurrected Blogging Innovation as Human-Centered Change & Innovation (follow us on LinkedIn) – complete with a weekly newsletter – but am also creating this curated collection of human-centered innovation tools.

I will give this page a start with some of my free tools from my Human-Centered Innovation Toolkit along with other well-know people-centric innovation tools.

BUT, this page will always be under construction, so please contact me with your suggestions of free tools to add.

Free Human-Centered Innovation Tools


1. Innovation Maturity Assessment

Free Innovation AuditTo help people evaluate their level of innovation maturity against the above graphic, I am sharing the 50 question innovation maturity assessment I use with clients. The assessment is most powerful when answers are gathered at multiple levels of the organization across several groups and several sites, but you can also fill it out yourself and get instant feedback – for FREE.

Click here to visit the Free Innovation Maturity Assessment page

Strategy Tools

1. Play-to-Win Strategy Canvas

Play-to-Win Strategy CanvasMatthew E. May designed and developed a wall canvas to be used when facilitating strategic choice-making with small teams. Over time, the canvas has evolved as he learned more and more about the art and discipline of strategy facilitation… what people struggle with most, where the resource of time is best spent, etc.

He introduced v3.0 of the canvas a few years ago in a short post, but here’s a little content to both explain what’s different (and why) and a few tips.

The first thing you’ll notice is that strategy-making is in three big steps:

1. Choose (strategic choices using the Play-to-Win framework)
2. Reverse Engineer (what must true for the choices to be good ones)
3. Test (validating what must be true is in fact true, or true enough)

Click here to download the free Play-to-Win wall size canvas

Click here to download the free Play-to-Win 11×17 canvas (aka A3)

Planning Tools

1. Visual Project Charter™

Visual Project Charter™The Visual Project Charter™ helps organizations:

  • Move beyond the Microsoft Word document
  • Make the creation of Project Charters more fun!
  • Kickoff projects in a more collaborative, more visual way
  • Structure dialogue to capture the project overview, project scope, project conditions and project approach

This download includes a premium 35″ x 56″ scalable PDF that I am making available to project managers for use in planning their projects in a more visual and collaborative way for greater alignment, accountability, and more successful outcomes.

The download will also include a JPEG version for use with online whiteboarding tools like Miro, Mural, Lucidspark and Microsoft Whiteboard for when your sticky notes need to be virtual.

Click here to get the Visual Project Charter™ for free

2. Business Model Canvas

Business Model CanvasThe Business Model Canvas is a popular tool from Strategyzer than can be used collaboratively to sketch out and iterate on potential business models for a new business or innovation opportunity. Why use the Business Model Canvas?

  • Map Existing Business Models – Visualize and communicate a simple story of your business model.
  • Design New Business Models – Use the canvas to explore new business models whether you are a start-up or an existing business.
  • Manage a Portfolio of Business Models – Use the canvas to easily juggle between “Explore” and “Exploit” business models.

Click to visit Strategyzer’s Business Model Canvas download page

People & Culture

1. Nine Innovation Roles Card Deck

Nine Innovation RolesI’m of the opinion that all people are creative, in their own way. That is not to say that all people are creative in the sense that every single person is good at creating lots of really great ideas, nor do they have to be. I believe instead that everyone has a dominant innovation role at which they excel, and that when properly identified and channeled, the organization stands to maximize its innovation capacity. I believe that all people excel at one of nine innovation roles, and that when organizations put the right people in the right innovation roles, that your innovation speed and capacity will increase.

Click here to visit the Nine Innovation Roles free gifts page
(multiple languages available)


1. Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation

Eight I's of Infinite InnovationThe Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation framework is designed to be a continuous learning process, one without end as the outputs of one round become inputs for the next round. It’s also a relatively new guiding framework for organizations to use, so if you have thoughts on how to make it even better, please let me know in the comments. The framework is also ideally suited to power a wave of new organizational transformations that are coming as an increasing number of organizations (including Hallmark) begin to move from a product-centered organizational structure to a customer needs-centered organizational structure. The power of this new approach is that it focuses the organization on delivering the solutions that customers need as their needs continue to change, instead of focusing only on how to make a particular product (or set of products) better.

Click here to download the Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation PDF from LinkedIn
(go into fullscreen mode to download)

2. Building a Global Sensing Network

Building a Global Sensing NetworkThe purpose of a global sensing network is to allow an organization to collect and connect the partial insights and ideas that will form the basis of the organization’s next generation of customer solutions. This involves collecting and connecting:

  1. Customer Insights
  2. Core Technology Trends
  3. Adjacent Technology Trends
  4. Distant technology trends
  5. Local social mutations
  6. Expert Communities

Click to read more about Building a Global Sensing Network

Click to access this framework as a scalable 11″x17″ PDF download

Prototyping & Testing Tools

1. The Experiment Canvas™

The Experiment CanvasThe Experiment Canvas™ is designed to help people instrument for learning fast in iterative new product development (NPD) or service development activities. The canvas will help you create new innovation possibilities in a more visual and collaborative way for greater alignment, accountability, and more successful outcomes.

Click to read more about The Experiment Canvas™

Click to download the Experiment Canvas™ as a 35″ x 56″ scalable FREE PDF poster

Add to this list of Free Human-Centered Innovation Tools

This page will always be under construction, so please contact me with your suggestions of free tools to add.

Image credit: Pixabay

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4 thoughts on “Free Human-Centered Innovation Tools

  1. Pingback: Food for Agile Thought #314: Tech Revolutions, Benefits of Negative Feedback, Better Scrum w/ Cards & Games, The Art of Interviewing - IT Skills You Need

  2. Abhijeett Desai

    This is an interesting Brief that you have started.
    Can add on as many tools, methods and Framework for Innovation.

  3. Pingback: Helping discover your innovation pathway | Paul4innovating Innovation Views

  4. Pingback: Helping you uncover your innovation path - Innovative News

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