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Nesta introduces Landscape of innovation approaches: version 2

Earlier this year Nesta presented their landscape of innovation approaches. Since publishing this diagram they’ve received many helpful comments and suggestions. They’ve also created a list of approaches not already on the map; a combination of emerging methods and new to us approaches. Which brings them to version 2 of the landscape.

Below the updated diagram Nesta has included a full list of all the approaches, with new additions highlighted.


Nesta used the same structure as the previous version and grouped methods and approaches into four categories: intelligence, solution, technology and talent. These spaces reflect the premise that in order to create change, you need to understand reality, as well as develop solutions and interventions to have an effect on it. There is no formula to how the methods are positioned within these spaces. Instead, we have tried to group methods together that are closely related.

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People requested more information about what each approach means and where they should go to learn more about them. For each method on the map, there is a description available somewhere on the internet. But these descriptions aren’t always clear. For newcomers to public innovation especially, we wanted to signpost useful references. This is particularly true when a method has a variety of meanings and there is no consensus among practitioners and theorists.

To provide some guidance and clarity in general, Nesta has listed all the approaches below and added links to resources that provide a definition and introductory information. Some approaches – especially the emerging or unusual ones (e.g. reverse engineering, smart contracts) – are not always well described or documented. Whereas more established approaches may be subject to disagreement or nuances of interpretation. For example, the meaning and value of ‘design thinking’ has been fiercely disputed and criticised since it has grown in popularity.

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For these more “controversial” approaches, we haven’t picked a side with the reference we’ve provided. Instead, we’ve tried to refer to resources that we consider accessible, that don’t require prior knowledge and that provide a comprehensive introduction or definition that is generally accepted.

Read all at


The full Landscape of innovation approaches. Download this diagram as aPDF.

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