8 Fluffy buzzwords you should never use in your corporate innovation brainstorm

As an innovation consultant at Board of Innovation, I’ve guided my share ideation sessions by now. The results that come out of these sessions can be astounding. Quirky twists of the brain turned into tangible and valuable ideas. Rule #1 of course being: don’t judge ideas in the creativity phase. No need to tell you this, there’s plenty of literature about that by now, … 

But then what? At the end of the day, you want to walk out of the session with ideas you can take further. Far too often that’s when teams get stuck in the abstract world of fluff: buzzword bingo! This is detrimental to innovation. It can destroy an idea’s chances of becoming a reality. Let me help you in your next endeavor. 

Here are 8 words that should raise the hairs on the back of your neck: tread carefully!

1. Platform

Yup, That’s right. I wanted to get this one out of the way first. And here’s why: 90% of the time, it’s just a cover up for an idea that you didn’t really think through. Is it a matchmaking marketplace with a supply and demand side? Is it a DIY website builder? Is it … ? Seriously.
Fix: Try and explain your idea without using this word and find out how quickly you realise it’s an empty box…

2. one stop shop

So you want to fix all the existing needs and problems in one go? Maybe that’s a bit much to take onto your plate as a 5-person team…
Instead, try and list all separate features you would need. How about actually nailing one thing at a time?

3. Disruptive

Actually, the main pain of this word is that it’s not used for what it really means . Unless you’re offering a service that was previously inaccessible to a certain customer group at a severely lowered price with a drastically improved UX, Don’t call it disruptive.

4. Community

How many people do you need before you’re community would be a success? Right. Maybe try convincing 3 users first?

5. Quality label

“Oh a community is indeed a lot of work. Let’s go for a quality label.” First off: how many of these labels actually exist already? Do you pay attention to any of them? Nope. Neither does anybody else. Next to that. How many partners would you need to convince to make it credible?

6. omnichannel

Are you living in 2005? In all seriousness: focus! Find your early adopters and validate their preferred channel.

7. app

Really, you want to make an app for that? If you said chatbot, I might’ve been excited. But app?

8. Big data

Oh god.

I hope this has sparked some food for thought for you, my dear reader. If you’ve encountered any other buzzwords that you’d like to never hear of again, let us know! If you don’t agree with me, go ahead and drop a comment in there too! And if you really want to warm my cold heart, share it in your personal newsfeed.

And about that next brainstorm: good luck!


I’m Nick Fransen,  Freelance Innovation Consultant & Entrepreneur, Co-founder & Composer @ Project Echo. Spreading innovation culture is in our DNA – if you liked the read, contribute to our mission by sharing this article.

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