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The Flow Forward Approach

Connected River is focused on enabling efficient experimentation with emerging digital technologies, new innovation methods and forms of collaboration, with a strong connection to society in waterway or waterfront regions.

Based on the pilots’ lessons learnt, Connected River delivers a playbook (strategy) to maximise uptake and transferability of the Flow Forward approach. This sets out the values, processes, and procedures for a fit-for-future response to challenges that shared Waterways & Waterfronts face.

The Connected River partners will also create roadmaps on how to integrate the playbook into their innovation strategies.

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Ecosystem mapping - Het IJ Workshop

The Approach

Flow Forward is a short cycle innovation approach where added value for (end) users is realized in collaboration with partners through experimentation and learning. This approach combines Design Thinking with elements of Lean Startup and Agile Design.

Challenges often arise because different people use the same water or area at the same time, but with a different goal. Think of recreational and commercial shipping. This busyness leads to new problems of safety, accessibility, and quality of life, if not properly arranged. Key in the Flow Forward approach is the involvement of both users as well as stakeholders during the whole innovation process. This way solutions are developed with value for all people involved. Solutions are continuously tested and adjusted in short experiments. Does the solution work and is it feasible? It will be scaled up after the completion of the experimentation phases.

Flow Forward has three pillars:

  • Experiments take place on the fringes of an organization, not in the everyday business so experiments can be open and innovative

  • An experiment has a strong link with a social challenge and has a strong social impact

  • The experiment has an important digital/innovative component

Flow Forward Tools

The Platform and Starter Kit

The project partner InnoValor Advies focuses on the development and introduction of user-oriented and short-cycle innovation methods. Over the next four years, they will support the project as a knowledge partner and investigate the effectiveness of various methodologies in practice in 6 European pilot areas. The result is an innovation toolbox that can also be used for other spatial development issues.

In collaboration with other approach partners, such as Antwerp Management School, InnoValor Advies is working on the development of the Flow Forward innovation method, including innovation tools and canvasses. The approach focuses on short-cycle innovation in ecosystems.

The goal of the Flow Forward platform is to provide easy-to-use tools, that guide one step at a time to practical and direct applicable results. The platform will be free to use for anyone who is interested in the approach.

A Starter kit will help (port) cities to get started quickly with experiments by using innovative technologies, new working methods and forms of collaboration. It is a practical manual with tools and work sessions to build ecosystems, conduct experiments and explains a short cyclical way of working. Each step has one or more tools that can be accessed through links on the Flow Forward platform.

Download the Starter Kit here >>

Find out more about the Flow Forward Platform

Source: InnoValor Advies