Waltons Principle

Type of record:
  • Macro method
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Ideal innovation phases for this method:
  1. Innovation Phase
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. 8
  10. 9
  11. 10


The Waltons Principle is a principle that describes a SME-specific way of working within innovation processes. The principle is based on the assumption that in medium-sized companies the involvement of as many employees as possible and the renunciation of inefficient measures contribute significantly to the success of innovation projects. The principle and the name were first formulated by Sabine and Jørn Rings.

The Waltons Principle is based on the assumption that innovation processes within companies are a combination of human actions and techniques used. The term techniques refers to both mental methods and concrete tools and facilities.

If one follows this idea, the success of innovation projects depends decisively on these two parameters. If there is a lack of human support, in the form of employee commitment and concrete ideas, or if ineffective tools are used, this reduces the chances of success.

Since the relationship between management (or owners) and staff is often very personal in medium-sized companies and hierarchies are flat accordingly, the human factor plays a particularly important role here. Internal resistance and sensitivities can lead to the failure or stagnation of innovation projects, especially in the case of unusual sounding ideas and their implementation in the form of new products, services, business ideas or process optimizations.

In contrast to current innovation theories, which specify a large number of parameters for innovation success, the Waltons principle reduces the necessary levers in medium-sized companies to the two essential pillars mentioned above. This should greatly simplify implementation, especially in less innovation-trained companies.

The planning of an innovation project according to the Waltons Principle prefers measures that promise the greatest possible employee participation and motivation and must be demonstrably efficient.
  • Effective for all innovation types
  • Effective for incremental innovations and improvements
  • Effective for low complex challenges
  • Effective for medium complex challenges
  • P5 Idea Finding (ideation - idea generation - creative phase - incubation)
  • P9 Fighting for ideas (building commitments - generate fundings)
  • P10 Implement (implementation - execution of ideas)
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