Type of record:
  • micromethod
  • tool
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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
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The rhizome model helps us to understand and interpret change and innovation processes differently: horizontally instead of vertically. Instead of a tree model, two philosophers developed the image of a flat network.

Most world explanation models look like a tree: There is a root as origin and from there everything develops into branches and twigs.

We discover this image throughout Western intellectual history: with Plato, John Stuart Mill, Sigmund Freud and Noam Chomsky. It always draws a development from bottom to top - from barbaric to civilized.

The two French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and FĂ©lix Guattari criticized that the tree model naturalizes a hierarchically structured system that determines what is lower and what is higher. Instead, they suggested another image from botany: Certain rootless plants are connected by rhizomes in the soil. Lily of the valley, ginger or dyer grass each have a wickerwork in which all plants are connected to each other.

The Internet also has a rhizomatic structure - it is a huge network whose parts are linked. It has no beginning and no end. There is no actual state, but a continuous becoming. If you interpret developments of a company in the rhizome model, you can see that there are decentralized movements in all directions. All elements are interconnected, cross each other and yet are independent of each other.

It is part of the essence of creativity to question existing models. Reflect the change and innovation processes in your current work. Do you prefer the tree model or the rhizome model?
  • Effective for disruptive innovations
  • Effective for incremental innovations and improvements
  • Effective for new business models
  • Effective for product innovations
  • Effective for process innovations
  • Effective for radical innovations
  • Effective for technology innovations
  • Effective for highly complex challenges
  • Effective for medium complexity challenges
  • P1 Understanding (identifying innovation search fields - problem solving)
  • P2 Analysis (of problems - the environment - people - products)
  • P4 Synthesize (create leading questions - derive position)
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