The Grid Principle

Type of record:
  • Strategy method
  • Macro method
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Ideal innovation phases for this method:
  1. Innovation Phase
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  3. 2
  4. 3
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  6. 5
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The grid principle is a framework for the establishment of innovation culture on the basis of hierarchyless grid structures. In contrast to the classic top-down culture, an innovation culture in the sense of the grid principle promotes the creativity of the individual. One speaks of grids, since all hierarchical levels and titles within the company are dispensed with and all communication channels between employees take place directly.

The basis of the principle is the assumption that all people are basically creative and willing to perform.

The action corridors and values of a company acting according to the grid principle are:

1. believe in the individual
The human being as an individual is at the centre. Every employee can join the projects in the company which he likes and which he can advance through his strengths; he thus has the opportunity to develop permanently and according to his inclinations.

2. thinking and acting for the long term
The relationship between companies and their employees, customers and partners is sustainable and long-term, so that new ideas can be given the appropriate space.

3. exploit the power of small teams
Project work preferably takes place in small, capable teams that organise themselves. This promotes a sense of responsibility and commitment on the part of employees.

4. all working towards the same goal
Even companies that are made up of different departments should see themselves as a unit and communicate this to their employees in the same way. The fact that each individual is just as important as the others and everyone is in the same boat avoids competitive thinking among colleagues and increases the appreciation of each employee.

5. direct communication
Probably the most important aspect in a grid structure without a hierarchy is the constant and direct communication among each other: Every employee should know about the strengths and abilities of his colleagues.

Additional note: The following aspects destroy any culture of innovation
- emotionlessness
- Missing fault tolerance
- Hierarchies and power imbalances
- Singularity within the workforce
- Poor communication
- withholding of information
- No interest in the areas outside of one's own
- Individual offices and closed doors in the office building
- Strong safety thinking
- Oversized control
  • Effective for all innovation types
  • Effective for disruptive innovations
  • Effective for highly complex challenges
  • Effective for incremental innovations and improvements
  • Effective for low complex challenges
  • Effective for medium complex challenges
  • Effective for radical innovations
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