At the simplest level a tool is something which helps get a job done — but it is not a substitute for the person doing the job. It can be extremely simple — a back of the envelope checklist of questions to ask — or it can be a formally structured, computer based aid to analysis. But in essence it is still something which can be used to help get something done.
We can apply such tools to the problems of helping with innovation and design in companies.
There are thousands of tools available — from simple well-known and widely used techniques like ‘brainstorming’ or checklists through to more specialised examples. And tools are increasingly bundled up into integrated sites which can be targeted at a particular problem area — for example, the process of identifying and developing new products.
Some tools are useful for the diagnosis and analysis end of things — helping clarify and focus information on what has to be done. And other tools are more concerned with implementation, helping to make things happen or to monitor and control what happens.