What is Dual Thinking

Dual Thinking is a research-based new approach to innovation. This innovation process developed by iQudo® integrates the passion of the developer, the needs and wants of users, and the possibilities of technology to find creative solutions.

Why We Need a New Approach to Innovation

Today, employee experience is as crucial as user experience. Unlike former generations, millennials search for meaning. Especially when it comes to innovation, meaning and passion are driving forces. Therefore, the new iQudo® Dual Thinking Innovation Process focuses on empathy AND passion to not only please users but as well the guys who do the hard work.

The idea behind Dual Thinking is to think like a start-up entrepreneur while working within a large organization. Dual Thinking fosters intrapreneurship.

The science behind Dual Thinking

Over a period of 6 years, we interviewed over 1.500 people in Germany and the United States about what drives their creativity on the job. The stunning results have been published among others in Harvard Business Manager (01/2016).

In our latest iQudo Ideation Survey (2016) we found that 37 percent of the 152 engineers at the Mercedes-Benz Technology Center in Sindelfingen (Germany) had their best ideas on the job. To our surprise, we found that PASSION is the #1 reason for on-the-job creativity. What further drove their resourcefulness was the inspiration between the co-workers, plus the fact that creativity was required. Time, on the other hand, only played a minor role.

The survey results show that for innovation to thrive we need to dig deep into what motivates people to go to work every day, foster collaborative relationships and demand creativity.








People having their best ideas at work

56 engineers
Group B / Job-Inspired

People NOT having their best ideas at work

96 Engineers
Group A / Job-Uninspired

The Evolution of Dual Thinking

We have identified three types of innovation approaches:

Innovation out of Passion seeks the solution to a problem in the wants of the developer. At the center of this approach is self-realization. Over the last century, innovation has always been driven by passion. Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla or Albert Einstein were intrinsically motivated to discover the new. Einstein once said "I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." Criticism: in the digital age, this self-centered focus is prone to not meeting the user's needs.

Design Thinking provides a solution through understanding and observing the user. How a person is using a product or service, is fundamental. The key characteristic is Empathy. Great examples for applied Design Thinking are websites like Airbnb or Amazon. Criticism: This one-sided focus on the user perspective carries with it the danger of not following one's own intrinsic motivation to curiously search and experiment.

Dual Thinking seeks a solution based on the developer's desires as well as the wants and needs of the user. Dual Thinking combines two characteristics: Passion and Empathy. Therefore, a great idea is to be found in the space between the developer and the user. The Dyson innovation approach, for example, is to take a given product like the vacuum cleaner and revolutionize its technology, which is a dream come true for any engineer. Second, Dyson closely observes how consumers utilize the product and therefore come up with a new technology to better the user experience. This two-sided approach increases job- and customer satisfaction.


Fig: Three Types of Innovation Approaches

Dual Thinking from a Creative's Perspective

When I was working in creative industries, I almost always had to follow the client's wishes. Hardly anyone was interested in what I wanted. I had to deliver, period. As stress was high and happy hormones were low, I eventually lost my mojo. I remember once I had to work for the Rolling Stones. My job was to create a print campaign for a Telecom company who did sponsor them. I thought this is the chance of a lifetime. But, low and behold, my freedom to create was close to zero. Honestly, it wasn't such a great working experience. On the other hand, whenever someone trusted in my creativity, I was amped up, happy as I possibly could be and driven to deliver great work.

Today, being a creativity coach, I believe there are two sides that should be considered when it comes to creating. The client's and the developer's view. That's why I invented the Dual Thinking Innovation Process. The idea behind Dual Thinking is: a great idea is to be found in the space between the client and the creator. If both wants and needs are met, both of them are happy and love to continue working with each other. It's like in any relationship, isn't it?


Robert Gerlach / Creativity Coach / Developer of Dual Thinking

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