Idea Engineering


Idea Engineering is the name we have given to our approach to generating and evaluating ideas. It was conceived in 2004 when Jana Görs, René Chelvier and Graham Horton, two students and a professor at Magdeburg University, started to investigate what are commonly called “Creativity Techniques”. While still just a university research project, we tested various methods in projects with clients that included BMW, REWE and Navteq. The first result of our investigations was that although well over a hundred creativity techniques that have been published, they are all based on just a handful of common principles.

Zephram is Founded

Because the results of our experiments were so promising, we decided to found the company Zephram as soon as Jana and René had completed their Master’s degrees. Our first two clients were Microsoft and Siemens. For the first two years, Zephram was housed in the university, before we moved into our own offices in a converted grain warehouse in Magdeburg’s old commercial harbour.

Research and Teaching

Through our close association with the University of Magdeburg, we have continued our research into idea generation and evaluation. Our most recent work has been concerned with methods for the efficient selection of raw ideas, for which we won a Best Paper Award in January 2016.

We have also taught an Idea Engineering course at the university continuously since 2005, and more than 500 students have learned about professional idea generation and evaluation.

Application in Client Projects

We apply the methods and techniques of Idea Engineering in our workshops. We have used them to help our clients produce ideas for patents, new products and services, servitization, diversification, process optimization, business models and many other types of innovation project.

We also offer seminars on some of the typical applications of Idea Engineering such as product innovation and process optimization. These help our clients to improve their ability to facilitate and manage the innovation process in their own organisations.