Our client wanted to give a group of graduates an overview of the challenges of innovation in corporate life, and to help them understand some useful approaches to maintain a high level of focus on innovation in their work. Innovation is the lifeblood of business.
Without innovation, a business becomes stale, outdated and irrelevant to consumers. Businesses must keep a constant focus on innovating product, service and operations in order to grow and outperform competitors.
There are a number of blockers common to big businesses:
Our workshop began by outlining why innovation is so important, and giving a brief overview of the various types of innovation, such as incremental and radical innovation, process innovations and service Innovations.
We then looked at where innovation comes from, including an overview of the creative thinking process. We outlined some definitions from the book “The Innovator’s DNA”.
The authors of The Innovator’s DNA interviewed 25 top businessmen including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos & P&G’s AG Lafley, as well as 3000 executives with responsibility for innovation.
The results of this research provides a useful rundown of the necessary skills for innovating within organisations:
We then discussed some common opportunities for innovation, including customer journey mapping, looking at extreme / power users, and examining frustrations and desire paths. Participants were asked to choose an approach and try applying it to the company’s products and services.
Similarly, we looked at some more sources of innovation, including competitors, similar industries, and different markets & countries.
After a lively group discussion participants chose an approach to try working on in more depth.
We then introduced three briefs specific to the client’s business, inviting participants to “disrupt themselves” by coming up with radical innovations to tackle real problems relevant to the company.
We closed the workshop by helping participants create plans for making it happen: defining an approach they would take personally to focus on innovation in their roles going forward.
We provided a summary of the workshop’s content and recommendations, plus an innovation toolkit to each participant.
From the client sponsor: "One participant described himself as “not very creative” but went on to say that he was able to generate some good ideas. Probably the main piece of feedback is that the participants are really revved up for the Innovation challenge and using the techniques you taught them to tackle it.”