Innovation dies...with middle managers. It doesn't matter that 'innovation' is in the mission statement or that you hire the most creative people if your directors and managers don't know how to support and integrate change.
We built a training program, but not a classroom, projector, lecture, snooze reel. We gave our participants real innovation challenges. They built real solutions that they implemented in their departments. One group built a sponsor-backed internet service bus for disaster response scenarios, building brand, profit, and social impact all at once. One participant had the idea of assembling the reportings of the whole training cohort of directors into a single dashboard, which not only got greenlit, but streamlined. They were using it before the next quarterly meeting.
Our program ultimately produced a 2,000% return on investment, while giving directors the skills and attitudes needed to foster innovation in their departments. The program added a new cohort each year, enlisting the previous cohort to mentored the new one, and cultivating a culture of innovation over the years.
Design Thinking Innovation Tournament
A fully immersive learning experience in a gorgeous city is both reward and challenge for our top talent group. Identified as high potentials, these young managers will some day lead their organization.
This learning experience was cocreated by Innovation Bound, and three other extraordinary training firms. The first two days were dedicated to strategy and research. This was followed by a three-day business case building challenge, and topped off with a collaborative design session.
Participants formed teams and raced through review panels and working sessions. They generated breakthrough ideas, composed financial models, and pitched their ideas to their directors. They received critical feedback, struggled and shined through leadership and teamwork interventions, and learned more about how to innovate in their organization in six days than they thought possible.
In the end, teams were granted seed funding to move their innovation projects forward, and even before the program had ended, two teams held meetings with prestigious potential clients.
This project was an adventure and a success; a true microcosm of what it takes to innovate.Learn about Innovation Tournaments
Pandemic Planning for a Global Food Distributor
In 2009 the H1N1 virus was breaking out, and our client had 400+ locations worldwide they needed to prepare against the coming pandemic.
They needed to be able to understand a vast and rapidly changing set of variables. Decisions had to be made quickly with no room for error, because human life could be in danger.
We lead a team of disease experts, doctors, risk managers, and software engineers to develop a real time responsive pandemic planning system that could be retooled for a different disease, or a different enterprise.
Often times innovators are called upon not just to build new things, but to protect against crisis and disaster.
Award-Winning Innovation Training
Leadership development programs at Fortune 500's can be massive. Our client hired us to design the innovation component of their leadership development program. We crafted innovation training for each level of leadership from top to bottom.
Training top talent is ultimately an act of stewardship. The future CEO of the company is in the room, and she has the potential to do incredible things. The learning architecture we built took into account the career evolution of these high potentials, and the intricacies of innovation at our client's organization.
With the COO's blessing, and a CorpU award for our collaboration, the training program has been thriving for five years and counting.
Escape the Meeting
Our client had been observing problems with teamwork for some time. Teams had gotten stuck at various stages in the problem solving process, people in teams became negative with teammates at times, and teams even broke down.
We created a unique teamwork simulation that asked participants to 'Escape the Meeting' (an adaptation of the popular Escape Room trend) to reveal the critical sticking points. Because the simulation we created was playful, participants dropped their guard and showed their natural problem solving style, which, as it happens, would clash with their teammates style at predictable points.
As with all learning, participants were invited to reflect on their experience and the transformations in perspective began to materialize. This allowed for real and lasting change in teamwork skills and behavior.Learn about Escape The Meeting
Rethinking the Search for Life Beyond Earth
A Knowinnovation Project
How do you find something when you don't know what it looks like or what it's made of? This is part of the mystery of searching for life beyond the Earth, and an essential step in answering one of the oldest questions in history: Are we alone in the universe?
We worked with a group of NASA scientists to think beyond the current boundaries and current approaches to biosignatures.Learn about Astrobiology at NASA
Tailor Innovation to Local Cultures Around the Globe
An innovation team in the US segment of a Fortune 500 company had crafted an innovation system, and having tuned it to work efficiently in the US, took it to their international hubs. As you may have predicted, the system broke down.
Several of our trainers have lived and worked in multiple countries, and have done original research on the psychology of human creativity. We worked with our client to scaffold their innovation system to account for, and often benefit from, cultural differences in approaches to creative problem solving.
Do You Speak Innovation?
Our client hired the top academic experts in innovation to train their executives. After a rigorous and dense review of the literature, a sleepy C suite returned to their usual day-to-day activities unaffected.
Innovation is not complex. People are naturally creative, and organizations are begging their people to innovate, but when employees are told, "Go Innovate!" they don't know what that means or how to act on it.
We worked with our client to create their own language of innovation, which was rolled out to all levels of leadership. Over the three years of our engagement there was a tangible and dynamic change in the organization's culture. In our experience we have never seen a culture of innovation so strong develop so quickly. We are very proud of our client.
Transforming Transportation in Nicosia
A Knowinnovation Project
The city of Nicosia has a rich and turbulent history. It was the copper mining center of the ancient world, and became a fortified Venetian stronghold in the middle ages. Today it faces the challenges of being car centric with underdeveloped mass transit and having its citizens divided along a UN buffer zone.
Our workshop brought together a diverse group of government officials, municipality staff, academics, architects, and engineers to explore the challenges of the transportation system and to compose a series of policy and urban development recommendations.Learn about Nicosia Transport
Creativity Skills in Banking
It's 2015 and financial services organizations are beginning to see their own reflection in the glass of the bullet train of disruption headed there way. It's a harsh metaphor, but it might not even come close to emphasizing just how much can change for the financial services industry.
A group of forward-thinking managers and their VP set out to learn what creativity and innovation skills can do to help them heed those changes, or become leaders in disruptive change. As part of their effort, they hired us to run a half-day in-person training on CPS (Creative Problem Solving) skills, and six weekly webinars to follow.
Transformations in Development Banking
An Inclusive Innovation Project
How does investment drive impact in economic development? In this project our team designed and facilitated a dynamic all-hands meeting, followed by a hackathon, to help the innovation group inside of a development bank answer this question. The meeting included people from all levels of the organization, and was facilitated in English and Spanish. Participants identified core challenges, delved into their core competencies and took a good hard look at their culture. They crafted strategy, began to make major shifts in their culture and demonstrated beautifully the key characteristics of a high-functioning team.
Storytelling Webcasts for Tech Marketers
Storytelling is one of the oldest art forms, and in this project we used it to improve the sales performance of a large tech firm's North America regional team. We utilized immersive webcasts, easy-to-use templates, and a little bit of friendly competition to turn the sales team into expert storytellers and improve the effectiveness of their engagement with clients.
A Knowinnovation Project
EarthCube is a collaboration between the National Science Foundation and Earth, atmosphere, ocean, computer, information, and social scientists, educators, data managers, and more. EarthCube aims to transform the conduct of research through the development of community-guided cyberinfrastructure to integrate information and data across the geosciences. We designed and facilitated three conferences for the EarthCube community of scientists in it's early phases.Learn about EarthCube
Innovative Ideas for Smallholder Farmers
An Inclusive Innovation Project
Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation is a USAID-funded program that spurs private sector investment in disseminating new technologies in developing countries to help smallholder farmers build profitable, sustainable businesses. We designed and facilitated a workshop to help accelerate innovative efforts within the program.