The Innovation Collider – series of workshops over 2-6 months
Creative collisions to drive change and innovation
So often senior-level ‘innovation training’ focuses on a single layer of management (often just below board level). It challenges these people to shoulder the responsibility of changing the culture of the business with an “entrepreneurial mindset” while the board, and the rest of the business look on expectantly. Not surprisingly, this often fails. But why? Because:
- Managers reporting into board are some of the most-time poor in the business
- They are asked to take risks in a (often) risk-averse environment which persists in valuing business-as-usual over new ideas
- They are mostly long-serving veterans who, not surprisingly, struggle to see the businesses world with a fresh perspective
Dr Jules Goddard and Greg Orme two globally renowned leadership thinkers have taken a very different approach to the challenge of fostering business innovation. Working with Illustra they have designed a unique virtual program to bring about cross-generation, cross-function, cross-silo collaboration that leads to sustainable innovation.
The program enables cohorts of 12 – 60 people from across the organization to come together in a virtual environment where they are divided into 6-person innovation teams. These virtual teams are guided by Jules and Greg along an action learning innovation journey that last from 3 – 6 months. During that time, they explore different aspects of innovation and the development of innovation cultures at the same time as they conduct experiments on real life issues that lead to significant innovations for their organization. During the program, Jules and Greg leverage two elements that are critical to promoting innovative and creative thinking; diversity and experimentation.
The program brings together participants from diverse locations across the organization: from board level to the newest intake. Jules and Greg recommend including a minimum of two ‘layers’ of the management structure along with front line and support functions, and people from multiple departments and business units. Research proves diversity promotes creativity and innovation. And the opposite, leads to ‘Group Think’ which impairs the ability to adapt.
A diverse group brings the real business issues “into the room”: both obstacles and unconverted opportunities. The group is given the support, the insights and the tools to experiment. In the long run these multidiscipline cross generational teams form innovation ‘hotspots’ for the business which continue long after the program is complete.
Entrepreneurs think big, start small, and learn quickly. The process of experimentation that forms the backbone of the “Innovation Collider” introduces that ‘start-up’ culture and mindset into your business. A business experiment is a rigorous process to discover the way forward, to test a hypothesis, and to learn. Experiments allow people and businesses to keep pace with an accelerating world. They allow powerful learning with minimum risk. The experimentation process used during this program has its intellectual roots in Design Thinking and the Lean Start-Up approaches pioneered in Silicon Valley.
A catalyst for change and innovation
The “Innovation Collider” provides three levels of learning – emotional, cognitive and experiential:
- Emotional: The program is a strong signal of intent from the organisation. Participants are inspired, energised and connected to the organisational purpose – and the importance of their catalyst role.
- Cognitive: Participants will become skilled collaborators able to creatively empathise with the needs of colleagues and customers. They will better understand and counteract the distorting effects of cognitive bias. They will work within a rigorous innovation framework built around a 5-step process. This process has been extensively road-tested by Greg and Jules and has its intellectual roots in Design Thinking and the Lean Start-Up approaches pioneered in Silicon Valley.
- Experiential: Participants will work in a creative, self-lead team. A key deliverable for each team will be to present an innovative solution for a real-life challenge/opportunity. This programme literally “makes innovation happen”. It models entrepreneurial behaviour – and encourages cultural contagion across the business.
An action learning journey
The Innovation Collider utilizes the flexibilities of scheduling made possible by live virtual technologies to take teams of participants on powerful action learning journeys that can have a profound impact on the organization.
Key features that distinguish this approach to innovation training
What separates us is not our aims – they all come to the same thing – but our methods which are the fruit of our varied reasoning.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- FOCUS: Not time take away from the business, but time invested more productively in the business
- DIVERSITY: Not a thin horizontal layer of participating executives but a diagonal slice through the business
- MINDSET: Not expensive projects, but fast experiments
- PRAGMATISM: Not intentions, but insights
- ACTION: Not “this is what the company should do …” but “this is what we tried out, this is what we found”
- METHOD: Not focussing on visions and goals, but on methods and assumptions
- INTERACTION: Not instruction, but creative conversations to develop behaviour
The Innovation Collider can be fully adapted to each client’s specific business needs. A ‘standard’ intervention would be based on a minimum of four virtual modules, combined with team-based, action learning. It facilitates of 12 to 24 people (in 6-person Experiment Teams) over 3 to 6 months. Larger interventions can be facilitated with cohorts of up to 60 participants in any one program.
Dr Jules Goddard
MA (Oxford) MBA (Wharton) PhD (London)
Fellow of London Business School; Member of the Academic Committee of CEDEP at INSEAD.
Formerly, Gresham Professor of Commerce at the City University; Visiting Professor, École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, Paris; Unilever Distinguished Scholar, AGSM, University of New South Wales. Author of “Uncommon Sense, Common Nonsense” (Profile), shortlisted for “Best Management Book of the Year 2012”, by the Chartered Management Institute.
Author of “The Fatal Bias”, winner of “Best Management Article of the Year 2013”; Winner of the EFMD Award for Excellence for Designing, Delivering and Directing the “Leading Edge Programme” for Danone (2004-2014). Creator of Strategy, Innovation and Leadership Programmes for a wide variety of global companies, including Rolls- Royce, Roche, Rio Tinto, Vinci, Prudential, Microsoft, BG Group and Hewlett-Packard.
MBA (London Business School)
Globally-renown leadership and innovation specialist,author, speaker and management coach.
Associate Executive Education Program Director at London Business School. Formerly Chief Executive of the Centre for Creative Business at London Business School. Author of the critically-acclaimed “The Spark – How to Ignite and Lead Business Creativity” (FT Publishing, 2014)
Creator of Organizational Change, Innovation and Leadership Programmes for a wide variety of global companies, including Sky, Ogilvy & Mather, eBay, the International Olympic Committee , The World Economic Forum, Kantar Group, Aardman Animation, Arcadia Group, Randstad Group, Virgin Media, Faurecia Group, the Young Presidents’ .