Methodology

The Collaboritive Innovation Workshop

Our proven methodology to generate innovative solutions and alignment on technical objectives

Experienced innovators from Lockheed’s famous Skunk Works to Texas Instruments’ Fabscape Team know that the most effective way to innovate in a rapidly developing field—like resource efficiency—is to challenge a diverse group of bright thinkers to tackle a difficult problem in a focused effort outside of their normal daily routine. Point380 has developed a methodology we call a Collaborative Innovation Workshop, or CIW that creates an innovation environment that follows this dictum. Its roots go back to 2001 when Jason Denner and his team developed the core of the CIW process at Rocky Mountain Institute. Since then we've conducted successful CIWs on a wide variety of technical and organizational problems for corporations, industrial facilities, electric utilities, government agencies, cleantech startups, and for solar and automotive industry consortiums.

CIW participants are convened at a venue with a minimum of the normal workplace distractions where they are guided by expert facilitators through a LEARN-THINK-DO structured creative-thinking process. The LEARN phase begins with a presentation of background research and analytics developed especially for the project or problem to be addressed. Often external experts from academia and industry are invited to present cutting-edge research or novel solutions from parallel fields to open up participants' thinking. The LEARN section culminates in a discussion that aligns all participants on a common desired end result. In the THINK phase participants are divided into small work teams focused on brainstorming ideas to address critical aspects of the project or problem. This roundtable forum provides an opportunity for creative thinking that might not arise in a traditional workplace or conference environment. Teams work with each other to cross-link and build upon initial brainstorming, then filter and refine ideas through discussions, on the fly modeling, and cost-estimation. Through this process sets of ideas rapidly coalesce into concise and clear project concepts. Participants begin to put project plans into action in the DO section of the CIW, beginning with a presentation of project ideas to a team of upper managers or outside experts for constructive feedback. The remainder of the time is typically reserved for small group meetings to develop action plans and next steps for the projects identified. This process naturally generates project ‘champions’ helping to ensure that momentum is maintained following the CIW.

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