Did you ever ask yourself why honeycombs look the way they do? Or why birds fly in a V-formation? What is nature's background for doing things this way and not differently?
In a Ted Talk by Arndt Pechstein, you can find out more about how great innovations where created with nature as the inspiration.
Marine biologist Frank Fish for example got inspired by the flippers of humpback whales.
The method of understanding creations, systems and processes of nature and adopting them to create new products is called Biomimicry. It's not only used as an inspiration to create products but also in other areas like process or service development.
Moreover, we don't directly copy what inspires us to solve today's problems - we only use an abstract solution of what we see in nature.
This is why ant colonies served as an inspiration to help smoothen future traffic. Another impressive example is a beetle that lives in the desert and ingests water by absorbing it from foggy air through its back. When we start applying these kinds of habits and solutions to entire systems we can get very valuable input from nature.
So next time you are working on a complex problem and need to get some inspiration for valuable ideas: why don't you open the door and go outside, take a walk in the forest or find inspiration in a biology book? Who knows - maybe you will find exactly what you are looking for!
During the Basic Track, every single participant has the chance to gain experience in project work, gets better in doing interviews, learns how and when to iterate and more.
In short: we all get prepared for what could happen in projects later on.
During our project work one coach accompanies a team to help when needed, but still gives us the freedom to work on the challenges that occur in a project as a team.
Today I want to tell you a bit more about the D-School days. I'd like to talk about one specific day, the prototyping festival:
After our workshop session all participants of the Basic Track came together to present what they created to the others - a mix of big and small prototypes, little video clips, role plays and more.
As a next step we will test our prototypes with the target users and collect feedback in order to iterate on and improve our product.
As you can see studying at the HPI in Potsdam never gets boring and I learn something new here every day - something about team work, about design thinking or how to build an interactive prototype with a Teensy board.
This article was written by Coleen Dannroth
Read the full article in German here.
you feel safe you are much more willing to take risks, knowing a team that supports you is behind your back.
To create this feeling of safety body language is really important. Keep eye contact with your teammates, be present and smile - by doing this you can change a lot.
Turn negative environments into positive vibes
There will always be a point in the project, where a team member is disappointed or filled with negative vibes. Listen to what the person has to say and react with warmth. Therefore, shift the negative vibes into positive ones to give a feeling of a safe and positive environment.
Involve the rest of the team members
In a functioning team work you can’t spot any hierarchies. So don’t try to be a leader, delegating as much as you can and allocating tasks to everybody.
Instead, speak to your team members, by asking them if they are comfortable with past decisions and the current situation. Be interested in the opinions of others, you will notice how this will raise productivity of the team.
Everyone in your team has specific skills. Trust in them and don’t try to speak up in every task.
Our team of Mindshift.One has noticed that allocating specific roles realy helps in terms of productivity. Try to find out what roles you will need within the project, allocate those roles to the different team members and make them visible.
In the past we had a moderator, note taker and time taker in our team, as well as someone who is responsible for good vibes.
Next to the just mentioned topics on positive teamwork there is a lot more that you can do. What is your best practice for team work?
If you are interested in teambuilding and would like to read more about it we can recommend this book.
To read the full article in German, click here.
Traditional ways of communication are limited to in-house interactions. Yet, crowdsourcing is like a hive-mind though, opening up to a larger workforce with diverse sets of skills and backgrounds. Crowdsourcing is the way to shape your company’s future towards the right direction.
Here’s how the innovation of crowdsourcing will change digital interactions for you and your company.
Social Media Collaboration
Companies need to proactively engage with their audience to keep their services or products relevant to the market. The internet is bringing relationships between companies and their consumers closer together. Since social media efforts are mostly instant, it allows companies access to information from a wide audience in a cheaper and faster way. The quicker information is received, the quicker companies can interpret and react on it.
Benefits of crowdsourcing don’t end at the business front. Connectivity through crowdsourcing allows consumers to share and collaborate knowledge with their peers as well. With the ability to communicate with potential and current consumers, information and answers can be relayed back quickly. This allows the consumers to get involved on their own volition.
In fact, many businesses are taking advantage of this type of opportunity by providing their own online platforms on their websites. However, it is imperative that the platform created has the user experience in mind. A good UI design, coupled with app design and development, increases the likeability of online interactions. If the social collaboration platform you choose is not easily accessible or has a confusing interface, ideas may not get shared effectively, and the crowd won’t come back.
Not only can you use outside crowds to collaborate on new ideas, but you can also tap into the collective insights of your own employees. Crowdsourcing platforms within your company promote communication growth and drive cultural change. Rather than the traditional one-on-one meeting environment, digital interactions encourage employees to weigh in on different topics and discussions. Leaders can push ideas and concepts forward while getting the input from the entire team. Platforms allow continuous collaboration across business units and transparency throughout the intire innovation process.
Following you find 3 tips how to boost your open innovation platform:
You want to learn more about Crowdsourcing? Click here.
surveys, the “heart” approach. The truth is you need both.
The Head And The Heart
Don’t get us wrong: Data has its use. When working on innovation, it makes sense to sit down with the data you have and look at what it might be telling you. Who your customers are, what products have sold the most, which products tend to bring in new customers, and the effectiveness of promoting different features of a product are all worth considering.
That said, data has a host of problems. You don’t have a perfect sample of your industry, for example—just the customers who’ve come to your company. If you’re trying to break into a new market, historical data won’t tell you anything.
And it’s far too easy to mistake historical trends for the future. Energy is a perfect example. When energy prices were deregulated in the 1980s, it was assumed that coal would remain the cheapest form of energy for decades. But the invention of hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, drove the price of natural gas well below that of coal. To add insult to injury, government agencies using historical data severely underestimated both the infrastructure and per-kilowatt cost of renewable energy, in particular failing to anticipate that they were technologies, which always get cheaper over time.
Balancing Head And Heart
Conversely, anyone who’s dealt with self-reporting surveys can tell you that the painful truth is that customers don’t tell you everything. This can be for any number of reasons; for example, if a product is of a deeply personal or intimate nature, like certain forms of medicine, people are sometimes just too embarrassed to tell you the whole truth. Even when customers are generally honest, though, you’re still speaking only to customers who are highly motivated to share their ideas. How much of your customer base are you really getting data from?
The solution is to balance what customers tell you with what the data says, and not let one override the other. This is particularly true when customer data and customer surveys contradict each other. Let’s say for example that customers tell you they’d like a particular feature on a product, but your competitors introduced that feature and it flopped. There are a few answers here: Perhaps, it’s a feature that’s strongly desired only by a small subset of customers, and the majority are uninterested. Or there was a drawback to the feature that wasn’t obvious at first. It might even be a matter of poor marketing. But it’s a question you have to find an answer to.
If you want to learn more about research in projects, we highly recommend the online course „Basics of Design Research“ on OpenSAP, which is free for everyone.
For working material and more information you can have a look at our download center on Mindshift.One.
You are interested in a training at your location in Germany or in our workshop space in Mannheim? Mindshift.One offers workshops from 1-3 days. Here you can find more information.
A great deal of thought has been given to office design. Company leaders are constantly trying to create a workplace that improves employee happiness, productivity, and creativity. To add fuel to that fire, in a survey of over 2,500 U.S. professionals, “Eighty-two percent of participants said that a workplace must exhibit innovative design in order to truly foster a culture of innovation where they can do their best thinking.” In that same survey the three most requested attributes of a workplace hospitable to creativity were natural light, creative imagery, and reconfigurable spaces with varied furniture.
In short, your cubicle with standard issue rolling chair isn’t going to cut it anymore. So what are some examples of workplaces that are delivering on a great workplace environment?
Lack of Time for Innovation
This was the major barrier for most of our customers. This usually means that innovation goals are not a dedicated practice, but something that employees are expected to do in addition to their other existing responsibilities. Making space for experimental activities can have enormously positive consequences for new ideas – most famously Google’s 20% rule (employees spend 80% of their time on the job they were hired for but have freedom to spend 20% of their time on any other project they want) – after all gmail was a 20% time project originally. Can you make innovation someone’s dedicated role and can you give other employees more flexibility in their job description?
No Support from Senior Management for New Ideas
A passion for new ideas and a tolerance for risk starts at the top. Does senior leadership reward new bets and do they celebrate lessons learned from ideas that fail to launch? If you’ve got an innovation program at your company, but no one associates it with the company leadership it’s unlikely to be seen as a company mandate. So when you launch a program, make sure that your CEO or other leaders are part of your messaging strategy.
No Process for Managing Ideas and Testing Concepts
Maybe your leadership is totally bought in, maybe your team has the freedom to test and share new concepts… but if there’s no process to actually do so, it’s unlikely that those ideas will make it to launch. Fortunately, this is one of the easiest problems to solve. If you have some team members dedicated to continuous innovation, they can start by architecting an initial process and then iterate and improve that process over time.
No surprise that a lack of budget would be a barrier for innovation. New ideas need resources. If you’re not finding some room in the budget to prototype and learn, you’re not likely to keep pace with the changing market. We often recommend to our customers that they look for process improvement innovations that will save money first and then re-investing that savings into more experimental concepts in the next round.
Millennials expect a digital environment
In other words, if you want a millennial to know about it, it’s got to be available online somewhere. So if you’re expecting them to share and build ideas, there has to be an online suggestion box for them to do so.
Millennials love transparency
Millennials know the power of their own voice and they want to hear the voices of others. Instead of making decisions behind closed doors, find ways to communicate publicly. This might be an expectation that has been set by social media, but it also allows for more collaboration and force multiplication of support and resources.
Millennials don’t want to be put in a box.
If, in the past, employees were defined by their job description – millennials instead prefer for their job to defined their purpose. That means even if they work in marketing, they’d like the freedom to help folks in product, operations, and beyond. The barriers between departments are dissolving and that is allowing for more collaboration and diversity.
Millennials love the ability to move fast.
It’s not that they want to change everything. They want to test concepts and iterate – take what works and leave what’s already working as it is. So don’t change everything today, but try new ideas as soon as possible and then learn from them.
So how are you empowering millennial ideation at your organization?