How can we help?
We have successfully used our Roadmapping approach to develop Roadmaps, innovation programmes, and research strategies alike, working with KTNs, global businesses and diverse cross-sector groups.
Our distinctive approach combines: effective stakeholder engagement; using Brain-Pool workshops to support the process; experience in catalysing structures and capabilities for Networking; the use of clear visualisations to create a shared view of the roadmap and value chains; promoting creative thinking, articulating and assessing opportunities thoroughly; and broad experience in strategy work.
We are well-equipped to develop and apply tools to make innovation happen. Our tools and approaches are highly relevant to KTNs and Innovation Platforms. Uniquely, we integrate the creative and systematic approaches that often inhabit 'different camps' in organisations. For example, we used Brain-Pool Workshops to enable staff from design, technology, marketing and packaging functions within a global consumer products company to co-create novel product concepts which would exploit new technologies. We also enabled the NI Food Strategy Partnership, and its stakeholders, to co-create 'Innovation Programmes' to deliver 'Visions for the Agri-Food Sector in 2020'. Our work with participants to articulate and distil rounded 'innovation statements' for systematic deliberation has been particularly useful in driving forward the innovation process.
Our support extends well beyond the provision of 'general innovation management tools'. We stress the importance of 'market pull' as much as 'technology push'. The key challenge is to distil clear technology requirements for innovation projects from market and customer needs. Our Brain-Pool Workshops, which bring together the relevant stakeholders to deliberate on these requirements, precisely meet that challenge. The output is a clear and unequivocal brief which those seeking to commercialise innovation can use to explore external sources of technology.
From our experience in KE, we know that making Networks effective presents a real challenge. We are uniquely qualified as the catalyst to make Knowledge Exchange happen. For example, we have designed, kick-started, and animated four technology Networks for a global biosciences company. These have enabled staff from diverse functions spread across a dozen sites in Europe, NAFTA, and APAC to collaborate more effectively. We have also trained staff to use Networking tools and improve their personal skills. One off-shoot was an intensive project (using a Brain-Pool Workshop) to review the lessons learned from new product development projects, and then to develop, transfer and embed a new framework to promote good practice in risk management.
Our highly innovative workshops 'break the mould' - contrasting sharply with the traditional 'talking heads, flip charts and post-it notes'. Our use of special technology enables collaborative interaction and building of ideas 'on screen'. Everyone gets a fair and equal opportunity to contribute their views - anonymously. As a result, the Workshops deliver a vast improvement in productivity and knowledge capture. Our distillation and assessment techniques enable participants to obtain clear outcomes for later refinement. Our service covers design, facilitation, analysis and reporting.
Knowledge Exchange Training and Toolkits
We provide specialist training to develop skills which are critical to successful innovation - yet scarce:
- Operating effectively in networks.
- Mapping technology (and knowledge) in individual organisations and networks.
- Identifying and acting on opportunities for collaboration.
- Defining the precise role of the 'catalyst' person charged with technology transfer.
We do not provide training on more generic issues (e.g. sources of funding for ventures and management of IP in collaborations), as this is readily available from other providers.
Our model for stakeholder engagement emphasises developing new knowledge and forging tangible collaboration. We focus on 'learning' rather than 'persuasion', recognising that those leading the engagement, and those targeted by it, will both gain through dialogue. We have successfully deployed this approach with diverse stakeholder groups:
- Functions within a global company.
- Communities working to influence future research.
- The general public interested in farming and food policy.
- Scientists and innovators involved in creating technology Roadmaps.
For example, we designed, facilitated, analysed and reported six Brain-Pool Workshops for Defra to generate research priorities in Sustainable Farming and Food. Over 200 participants from 125 organisations generated 800 discrete ideas, which we then distilled down to 200 research statements for the Priorities Group to consider. We also engaged the public in debates on the same theme.