The 2013 Front End of Innovation (FEI) conference was held in Boston this week. Transcending the typical conference model, the gathering challenged innovation thought leaders, experts, and practitioners to pursue bold new practices and more meaningful collaboration. The buzz included thought leaders presenting new theories, vendors demonstrating inspired collaboration platforms, and practitioners sharing learnings. The highlight of the conference, titled “Connect Meaningfully Through a Challenge,” brought all aspects together as teams of cross-industry attendees joined forces over the three day session to accelerate the innovation process and create real deliverables.
The engaging exercise, sponsored by Seek Company, InnoCentive, and digital agency R/GA, tasked supercharged teams of diverse thinkers and innovation leaders with generating big innovation process ideas that holistically address typical organizational barriers including culture, design, systems, and time. InnoCentive, who has spent over a decade perfecting the Challenge Driven Innovation methodology, coupled well with Seek, whose insight-driven approach begins with human behavioral understanding and empathetic engagement.
The result was a fresh, unique methodology that allowed participants to rapidly collaborate while maximizing the benefits of their varying backgrounds and experience. The process was brought to life in four sessions:
Step 1: Defining the challenge – Identifying key barriers to each innovation conundrum (culture, system, design, and time)
Step 2: Generating unique ideas – Ideating against each of the identified barriers
Step 3: Integrating solutions – Constructing total solutions that address all four barriers
Step 4: Evaluation – Submitting and presenting the solutions to a judging panel
Once the sessions were completed, an expert panel began evaluations focused on four criteria – winning solutions needed to be integrated, applicable, inspiring, and novel. Again the InnoCentive methodology, which defines specific success criteria up front, helped ensure that proposed solutions were relevant and actionable. The winning team presented a solution called “See It! Say It!,” a visionary mobile phone app that allows anyone in the organization to capture and share new innovation opportunities in real-time, including visuals such as pictures and video.
Straddling the line between power networking and collaborative workshop, this exercise was just the buzz that FEI 2013 needed. As has been the case for a decade, InnoCentive was thrilled to co-sponsor the event and share best practices. The benefit of unique collaboration was not exclusive to workshop participants, either. Coming out of the conference Seek, InnoCentive, and R/GA all learned from each other’s unique approaches, which will translate into producing even more meaningful results for their respective clients in 2013 and beyond.
Authored by Eric Seibold, Director of Innovation Expansion, InnoCentive