Innovation Workshops

As the external landscape becomes more complex and competitive all organisations are looking for innovation in their products, services and policy development. Successful innovation demands collaboration between many different disciplines, those involved in development & delivery and end-users of the innovation. Workshops provide an ideal way to achieve this collaboration by harnessing the collective knowledge and experience of different perspectives.

Workshops allow organisations to support innovation in a world of increasing complexity.

Innovation workshops are effective when they are structured around a process. In broad terms this must encourage consideration of context, for example, drivers of change in a sector and anticipation of the needs of stakeholders and users. Appropriate methods are then needed to help generate new ideas and to support structured evaluation of concepts.

The innovation methods used in tfink* workshops can be applied to a wide variety of topics and issues, the approach is always customised to suit the innovation agenda of the workshop stakeholders.

Outlined below are some examples of Innovation Workshops designed and facilitated by Tom Inns. For more information about Innovation Workshops contact

Societal Challenges as Drivers of Innovation. Vinnova, Malmö, Sweden.Vinnova, Malmö, Sweden.

The systems modelling kit used in the workshop allowed new ways of thinking about Sweden’s innovation ecosystem

This two-day workshop was organised as part of a programme of research into Swedish Cross-Cluster Innovation called: ‘Platform Innovation – Bridging of Interfaces’. The workshop  allowed 30 academics, representatives of Swedish innovation agencies and business directors to explore future innovation models that might be adopted in Sweden to support the following innovation sectors: Personalised & Distributed Healthcare, Mobile Futures & Sustainable City Regions. A second follow-up workshops explored the barriers to innovation and the interventions that could be made to improve project success rates.

During the Societal Challenges workshop participants used a specially designed kit of parts to build 3-D representations of future innovations systems for Sweden. Having the opportunity to model ideas in a new format allowed participants to identify new relationships and drivers within each of the industry clusters they explored.

Urban Futures Innovation Workshop, POPVOX & European Creative Business Network, PICNIC, Amsterdam.

Workshops provide a quick and effective way of moving from initial ideas to prototypes and outline business plan

This one-day workshop was organised as part of the PICNIC Festival (An event at which curious, ambitious and engaged people from all over the world come together to explore new digital solutions to today’s challenges). In the workshop 25 creative entrepreneurs from across Europe came together to explore urban futures and pitch for a £5,000 investment from a panel of venture capitalists. Disciplines represented included: Web-design, computer programming, marketing, the charity sector. During the workshop participants identified projects of shared interest, developed product and service concepts and prepared outline business plans for their ideas.

Another Side of Fashion, Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network (CIKTN) and Institute of Materials, Dana Centre, London.

Workshops provide a way of prototyping products, services and materials that currently do not exist.

The Another Side of Fashion workshop was the second in a series of events organised to explore the wider influence of fashion and the potential synergies between fashion, materials science and digital technology. The first workshop, the Smart Materials Bazaar, had allowed 40 participants to share innovation ideas and develop new material and product concepts. These were developed at different levels of innovation, with varying degrees of familiarity to users and varying degrees of technological innovation.

The second workshop mapped out a portfolio of future innovation projects that would develop the technologies and materials and undertake the research needed to develop the future products, services and materials that had been identified. Mapping the portfolio of projects identified significant opportunities for future research collaborations between workshop participants. The portfolio of potential projects was used to inform future CIKTN research strategy.

Brand & Product Innovation Workshop, RCUK China Office, Future Design Trends Institute, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China,

The workshop format provided an opportunity for participants to experiment with different ways of structuring their brand offer.

This one-day workshop attended by 50 participants from academia and business explored the brand and product innovation strategies used within 4 Chinese business sectors: automotive, cosmetics, consumer goods and fashion. The workshop explored the way that different companies had structured their brands to appeal to local and global markets. The types of design trends information needed by businesses hoping to export from and import into China was then reviewed. A particular focus of the workshop were the methods that can be most effectively used to both harvest trends information and drive strategic decision making within organisations.

Beyond TV, South West Screen, Bristol.

The prototyping methods used in the Beyond TV workshop provided very innovative ways of thinking about new media platforms that would soon be available to audiences.

This two-day workshop explored the future development opportunities associated with changes in TV content distribution. 6 industry experts from YouView, BBC, DemandMedia, Slipstream, Golant Media Ventures & Futurescape provided briefings, over 60 representatives of creative businesses and support agencies from across Europe then worked through as series of carefully designed activities to develop a series of creative business propositions based on new TV platforms. This process involved: briefing from industry experts; group-based exploration of trends (social, technological, policy and content); brainstorming from an audience and channel perspective; selection and development of preferred opportunities and finally presentations to an investor community.