We knew the approach was solid, but to be honest we were unsure how it all was going to work out.
The Primary Mission: To work with 16 members of the Scottish Aquaculture Industry (representing 4 different companies as well as 4 PhD students) to create real solutions to major industry challenges.
The Secondary Mission: To teach the participants a reproducible process for leading innovation and to facilitate PhD/industry collaboration.
We had 6 weeks, with a total of 6 days of face-to-face workshop time, to achieve these objectives. Like I said, we were a bit unsure.
The following is an outline of the programme we designed and delivered in partnership with SAIC (Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre) in early 2019 to accomplish the missions:
Stage 1: Team Creation & Challenge Selection – 4 teams were formed, each with 1 representative from a different company and 1 PhD student. Each team selected a different industry challenge.
Stage 2 (2 Days): Idea Generation, Selection & Refinement – Each team created 15-20 ideas, selected the top 4 and further refined those ideas.
Stage 3 (2 weeks): Idea Discovery – Each team member conducted specific discovery activity to learn more about the unknowns associated with their idea.
Stage 4: Making it Real (2 Days) - Teams selected one idea they would develop further. They then worked to bring it to life through prototyping, financial modelling, further research and creating initial marketing materials.
Stage 5: Idea Discovery (2 weeks) – The teams conducted further discovery activity related to the one idea they were developing. This included running live tests, connecting with experts and conducting customer discovery activities.
Stage 6: Industry Presentations (2 Days) - Teams created presentations for their ideas. On the final day, a group of 25 industry representatives attended a live pitching event where the teams presented their ideas.
The group was fantastic. They followed the process, worked hard, showed serious commitment and delivered amazing results:
- 60 raw ideas to solve 4 industry challenges
- 16 ideas explored
- 4 ideas prototyped
- 2 ideas field tested
- 1 idea implemented (3 others requiring further research, but still alive)
I think it’s fair to say that everyone who attended the final presentation day was seriously impressed with what the teams produced in such little time with almost no resources.
This programme showed that when you combine an effective process with good, hard working people you can deliver a lot with a little. While the outputs were fantastic, we were actually most impressed with how individuals from different companies were able to effectively work together on a shared challenge. This was collaborative innovation at its best.
As a result of the success of this programme, we’re now working with SAIC to run v.2 in Q4 of 2019 and exploring mini versions of this programme to offer more frequently as a way to help support and stimulate innovation in the Scottish Aquaculture Sector.