On Wednesday the 24th of January, we organized the professional workshop titled:
A Journey towards Digital Transformation: Creativity and Design for Digital Innovation.
The goal of the workshop to was create an intellectual and interactive context to learn about the different ways in which creativity can kickstart the digital transformation journey. In discovering this, participants learned from both professionals in the creative and design sector (Fjord & Accenture) as well as from the latest academic research on digital innovation and creativity (KIN Research).
The different speakers covered creativity and digital innovation thoroughly: they talked about the importance and complexities of digital innovation, the necessity of creativity in innovation processes, and how to nurture a creative organization.
As an assistant professor at the KIN Research Group, Fleur has conducted various studies on the ways in which digital innovation are developed and used in organizations. In her talk – called Why digital innovation requires creativity and design thinking – she focused on the ways in which organizations try to innovate, and how they regularly come up with creative solutions. By drawing on a variety of examples from practice, ranging from Tesla cars to juice machines, Fleur engaged the audience to understand why digital innovation requires us to think more creatively. Her talk on knowledge-, business-, and platform-ecosystems enticed a great discussion as to how people could frame their own and other organizations. The discussion, with Fleur’s input, helped the participants make sense of some of the complexities that emerge when organizations want to engage in digital innovation initiatives.
Luis joined us all the way from Madrid, where he works as a Strategy Director at Fjord / Accenture. In his energetic talk, Luis talked about the different hurdles that companies face when trying to actively manage creative professionals. He for example told about different ways in which organizations can stimulate creativity, but also warned for some of the ways in which creativity might be killed. Drawing from his experiences not only at Fjord, but also at Accenture and some of his clients from Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands, Luis vividly and energetically inspired us to see how ‘taking care’ of people, relations, and interactions in organizations is at the core of what creativity and innovation requires. He emphasized the importance of having an inclusive culture, nurturing meaningful frictions, and stimulating constructive conversations and relations among people. His take on creativity stimulated the participants to see the ways in which their organizations, departments, and colleagues facilitated their creativity.
Sascha is the author of Kreativcode – a book on creativity – and through his work and research has considerable experience in understanding the underpinnings of creative processes. In his talk, Sascha drew from his book and summarized key research findings on creativity in organizations. For example, he explained how seemingly minute aspects such as the height of an office, its color, or workspace layouts can significantly influence employees’ creativity. He also illuminated on remixing the creative in process in which existing solutions are recombined into something new. Sascha explained how this often used strategy may or may not work, and hence why certainly not all creative ideas are good ideas. For instance, he presented the Hamburger problem: ‘What’s wrong with the hamburger? Well … it’s not a schnitzel.’ And so KFC developed the Douple Down, a burger that has chicken schnitzels as buns. Surprisingly, this remix worked better in theory as in practice. He closed his talk by providing participants with pointers as to how they could incite more creativity in their respective work environments.
Natalja studies the ways in which creative professionals help clients find creative solutions to complex problems. So by building on her own research in practice and several recent insights from other academic research, she presented several techniques that can help people to ignite their creativity. As one of the participants noted: creativity is not necessarily a “gift”, it is something that all people have, to a certain extent, but some people know how to use their creativity better than others. That is where creativity techniques help. Natalja presented several of creativity techniques that provide some clear guidelines for people to move beyond their existing frames and think outside of the box. Examples of such techniques are: recombining existing ideas, thinking through “what-if” scenario’s, and trying to blend two or more seemingly opposing concepts or ideas. These techniques helped participants work on a to work on a case study (problem identification & developing a creative solution) that followed Natalja’s talk.
Putting creativity to work
After taking-in the different perspectives from the speakers, the second part of the workshop contained an interactive case study to help the participants put their new knowledge to practice. Using some creativity techniques people were able to come up with various creative and feasible ideas to use digital innovations. The case required participants to solve a complex problem in healthcare: using digital innovation to help patients more easily adhere to their often strenuous therapy.
Though the innovations the participants developed will not be developed further, the workshop stimulated the creativity and relations among the participants. Be sure to stay up to date about our upcoming workshops, seminars, and professional learning events!