How workshops helped to accelerate a culture of innovation at Emerald Publishing

As the first head of innovation at Emerald Publishing, Bec Evans had the opportunity to shape the role to suit her and the business. What she thought would be a very product-focused role, turned out to be something completely different – about changing the culture. And workshops played a big part in discovering that.

Emerald Publishing is a global academic publisher that specialises in business and management. Although it had a very traditional business model, it became interested in bringing new techniques such as lean and agile and encouraging an intrapreneurial mindset within the company.

Emerald offered Bec Evans, who had her own startup on the side, the new head of innovation role, which she had the opportunity to shape herself. Coming from a part-time position in the product development and innovation department, Bec started off by making a call for ideas from across the company. However, she soon realised that this was the wrong approach:  

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One way to boost creativity in your team

It doesn’t matter how creative a person thinks they are, if they’re not able to share their knowledge and expertise amongst their team mates, they won’t have confidence that the team can be creative too.

For research carried out as part of his Msc in Organisational Psychology in 2013, Business Psychologist Jonti Dalal-Small identified that a team’s collective belief in how creative they are can be boosted by 50% if there was a good shared knowledge of who knows what.

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Igniting serendipity: a chat with Michael Soto, co-founder of Spark

A couple years back Nesta, the innovation charity, did a little experiment that caught my eye. They were randomly matching up people in their organisation for coffee meetings, which they called randomised coffee trials (RCT), in a quest to engineer serendipity. A really simple, but very cool, idea.

So when I found out about Spark Collaboration, a platform that helps companies to do this themselves, I wanted to know more. It turns out that co-founder Michael Soto, was one of the originators of the idea at Nesta, while he was an intern there for 6 months.

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Grown-up digital media: less stereotypes, more collaboration

Digital media has grown up. “It’s technical, aesthetic and social all at the same time”, says Karen Cham, Director of Digital Media at Kingston University. This insight led her to develop a unique postgraduate programme that brings together students to collaborate from across three faculties – science, engineering and computing; art, design and architecture; and arts and humanities.

Around 28 students come to the ‘micro studio’ from four separate Masters courses – MA Game Development Design, MSc Game Programming, MA Computer Animation and MSc User Experience Design. The aim is for students to work collaboratively on digital projects, reflecting the needs of the industry and addressing the skills gap in professional production and team working (as identified in a 2006 Skillset report).

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Un-clarity, un-risk and un-management: words from Ije Nwokorie, MD at Wolff Olins, on leading a creative business

Ije

Facilitation is a word that Ije Nwokorie, Managing Director at Wolff Olins (international brand consultancy), uses with pride.  He sees it as one of today’s most important management skills. So he made it his mission to make it something that Wolff Olins would become famous for, and he’s well on the way to achieving this. Ije recently led the internal development at the agency towards a structure that allows for “inevitable collaboration” and self-managing teams. It’s an unconventional approach that has turned a lot of traditional theory on its head. He has put an ‘un-‘ in front of the words management, leadership and risk to create a more chaotic/less regimented, but rewarding and inventive environment.

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Building Discoverables: an interview with Eugenie Teasley

EugenieIn the second in a series of interviews, we speak to Eugenie Teasley, co-founder of Discoverables.

We first met Eugenie through her youth charity, Spark+Mettle. Then, in September last year, Eugenie successfully applied for funding from Nominet Trust and Design Council to launch Discoverables, a project which we helped to kickstart.

We’ve been interested in how Eugenie described what she’s learnt from the collaboration and co-creation process and wanted to hear her thoughts. Here she talks about ideas percolating, bringing brilliant brains together and the tools and methods (both online and face-to-face) that she uses to communicate with her team.

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We Are Pop Up: a collaborative (ad)venture

POP_Logos_DelphinePerrot

We Are Pop Up is a company that helps businesses small and large find short-term lets for shops, restaurants, art galleries and more. They’re looking beyond the future of retail in an effort to make the world a more dynamic place and cities more exciting places to be. It’s run by a small but close-knit team (figuratively, if not geographically), all masters in their own individual fields. We wanted to get the inside story in how the team came together, and how they continue to work despite the challenges that can so often arise. Continue reading We Are Pop Up: a collaborative (ad)venture