Innovation Networks - HPI D-School

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general documentation

Design Thinking Week 2013 March 11 —15

Innovation Networks: Fostering Collaborative Innovation HPI School of Design Thinking & Creation Center of the Telekom Innovation Laboratories


Innovation Networks:

general documentation


Contact Information

Fostering Collaborative

Design Thinking Week 2013

Dr. Claudia Nicolai



March 11–15

Axel Menning

School of Design Thinking Prof.-Dr.-Helmert-Str. 2–3

HPI School of Design Thinking &

Project Sponsors

D-14482 Potsdam

Creation Center of the Telekom

Julia Leihener


Innovation Laboratories

Dr. Raimund Schmolze Prof. Ulrich Weinberg

Phone: +49-331-5509-506

Potsdam, June 2013

Table of content Context

The Problem Space

The Solution Space

Conclusion Institutions

4 6

Innovation – Quo Vadis?


The Challenge


Workshop Overview


Design Thinking in One Week



18 20

Understanding the Problem and Becoming an Expert


Gaining Insights


Defining Opportunity Fields

30 32



Concept: DoDo


Concept: Starbox


Concept: FĂźP


Concept: Dark Discovery Dinner

42 44 44

HPI School of Design Thinking


Creation Center of the Telekom Innovation Laboratories

Design Thinking Week 2013 HPI School of Design Thinking & Creation Center of the Telekom Innovation Laboratories





Innovation – Quo Vadis?


Innovation is a major priority for organizations: improving existing products, developing new products and services is central to a company’s strategy and performance. However, companies still struggle with how to cope with the innovation challenge beyond incremental improvements and how to deal with complexity, ambiguity, and pace. Finding the right talent, seeking to understand customer and societal needs, encouraging collaboration and risk-taking are other points at issue. Innovation as such is however not only relevant to individual industries. As we are facing global challenges in the future and environmental, political, economic, and cultural threats are growing, it is even more important to think ahead together. No matter what industry you look at – whether it be IT, banking, energy, telecommunications, logistics, or automotive, to name just a few - everybody has a rich body of experience on how to handle innovation strategy, resources, processes, tools and methods, etc. And there is a lot organizations could learn from each other, because they are facing similar issues. However, there are not

many established means to open the corporate silos across industries. Concerns about knowledge sharing, IP protection and trust as well as the fear of talent poaching and the loss of control are barriers to taking collaborative action. In our Design Thinking project we address this strategic innovation challenge and seek to discover new ways to leverage collaboration and innovation networks. Design Thinking is a human-centered approach consisting of methods and tools that combine approaches from the fields of design and ethnography with knowledge about technology and the development of new business models. Above all, Design Thinking is a mindset for complex problem solving processes that include the search for and the design of future innovations. Design Thinking is a multidisciplinary user-centric approach for developing products, services and concepts for any field of life. The truly revolutionary aspect of the concept of Design Thinking is that both the students in each team as well as their teachers all come from different academic disciplines. Teams of

computer scientists and usability experts, designers and management specialists, biologists, sociologists, and medical doctors work towards innovative solutions and the development of prototypes. In this way, Design Thinking does not only foster individual creativity but, more importantly, a collaborative innovation culture fed by the varying expertise and perspectives of the team members, who are able to search for possible solutions with an open mind.



The Challenge


Organizations are under enormous pressure to rethink their existing innovation practices. Environmental, political, economic, and societal issues and threats are becoming more important. Global challenges are an everyday business for most of the industry branches and therefore they have to set up a kind of innovation departments to find new solutions. However, there is much different industries and different innovation departments could learn from each other since they are facing similar issues. Despite the growing awareness that open and collaborative cultures foster in the preparedness for “disruptive” innovations, there are not many established ways to open “corporate silos” across industries. In Design Thinking Week we are seeking to develop new ways of collaboration, cross-pollination and lateral innovation: How can we learn from each other? How can we enable an open innovation culture across organizational boundaries? How can we leverage collaborative innovation as a competitive advantage? How can we unleash the creative power of employees and encourage them to connect with each other? How can we leverage future

cross-silo-innovation? How can germinate on a lateral basis? In order to create concepts that help companies to learn from each other and to leverage future cross-silo-innovation we defined the challenge as follows: Redesign the lateral sharing experience between medium and large- sized companies to foster innovation and collaboration in a world where mutual learning will leverage the impact to solve future challenges. Through empathy and observing (young and old, new and experienced) innovation managers and other stakeholders (communicators, networkers, co-workers, trend-setters, customers, friends, and more) the workshop teams lay the foundation for new human-centered concepts taking particularly into account the unmet needs and desires of people. Since many innovation networks, platforms and hubs are existing, the task is to go beyond already known solutions in order to discover and address the personal needs and organizational barriers that innovation

managers are facing nowadays. Furthermore, Design Thinking aims at going beyond the obvious. This means, not giving innovation managers what they say they need but to find new ways to connect them with “like-minded sisters and brothers� to discover new mutual learning experiences.



Workshop Overview


The Design Thinking workshop on “Innovation Networks� was jointly organized by the Telekom Creation Center and the HPI School of Design Thinking. The Creation Center is part of Telekom Innovation Laboratories and develops new product ideas for Telekom. Since its founding in 2008, it serves as a platform for the innovation process agents to come together to develop concepts for products and services that are innovative, profitable and valuable for their users, while learning from one another at the same time. The School of Design Thinking of the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI D-School) is the leading institution for innovation development based on the Design Thinking method in Europe. The HPI D-School started its academic program in 2007. The workshop took place from March 11-15, 2013 at the Hasso Plattner Institut, Potsdam. The workshop participants were 37 graduate students from different disciplines. More than the half of the students have a background in IT and engineering, the rest are students in the fields of the arts, media studies, social science and humanities as well as business. Most of the students have not had prior design thinking experience. Thus,

the formal objective of the workshop-week is two-fold: train students of the Hasso Plattner Institute in Design Thinking while working on the design challenge. Besides introductory lectures on innovation networks, input on approaches and methods in Design Thinking was given as well. The participants formed 8 teams. Each team was accompanied by a coach. Given the short amount of time the students had to gain empathy with innovation managers a crucial point within the workshop preparation was about pre-arranging meetings with users and providing seed material. In preparation for Design Thinking Week interesting companies and organizations were identified and contacted. Nearly 25 organizations related to innovation networks were selected to provide the student teams with user insights and expert feedback during the project work.



Design Thinking in One Week


Design Thinking includes a methodological approach consisting of six phases that are run through in an iterative process.

Understand (Day 1)

Observe (Day 2)

Understand is about broadening the problem space and determining the field of research in order to create a common understanding of the different facets of the challenge and to develop a sound background of knowledge. The teams were asked to share their own experiences, presumptions and ideas about innovation networks. Within the team and in consultation with the coaches, the relevant project dimensions were identified (360°-research). The teams investigated existing concepts, how corporate innovation departments and laboratories do their work and they researched reasons and motivational aspects for cross silo collaboration and knowledge sharing.

In order to address the key questions and initial assumptions that are derived in the previous understanding phase, the teams took the opportunity to make site visits and expert interviews. Both were prearranged. Overall, each team met an average of eight different companies, agencies, and other influential stakeholders. By interviewing various innovation managers, the teams gained a deeper understanding of the companies’ innovation management structures, their approach towards innovation, internal and external relations and the communication flows of innovation networks. A second round of expert interviews helped to validate their preliminary findings.

The end result of this phase is the development and phrasing of a research design. This helps deepen the understanding of the problem. On a practical level, the teams also create stakeholder and communication maps and an overview of the technologies used by companies to interact with each other. Furthermore, the workshop participants prepared their design for the empathy work, including interviews, site-visits and observation, e.g. lead questions for interviews and ways of how to approach stakeholders of innovation networks.

The overall goal of the “observe phase” was to gain empathy for stakeholders in innovation networks and to reveal the unmet needs of managers and companies alike. The teams combined the methods of empathy maps and opportunity fields. Each team created an empathy map pointing out the users’ statements and behaviors as well as thoughts and feelings. This approach helps to identify and explain major motivational barriers and drivers for innovation networks. Based on the empathy maps, interesting, surprising and even contradictory insights were identified. The teams were therefore able to derive opportunity fields from their observational data. An opportunity field indicates a potential for change and helps to provide understanding and defining what effects are likely to occur if a particular approach is implemented.




Ideate and Concepting (Day 3)

Prototyping and Testing (Day 4)

By applying several ideation methods, the teams have generated as many ideas as possible in selected opportunity fields. After doing so the participants had to synthesize, cluster, combine and refine the huge amounts of ideas. In the next step the teams categorized and filtered their ideas.

Based on the feedback the teams were encouraged to refine their most striking concept based on the “storytelling” method. The ideas are then turned into prototypes that represent a usercentered problem solution. The teams used various prototyping approaches, e.g. sketching, building tangible models, creating user interfaces and designing the user experience journey.

After processing the ideas and selecting the most promising ones, the teams were asked to create “Idea Napkins” for three to five selected ideas. The method of the idea napkin helps to explain the concept in more detail, to illustrate it and to identify the critical functions. All teams presented their idea napkins and got feedback on their concepts.

The prototype concepts were presented to experts and users to gain feedback. A central building block of the Design Thinking approach is the testing of prototypes in the experience realm of the user. The feedback from potential users – supplemented through feedback loops with external stakeholders – helped to improve the prototype(s).

Iterate and Presenting (Day 5) Finally the teams iterated their prototype based on feedback from users and experts.. They created an elevator pitch for their idea. Further important dimensions of the design thinking mindset besides desirability (human-centeredness) are feasibility (technology) and viability (business). Thus, the teams defined the technological requirements for their concept and identified potential business opportunities for implementing their idea. The teams presented their final prototypes in an “experienceexhibition mode.� This means that they recreated their team spaces into prototyping environments in order to let the audience experience their prototypes.



Participants Project Lead Dr. Claudia Nicolai HPI School of Design Thinking

Julia Leihener 16

Vanessa Pedroso Johannes Puschmann Mauro Rego Jeremias Schmitt Helen van Baal

Creation Center of the Telekom Innovation Laboratories

Project Sponsors Dr. Raimund Schmolze Creation Center of the Telekom Innovation Laboratories

Prof. Ulrich Weinberg HPI School of Design Thinking

Coaches Thuy Chinh Duong Axel Menning Nurith Mörsberger Dr. Claudia Nicolai Nathalia Nogueira

Participants Johannes Albrecht Michael Backmann Marcel Bsufka Cristobal Cabo Ralf Diestelkämper Erik Dietz Edith den Hartog Johannes Eschrig Stefanie Gerken Sebastian Gerstenberg Daniel Gimbatschki Caroline Göricke Jan Graichen Richard Hylerstedt Johannes Jasper

Nils Kenneweg Christian Kieschnick Vasilii Kirilichev Stefan Latt Renata Landa López Christian Nicolai Philipp Pajak Hannes Rantzsch Jonas Rehmet Angela Schmidt Frederik Schulze Christine Schütte-Drolshagen Patrick Siegler Daniel Stelter-Gliese Alexander Teibrich Felix Tzschacksch Julia Wachtel Leonard Wallat Lars Wassermann Johannes Wolf Christian Würz Elina Zarisheva


Design The Problem Thinking Space Week 2013 HPI School of Design Thinking & Creation Center of the Telekom Innovation Laboratories


The Problem Space


The Problem Space

Understanding the Problem and Becoming Experts The participants had less than five days to gain empathy for innovation managers and their understanding of collaboration, mutual learning and networks. In order to boost the understanding of the challenge as well as the 360° research, the workshop team provided seed material and “inspirational cards.” Still interview sessions and site-visits of companies and agencies working in innovation and related fields proved to be the most important aspect of this phase.

Research sites 20 Career Loft Ljubow Chaikevitch, Angelina Hennig, Tim Fahrendorff Fjord Inga Bergen, Jannes Peters Meta Design Lina Stannieder New Thinking Andreas Wichmann PCH Alexander Nolte Radial System Jochen Sandig, Sasha Weiss Social Impact Labs Norbert Kunz, Maria Gross stiftung neue verantwortung Anna-Laura Seidt Telekom/ Creation Center Julia Leihener Triad Sebastian Brunner Ufa Labs Anke Müller

Experts Katharina Berger Fee Beyer Katja Dietrich-Kröck

Deutsche Bank Telekom/ Hubraum Zukunftsagentur Brandenburg

Christoph Fahle Betahaus/ Open Design City Alexander Grots Gravity Jochen Gürtler SAP Herman Hartenthaler Telekom/ T-Labs Cornelia Horsch IDZ Katharina Hölzle Potsdam University Jonathan Imme Ignore Gravity Frank Kleinert GAD Franziska Krüger VW Bettina Maisch Siemens Birgit Mager KISD Marcel Plaum Fraport AG Marianne Reeb Daimler Research Beate Riefer SAP Helmut Sussbauer Telekom/ Innovation Managment Lars Stalling Telefonica Marcus Stüttgen Janssen The organizations involved included three different types. First, these were large-sized companies with already established innovation labs (e.g. Telekom, Siemens, VW, Daimler, Ufa, SAP) or companies in the process of launching new innovation labs (e.g. Janssen, Fraport). Secondly, we have included consultancies and agencies specializing in the field of innovation, design, strategic communication or change (e.g. Meta Design, Triad, PCH, Fjord, New Thinking). And last but not least, we have decided to include inspiring organizations beyond the obvious that offer new venues for collaboration, networking and creative encounters (e.g. stiftung neue verantwortung, career loft, Social Impact Labs, Radial System).


The Problem Space

Gaining Insights Common Insights


After visiting various research locations, observing their respective innovation environment and interviewing a lot of people from different organizations, the impressions, observations and findings were condensed and synthesized into human-centered insights. After combining and clustering the insights derived from the empathy fieldwork of all eight teams, several patterns were identified. In the following we will describe the cross-section of insights: • • •

common insights that depict common themes across different organizations, unique and surprising insights, and contradictions that arose within and between organizations.

Common Insights • • • •

It’s all about trust Building a creative ground „Random” encounters Connecting people, not organizations

It’s all about trust The overriding insight all teams have identified is trust. A trust-

ful relation is very important when it comes to sharing knowledge in a corporate - and competitive - environment. Building connections between companies that are neither one’s suppliers, market allies or members of a partner network needs to be established in a trustworthy manner. Establishing a culture of open-mindedness and sharing is ultimately about creating trust. One interviewee stated that “you cannot build trust if you are not sharing”. Although many innovation managers and senior managers are aware of the importance of trust-building activities, company policies, strict regulations, hierarchical structures and - sometimes even the internal bureaucracy still remain as inhibiting factors. These perceived regulations are preventing people from taking the first steps toward trust-building activities with other organizations. Despite an acknowledgement of “soft” collaborative power to unleash the creative potential of organizational members, “hard” concerns (e.g. intellectual property rights) quite often prevail.

Building a creative ground

Meeting people on “neutral” grounds is mainly not about the fact of being equal but rather about getting everybody out of their everyday business activities. When it comes to thinking ahead

about future business challenges and establishing new collaborative methods, people emphasized the importance of physical meetings over having “just” typical teleconference innovative teamwork. Having a dedicated creative space to meet in was was a characteristic elaborated on by several participants. In connection with the requirement of leaving the everyday working environment it was crucial to talk about spaces that enable collaboration. This was also considered as being part of an open working culture for the employee.

Innovation networking is mainly happening randomly A shared observation was that successful, collaborative partnerships often happen randomly. The meaning of this insight shows the complexity of the whole challenge. Bringing together likeminded people from different companies is hard to plan and to predict. The teams discovered that a lot of success stories of knowledge sharing between companies are rooted in casual encounters, e.g. at conferences, events and other activities outside the company’s boundaries. Highly valuable employee networks can also stem from nearly private networks between people from different companies.. This does not mean to underestimate

the power of social networks. As a matter of fact, innovation networking is not happening in a company’s conference room but rather through random encounters.

Connecting people, not companies Another important aspect concerns the previously mentioned insight that although companies can build formal relationships, collaboration happens between people. One interviewee made this clear by stating that “collaboration is not about connecting companies but about connecting people”. Related to that is the observation that these personal interconnections have to do with the “right chemistry” between the two people involved. The so-called “innovation laboratories” of large companies already exist and most of the teams found out that they have a unique position within the company structures. This could be interpreted both positively and negatively. These innovation labs offer, on the one hand, the opportunity for connecting and collaborating with others. On the other hand, these labs are not part of the usual work routine. One interviewee mentioned the following metaphor: “Innovation laboratories are like ship´s boats cruising around the company’s tanker that is barely maneuverable”.


The Problem Space

Gaining Insights Surprising Insights


Besides the insights that all teams had gained in their empathy fieldwork, there were several findings that are strongly connected to specific and unique experiences that some of the interviewed experts have mentioned: • • •

Collaboration starts small Sharing becomes difficult for advanced business ideas Outside catalysts and mediators can moderate the dialogue

Collaboration starts small Promising and even successful cross-company projects and even innovation networks cannot be generated out of nowhere. Small projects with quick results allow allocating more resources within the companies and creating a common ground for building mutual trust. It is furthermore crucial to plan ahead and to define how to follow up, how to implement the ideas and how to continue beyond the first initial project. Once a co-creation session is done and the participants are back in their companies it is important to have the means to continue to collaborate. Thus, the first follow-up of an initial project has been proven an important success factor in establishing a trustworthy innovation network. If ideas are not realized in a short period of time after the workshop, the chance is great that they will be lost or left unrealized.

Sharing becomes difficult for advanced business ideas

Outside catalysts and mediators can moderate the dialogue

It is interesting to notice that several of our interviewed innovation managers highlighted that collaboration between companies is hard to establish when it comes to sharing “ideas of medium complexity.� It seems to be easy to share, discuss and further elaborate general questions about the future of business (like the future of mobility, living etc.). Interviewees said that it was easy for them to share this knowledge with other companies and even simple business ideas. At the same time, they said that the same does apply to highly complex knowledge. It seems to be that simple ideas are not worth being protected while extremely complex ideas are too difficult to be copied with reasonable effort. The crux of the matter are ideas of medium complexity. Indeed, these are quite often the most promising and challenging topics about which innovation managers would like to share their point of view with like-minded people from other organizations.

Another surprising insight is that it is helpful to have a third party mediate the collaboration process. An outside catalyst embodied in a third party facilitator can help companies to find other companies to collaborate with. The facilitator is additionally able to communicate and emphasize the equal outcome for all network parties involved. He will also be able to establish the foundation for collaboration, for example defining the contextual (even legal) conditions for collaboration because he has no business stakes in the innovation process. The more people or companies involved in a project the greater the need for third party moderation.


The Problem Space

Gaining Insights Contradictions


After reviewing all insights the following contradictions were identified. Contradicting insights in user research are usually very interesting since they are indicating ill-defined solutions from the users’ perspective. They offer interesting starting points for finding new ideas. In our project we came across the following: • • •

Clearly defined company regulations versus sportsmanship Structured network approaches versus coincidental encounters Open-mindedness versus fear of losing control

Clearly defined company regulations versus sportsmanship It is interesting to note that dealing with partners in an innovation network also enables a company to gain access to new technologies. Nevertheless, even some of our interviewees stated that they perceived contradictions between the company’s regulation of intellectual property rights protection and the value of sportsmanship. Non-disclosure agreements, regulations, and contracts are important and needed when it comes to project development and implementation with partner institutions. But the overall fear of lacking the protection of IP-rights blocks communication from the beginning as well as sharing views on more general topics (e.g. customer trends, future topics and scenarios). The main insight is that a certain kind of sportsmanship and fair play helps innovation managers to learn how to interact with other companies more than more than precisely defined internal legal regulations.

Structured network approaches versus coincidental encounters Although some of the collected and shared companies’ stories have shown us that successful partnerships stem from “random encounters” at the very beginning of the relationship, this randomness is also perceived as a problem. Some of the interviewed innovation managers stated that being open, communicative and collaborative beyond organizational and industry boundaries increases the sheer size of one’s social network. Many experts pointed out that the growing number of contacts and encounters makes it even more complicated to keep track of network partners. It is particularly difficult to keep up contact with people outside one’s own industry. Once you have met an interesting, inspiring person, the questions remain: How do I keep the conversation going? How is it possible to continue the exchange although there is no potential for a project in the near future? How can I remember this person? How do I share information about these encounters with co-workers?

Open-mindedness versus fear of losing control 27 On a business level the open-mindedness of an organization can permute boundaries and help to gain new insights. When departmental and organizational boundaries become blurred, managers sometimes mentioned their fear of losing control. By enabling and empowering employees to build their own network and to act on their own ideas, the company is expanding its ability to detect shifts earlier and to better respond to customers’ needs and desires. On the contrary, openness decreases the importance and meaning of strict formal controls and clearly defined guidelines on how to deal with network partners.

The Problem Space

Defining Opportunity Fields


After gathering information and impressions from the empathy fieldwork and identifying interesting, commonly shared, surprising and even contradictory insights, the teams were able to define opportunity fields. Opportunity fields define areas with a high potential for new concepts, ideas and future actions. These are: • Creating trust • Finding and connecting people • Provoking disruption • Enabling information and knowledge sharing

Creating trust The probably most important opportunity field is about creating trust. This opportunity field is also the biggest one. There are three building blocks that interconnect to create one overall trust. • technical trust • organizational trust • social trust. Technical trust is based on having the reliable and secure means for exchanging information and sharing knowledge between people and organizations. This includes the reliability of the software and IT software architecture employees use.. Mem-

bers of an innovation network needs to know that their working tools are secure and that everything in this informal network stays in the network. The structural trust addresses the levels of the organization. These include its organizational and management structure, decision-making processes, and accountability, Particularly in innovation management these are the main entry points for developing trust. Transparency is, for example, a major strategic aspect in believing that the company has an open-minded culture. Thus, this strategic vision is crucial to fostering networked communication within the company. This is the basis for communication across company boundaries. The third building block is social trust, meaning the belief in personal relationships, and the belief in a person’s own social network beyond the workplace. Personal contacts do not only buffer problems, but also generate new ideas. For example, one innovation manager said that he brought a very good friend, who is a professional sailing canvas designer, into the innovation department of a large automotive company. Although they were working in completely different fields, this persons gave interesting insights about fabrics. Therefore many teams were focusing on new personal meeting formats and workshops to share personal experience.

Finding and connecting people Being communicative, open, flexible as well as intrinsically motivated are key prerequisites for creative collaboration between employees and companies. However, it is also essential to get the “right” people together. Thus the second identified opportunity field is about finding and connecting people in and across organizations. It is rather difficult and sometimes even impossible for organizations to select their own project team members. An interesting approach is to challenge this rule and to try out selection processes that first create a topic map and based on this activity the right people are gathered who are motivated to connect and share. It becomes even more difficult to find like-minded people in different departments. Beyond company boundaries this is even more challenging, because innovation activities do not only take place in research & development labs. Furthermore, a challenging aspect of this opportunity field is to get an overview of topics that different teams and other companies are working on at the moment (e.g. what are the “hot spots” in other companies?).

Provoking disruption

The third opportunity field is focussed on eliciting action. A common finding was that innovation barriers, such as a com-

pany’s regulations for the exchange of information, regulations etc,. are taken for granted over time. Furthermore, innovation manager often experienced that employees get used to “the way we do it here” and become immune to other ways of solving a problem. This is why “silo-thinking” is a state of mind rather than an organizational structure. A striking way to enable innovation networking is therefore to disrupt an employee’s environment, to challenge his or her work-routines, and to break informational practices.

Enabling information and knowledge sharing The main obstacle of innovation networking is the company’s fear of loss of intellectual property. Developing a concept that allows bidirectional information exchange and offers business opportunities would open up many corporate knowledge sources. This opportunity field easily connects with the insight of creating a mutual playground. The teams also discovered the importance of carefully documenting the process and content and outcomes of new and innovative collaboration work. Documentation makes the creative teamwork visible within the organization and may even trigger and excite further knowledge sharing. It is also important to frame how to proceed with innovative achievements that have been created. An important topic within this opportunity field is therefore collective ownership.


Design The Solution Thinking Space Week 2013 HPI School of Design Thinking & Creation Center of the Telekom Innovation Laboratories


The Solution Space


The Solution Space

The Solution Space

Overview 32 The following concepts were developed, tested and refined during Design Thinking Week. All concepts address how to overcome barriers to sustainably establish innovation networks and build on the insights and opportunity fields identified during the understanding and observation phase of the workshop. In the following we will describe four out of eight concepts in more detail. These concepts are selected because they show the variety of solution space for our challenge of fostering cross-silo innovation networks. It is interesting to notice that most groups had identified similar insights and have developed different solutions that highlight different opportunity fields. The need of creating trust combined with enabling the sharing of information and knowledge can be considered a common denominator for all four concepts. The solutions differ in the way they define and combine these opportunity fields with other important ones: The concept Dodo is a solution for technical trust combined with enabling information and knowledge sharing with

like-minded people in inter and intra-organizational networks. The concept Starbox refers to the opportunity fields social trust, information and knowledge sharing in inter-organizational networks, whereas the concept F端P is designed for finding and connecting like-minded people, in particular, in intra-organizational networks. The concept Dark Discovery Dinner specifically refers to the opportunity field of provoking disruption. It is also a good example of an empathy prototype.


The Solution Space

Concept DoDo

The Idea in a Nutshell 34

For people in a network of companies who want to connect with like-minded people by sharing thoughts and ideas, DoDo is an inspirational device that expands their creative workspace. Unlike Facebook, twitter or LinkedIn, DoDo consists of decentralized creative hot-spots inside companies for informal knowledge exchange.

Functionality DoDo is a network of decentralized creative hot-spots that are connected with each other. The creative hot-spot consists of an interactive display, a touch-screen or a smart board. These interactive devices are positioned in different locations in companies that already foster and enable informal exchange. These can be lounges, libraries, and informal meeting places like the kitchen. The functionality is simple and intuitive: with a pen, or even the finger, users create virtual messages on post-its and share them with/send them to other DoDos in different companies. The digital post-its are transmitted to companies that are assigned members in the innovation network of the company. The user

can decide whether to share personal thoughts with all or with selected member companies. Being able to restrict the receivers of posts supports the creative confidence of users, who can feed ideas without worrying about non-disclosure. Being able to use the touchscreen to share ideas gives the whole process a “look and feel” that it is appropriate for the lunch break in the company’s kitchen space. The user submits ideas by creating digital post-its. Because the posts are handwritten instead of being typed, DoDo can be used in a highly intuitive manner. Furthermore, employees will be motivated to contribute based on the setup that gives each post a limited lifetime. Every time someone responds to a post, its lifetime is extended. People can freely share ideas and thoughts as their superiors have approved of DoDo as a sharing platform. There is no fear of repercussions as all post-its are created anonymously, names can only be exchanged voluntarily by the users.

User Journey This product enables employees to share their thoughts and ideas in a fun and innovative way. Imagine the following sce-

nario. An employee decides to take a break and to grab a cup of coffee in the kitchen. While enjoying the coffee he notices a new post on the Dodo, a small but still noticeable yellow post says, “Business changes Ideas”. The employee thinks about it for a moment. Realizing the deeper meaning of it, he decides to answer with a red post-it saying “Ideas change Business.” From this point on she / he and her / his anonymous partner begin exchanging thoughts, inspiring each other, changing each other’s perspective on the world. This is what boosts creativity and allows innovation.

Impact on Innovation Networks DoDo is designed to foster existing innovation networks. This means, inspiring other people, reaching out to others and breaking down companies’ boundaries. The effect of DoDo is getting people out of their working environment into a relaxing and recreational atmosphere and then expanding this digital space into other companies’ kitchens. Most of the time it will be used during informal breaks and lunchtime. While having a coffee or a chat the employee will feel the sense of having contributed to

the company’s innovation network. The more companies use DoDo, the more elaborate the product impact will be. DoDo will not only strengthen the bond between companies, but it will do so in a very fun way for everyone who participates in the process. The posts will be great conversation starters at meetings, and ultimately create an extraordinary and brilliant opportunity for companies from all backgrounds.


The Solution Space

Concept Starbox The Idea in a Nutshell


Starbox is an exclusive and co-created coffee lounge for designers in cooperative innovation labs and creative agencies who need to recharge their creative batteries. Unlike traditional videoconferencing, Starbox offers a curated, spontaneous, humancentered and inspiring networking with some of the best innovators in other companies.

Functionality A few pieces of communication hardware form the basis of the STARBOX service. A large screen, high-quality microphones, 3D speaker system and a camera allow audiovisual communication with minimum delay and interference. The box itself where these components are mounted is a frame that holds soundproof glass walls. Inside the box the screen is adjustable to be on eye-level with users, who are either seated or standing up. The screen is equipped with mounts for a table surface. Since all tables are attached at the same point, they create the illusion of a shared surface. These tables could optionally be equipped with touch screens that give users a shared digital workspace, just like a shared sketchpad on a cafe table. The default mode of operation for the STARBOX is “Cafe” mode. This means that it is connected to all other boxes and opens a conversation with all of them when someone starts speaking in

one box. The STARBOXes light up when a conversation is happening and there is also the option to tag the conversation in real-time with topics that show on the boxes. When voices are recognized in more boxes they are added to the conversations and the screen enters a split mode. Of course several conversations on different topics can be active at the same time as well. The screens of inactive boxes show the images from those that are active. The STARBOX can also be used in Date “Booking” mode, which is the same as Cafe mode but with a predefined time and invited participants. These “dates” can be either private or public. Just like in a normal cafe, the STARBOX system can get noisy and crowded. The hardware frame would allow for approximately one couch, where four people could squeeze in or two sit comfortably, in each box. The initial implementation would not apply any restriction on how many boxes can be active in one conversation. The system relies on the users to give feedback and take part in developing the interaction and etiquette guidelines of STARBOX. The last and current version consists of two separated spaces with couches, tables, laptop, big screen, camera, transparent wall and, of course, coffee. The box can host a small team creating a feeling of cosiness. The Topic function was added so other participants have an opportunity to choose what they want to talk about.. In order to

embody the cafe feeling where people sit at the same table the team created the concept of having one surface that connects both clients physically. Also this surface allows document sharing, which is very helpful for designers when they e.g. sketch ideas.

User Journey This solution enables innovation teams to connect with each other in an informal and creative atmosphere. Imagine that an innovation team in an automotive company is working on a strategic project about the future of mobility and gets stuck trying to find new insights. The team decides to gather inspirations from other STARBOX member-teams. They head to the STARBOX and post a “Topic”-request to the affiliated members stating “What’s your vision about our mobile life in the future?” The design team of a telecommunications company wants to join the communication and both teams have a coffee lounge chat about how social media and smart phones have changed the communication culture by sharing their previously identified questions. During this conversation another team from an IT company joins the coffee table and challenges some insights about “big data”. From this point on the two innovation teams set up a couple of STARBOX meetings to further talk about questions and thoughts about mobile communication as a driving force for new business ideas.

Impact on Innovation Networks STARBOX is a communication service that creates a relaxed and informal coffee lounge space that exists in and in-between selected corporate innovation labs and creative agencies. The STARBOX enables designers and others who are isolated in “innovation silos” to have spontaneous or planned interactions with peers from other organizations. It is just like how they would meet at a café if their offices were located next to each other. The key characteristics of STARBOX is that it is human, customized and curated. The human factor in STARBOX comes from minimizing barriers that technology creates between people. The key to enabling trust and meaningful interaction is to create the best possible simulation of having a conversation in a coffee lounge. Customization fosters ownership and user engagement. STARBOX offers customization by letting the designers of the client companies, who are the end-users, build the interior of their box. Finally, the curation aspect is also important for trust between users and for the overall quality of the service. STARBOX is curated by selecting which companies are invited to take part in the service and partially also by the price.


The Solution Space

Concept FüP

Firmenübergreifendes Projektmanagement- system

The Idea in a Nutshell 38

For innovation managers in large-sized companies, FüP is a project management system that offers knowledge sharing about all innovation projects in a company and that can match projects and project teams with similar topics. Therefore members of the FüP community are able to exploit the full potential of the company’s internal implicit knowledge.

Functionality For employees of large-sized companies it is usually hard to get an overview of all past, recent and current innovation projects and project members in the same company. Due to company policies regarding internal communication, responsibility, accountability, and hierarchy project managers usually do not know with whom to exchange questions and thoughts outside their own project team, whose expertise would be helpful or who is facing similar problems and issues. This is because these teams work in different business units or subsidiaries and/or report to different members of the management board. Therefore FüP (Firmenübergreifendes Projektmanagement) is

a software that is docking on already existing project management systems and fosters successful collaborations with other corporate project teams. FüP is an internal data mining tool. By analyzing the large quantities of internally available project data from different internal sources (e.g. project management tools, internal knowledge platforms and wikis, internally published project (status) reports and project documentations), the systems algorithm searches for a good match with similar projects based on clustering, categorization and summarization. If FüP finds related projects, the system will provide the project summary and exchange contact information between both employees and project teams.

User Journey A project manager posts a project he just started on the FüP platform. After FüP is connected to the project management software and after submit aditional information to the FüP webapplication the project team will receive contact informations and updates that are valuable for the different phases of the project.

Impact on Innovation Networks Thanks to this information, it is easier to make internal collaborations happen. Employees can also submit additional information e.g. topic, project members, the current project state and related tags to support matching. The idea is to create a certain standard which companies can implement internally. Running the software is first of all about enabling internal communication (and later on collaboration). It enables employees to build on implicit and explicit knowledge from related projects. Project managers can use contact recommendations given by FüP as the first indicator for looking more closely into other projects and project teams. Additionally, the FüP-platform enables building new links to other innovation departments in one’s own company. FüP can also be used to establish connections with other companies (e.g. sharing summaries of projects in order to find collaborators).


The Solution Space

Concept Dark Discovery Dinner

The Idea in a Nutshell 40

For open-minded business people who feel the need to collaborate, Dark Discovery Dinner is a strongly connecting networking event that enables cross-company intersections and idea sharing without hierarchies, unlike regular conferences. The concept allows personal encounters with shadowed identities.

Functionality The concept was adapted from so called “dinner in the dark” restaurants, where guests eat in a completely dark room. It is a very special situation, with participants reacting and behaving in different ways than normal. Since the participants cannot see each other they are free from prejudices and open to collaborate. The host of a “dinner in the dark meeting” also fulfills the role of a collaboration mediator since making the seating arrangement is a key responsibility. The general approach could either be to invite people to the dinner in the same field of work (eg. “cloud computing dinner”) or to enable knowledge sharing with randomly chosen business backgrounds.

User Journey An IT employee of a big company books a place at a Dark Discovery Dinner that is dedicated to the topic cloud computing. After choosing their dinner in the entrance hall, guests are guided to their tables by visually-impaired waiters. While enjoying this vary special experience he easily connects to other participants and exchanges thoughts and ideas about cloud computing.

Impact on Innovation Networks The idea of the “dinner in the dark” concept is a new cross-industry knowledge sharing format that helps encourage employees to overcome formal conference situations and generates knowledge linking through random encounters. Since the identity of the participants is kept hidden, they feel more free to share their valuable business experience.





After one intense Design Thinking workshop week on “fostering innovation networks” one key insight became clear. We have not completely changed the way companies collaborate and learn from each other, but we have started an open dialogue about the future of innovation in and between organizations and, hopefully, sparked the discourse with some creative ideas. And this was our intention. This workshop was not supposed to be a “one hit wonder.” It was meant to be a starting point for framing an important topic we would like to pursue further in the future. The workshop week has shown to us that Design Thinking principles are working, and even in this short amount of time multidisciplinary teams can tackle a complex and fuzzy problem like building new innovation pathways. The workshop participants were students from different disciplines and more than two-thirds had never done a Design Thinking project before. It is interesting to notice that our findings are in line with other research results (for example, the latest global CEO-study of IBM focusing on the theme “leading through connections”). The results, in particular the insights and opportunity fields derived from the deep dives into the world of innovation managers, have been compelling. Building networks is all about creating trust and believing in people. If organizations want to unleash

the collective creative power for innovation, they should start at their own workplace and question the barriers that have created “silos” in companies. This enables a cultural shift towards an open-minded organization whose members really want to learn mutually. Collaboration with other organizations means partnership; it is no longer about seeing others as foes or as competitors. One of the main findings of our workshop shows that promising collaboration starts small and that creating new opportunities for encounters enables knowledge sharing and mutual learning. Thus, we would like to take action and invite you to join our network, to support the activities and collaborate with other innovative creators in the future. We are looking forward to any of your contributions. During the next months (and years) we, the Creation Center of the Telekom Innovation Laboratories and the HPI School of Design Thinking, is keen to continue working on innovation projects and creative labs to design and test new solutions for collaboration.





The HPI School of Design Thinking The School of Design Thinking at the Hasso-Plattner-Institute began its program in the winter term of 2007/2008. It is Europe’s first innovation school for students of all disciplines. Modeled on the famous at Stanford University in California, Design Thinking is taught and scientifically explored at the Hasso Plattner Institutes in Potsdam and Stanford. The academic course of study runs over one term (Basic) and two terms (Advanced) and requires being present in Potsdam two days per week. In addition to that, students can join the one-week Design Thinking Courses in summer and winter. These programs enable students not only to develop particularly userfriendly products and services but also to challenge and design change processes. In small multidisciplinary teams they find better solutions than individual experts or single-discipline teams ever could. The students work on real life “Design Challenges” that are developed together with project partners from industry, public sector or non-profit organizations. In the HPI D-School students from more than 70 different universities, 60 disciplines

and 20 nations are coached by 36 teachers from different academic backgrounds. Up to 160 students per term are admitted and a certificate from HPI acknowledges successful completion of the course. The program is sponsored by HPI founder, Prof. Hasso Plattner, and the project partner’s contributions. Together with the HPI Academy, the HPI School of Design Thinking offers open courses and tailor-made workshops to companies and institutions. More than 600 professionals per year participate in these highly interactive and professionally coached courses. They learn how to make Design Thinking part of their corporate or institutional culture and routinely create ideas with a great market potential. Contact Information: Hasso-Plattner-Institut, School of Design Thinking Prof.-Dr.-Helmert-Str. 2 - 3, D-14482 Potsdam, Germany Phone: +49-331-5509-506 Email: Web:

Creation Center of the Telekom Innovation Laboratories The Creation Center is a division of the Deutsche Telekom Laboratories in Berlin. It provides a physical and conceptual framework to ideation for our new services and products. We closely observe people in their natural environment in order to find their needs, desires, behaviors and lifestyles. We then leverage these observations to develop insights, find important questions and to build the innovative ideas and concepts for the future. The Creation Center never works alone. At the core of our innovation strategy is the belief that we do not truly make ideas, but our users and clients do. We merely provide the tools, experience and opportunity necessary to bring the best ideas to light. Our deliverables - outstanding ideas and concepts for future products and services - are impossible to produce without the enthusiastic participation of category, segment and brand managers. At the Creation Center they have had the opportunity to take

the time to really look beyond the obvious and to unleash their creative potential. Back at their desks they will have the chance to implement the ideas and concepts they developed with us.

Contact Information: Telekom Innovation Laboratories Creation Center WinterfeldtstraĂ&#x;e 21 – 27, 10781 Berlin Web:


Video of the Design Thinking Week 2013: hpidschool/dt-week


Another example of how companies can collaborate and exchange knowledge is the d.confestival: