It is ironic that so many innovation programs did not digitally transform until COVID forced it. A lot of innovation programs were built on the assumption that teams would be co-located. The prevailing assumption was that creativity and innovation could only happen when we are in person throwing sticky notes on the wall and such.

Today’s crucial challenges won’t wait for a return to business as usual. The ability to mobilize remote teams to solve strategic problems innovatively is imperative. For the leasing and finance community, practical design thinking principles are essential, but how do you do it, especially if your team is remote?

“Yes, there are honestly some things that are harder to do remote, there’s also a lot of benefits of going remote. We are able to connect with different people, it allows us to bring in the right people at the right time, to draw on different stages for different experiences of the journey.”
– Duncan Brannan

The fourth session of the TomorrowZone UnConference winter series “Disruptive Design Thinking: Jumpstart Workshop” was an insightful exploration lead by Brian McAuliffe and Duncan Brannan of Tree House Innovation.

Brian is a seasoned designer, innovation coach, and award-winning producer with credits on blockbuster titles including The Lord of The Rings trilogy, Harry Potter and Doctor Who games.

Duncan is a Partner at Treehouse Innovation, teaches on corporate training programs at Cambridge University, and has designed and led engagements with organizations including American Express, Sony Playstation and Coca Cola.

The session was designed to give the UnConference thought leaders the opportunity to:

  • Understand the key stages of collaborative problem solving
  • Take a first step in learning how to engage remote teams
  • Gain awareness of design thinking fundamentals
  • Practice remote creative collaboration, digital ideation and prototyping methods
  • Use the Sprintbase platform in the context of a realistic project

The challenge of the day? Help a team already in the field to answer the question: How might we improve the airport experience?

This question was further discussed in zoom breakout rooms and continued in the breakout teams via Sprintbase, a design thinking workspace using the creative tools and mindsets of design: desirability, viability, sustainability and feasibility.

The chat stream filled with takeaways from the project, which jumpstarted deeper conversation:

  • The mindsets are much more important than the process. – Holly Umhoefer
  • It is ok to dream about the impractical to get to a new think space. – Andrew Cotter
  • Just like finance… massive disruption – digital and otherwise – requires new thinking. – Deb Reuben

“It’s an iterative, continuous process. So, you find what that golden nugget of genius is within your idea and then you start to build on that, until you come up with that new and wonderful thing.”
– Duncan Brannan

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