Designing Change: Incubate the Future

About This Session

Innovation is not about ideas. Anyone with a sharpie marker and a pad of stickies can plaster the wall with dozens of ideas that could really make an impact. The hard part is in building the skills and culture in which those new ideas can thrive, so they don’t get eaten alive by old habits and structures.

This session will describe an approach we’re developing to building an innovation culture through small experiments that grow and scale over time. A project team is trained in new skills and guided through a new initiative, producing champions that bring their colleagues into the new way of working. This work creates a sharable story of successes and failures that demonstrates the benefit organization-wide and engages others into the fold. Senior leadership, middle management and front-line staff all participate in vital and distinct ways. Interest and capacity in the new way of working spreads and eventually it becomes “just the way we work around here”.

Now the organization is primed for innovation with an increased capacity to adapt to shifting market conditions, take on new types of projects, focus on customer value and minimize risk through small bets and structured iteration.

The presentation of the approach will be supported by stories of client experiences – both successes and failures!

This will be an interactive session in which participants will be invited to apply the thinking to their own organizational or client challenges.

What You’ll Learn

  1. an understanding of an approach to incubating and scaling future-oriented skills and initiatives to drive a culture of innovation
  2. awareness of key skills needed to drive this kind of change work, and key challenges that can arise
  3. application and discussion on participant challenges

About Erika

Erika has facilitated and coached a wide range of frontline teams as they face the challenges of innovation and large-scale problem and puzzle solving. Drawing on more than a decade of experience as a learning designer and teacher, she applies her extensive expertise in liberating structures, positive deviance and change artistry to work with clients across diverse sectors, including University Health Network, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Rio Tinto, OCAD University (formerly Ontario College of Art & Design) and the United Way. Company: Blog:

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