Global Innovation Launchpad Innovation Workshops

Innovation Workshops:

Participants should expect these modules to be highly interactive and creative in nature. While there will be some lecture material, there will also be individual and group exercises and presentations. Our program consolidates and incorporates decisive yet unconventional suggestions from influential innovation research. Participants will be deliberately challenged to engage in activities which, although safe and appropriate, are nevertheless outside the comfort zone of a traditional business setting. It is imperative that participants bring with them an open mind and a commitment to devoting energy and thought to creative engagement.

Module Overviews:

  • Introducing the Design Thinking Method:
    • Internalizing the five steps of the design thinking method to solve human-centered problems, and learning to recognize applications for the method to create and capture value in career context and in everyday life
    • Based on material from Stanford d.school, Stanford MBA program, and TXRX Labs in Houston Texas
  • Building Creative Confidence:
    • Knowing how to lower the inhibitions blocking your creativity as well as how to channel it as a tool to solve problems
    • Developed based on material from Executive Director of Stanford Technology Ventures Program Tina Seelig, Y Combinator Startup Incubator, and Stanford creativity professor Jonathan Bendor
  • Empathic Researching:
    • Understanding another person’s point of view and discovering their true problems and pain points
    • Based on content from Stanford Start X Accelerator, IBM’s Bluemix Platform, and from founders of Stanford’s d.school and IDEO
  • Training Sustainable and Effective Teamwork:
    • Appreciating and shaping team culture as well as recognizing the challenges and benefits of diversity on the team
    • Based on material from the Stanford MBA program, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
  • Efficient Prototyping:
    • Testing new ideas to maximize progress and minimize consumption of resources
    • Developed from Google X, Intuit founder Scott Cook, and the Stanford Venture Studio
  • Influential Business Presentation Strategy:
    • How to win trust and influence using successful presentation tactics from around the Silicon Valley
    • Adapted from Stanford MBA Material, Google Director of Communications Raymond Nasir, and KPCB Chief Product Officer Bing Gordon
  • Preparing a Creative Working Environment:
    • Participants will learn and implement best practices for arranging physical environments to encourage innovation and optimize for creative success
    • Based on content from the Stanford d.school, Google Innovation and Creativity Program Director Frederik Pferdt, Start X Accelerator Program, and Y Combinator Startup Incubator


Further Descriptions of Innovation Workshops:

What is the Purpose of The Design Thinking Method?

Aside from nature, any environment, process, or object was designed by humans for humans. Designing is the process by which humans prepare these environments, processes, or objects to help defined users accomplish specific goals. The design thinking method, birthed in the Silicon Valley and developed in Stanford’s d.school, solidifies this process into a step-by-step procedure to identify compelling problems and develop feasible solutions. The method can be applied in a variety of contexts, from creating entirely new industries to assisting individuals in personal planning. The design thinking method compensates for its high-risk reliance on productive creativity by being fast and cheap to implement.


What is the Purpose of Creativity Exercises?

We will promote a specific, functioning definition of creativity and several particular ways in which the skill can be applied to create and capture value. Based on research compiled by professors at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and methods applied within Stanford’s d.school and many successful Silicon Valley firms, these creativity exercises will help participants by increasing their problem-solving efficiency and by enabling them to overcome challenges that non-creative thinkers cannot overcome. In addition, participants will know how to recognize when creativity is being personally or socially stifled and will have the necessary skills to remove those inhibitions.


What is the Purpose of Empathic Training?

Relating to others and understanding their problems is the first major step in solving those problems, and it is also a common quality in successful leadership. Empathy training teaches participants how to discover and categorize problems by extracting and analyzing data from their observations of others. This is a stalwart of Stanford’s Design Thinking methodology, and it has been championed professionally by institutions such as Google, Intuit, and IDEO. Participants will learn the framework for identifying their assumptions and those of their subjects, and they will be able to identify the problems’ root causes and distinguish between their various critical points. For students, these skills will help build confidence and rise to positions of leadership.


What is the Purpose of Teamwork Training?

More than half of innovative ventures dissolve because of internal conflicts between team members. New empirical research at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business has helped to shed light on why this happens, and a collection of best practices from across a variety of successful firms helps to circumvent and resolve teamwork issues. Channeling these insights, this module will teach participants to build and sustain strong company culture through shared vision, open communication, and effective utilization of cognitive diversity.


What is the Purpose of Prototyping to Learn?

In the world of innovation, the problems that are being solved and the circumstances in which the company is working are novel, lacking precedents and associated best practices. Traditional research and planning often yields little predictive power for the company’s success, the main reason for the wide variability in the performance of new ventures and the firms which back them. The flexibility of a lean business allows the startup to test new ideas to maximize progress and minimize consumption of resources. This module will teach this method and provide several compelling examples from the innovative firms.


What is the Purpose of Developing Compelling Presentation Skills?

Effective communication of ideas, especially new ideas, is important in all professions. Building this important skill only through experience is possible, but it is time-consuming and often incomplete. Drawing on best practices from the business world, the Silicon Valley startup scene, and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, the presentation exercises in this module will teach participants how to communicate strategically in front of a wide variety audiences. Covering topics such as Concise Message Theory (CMT), voice projection, body movements, visual aid strategy, and the art of the fundraising pitch, the module will enable participants to win trust and approval for their ideas as well as for themselves.


What is the Purpose of Preparing a Creative Working Environment?

While people throughout much of human history have been designing physical space to promote certain kinds of thinking and behavior, a growing collection of scientific research is now clarifying the psychology underlying this process and allowing for the maximization of its impact. To promote innovation in particular, the best available methods for the preparation of physical space come from those institutions and individuals studying and professionally practicing the convergence of traditional architecture and design with contemporary design thinking. This module will explore ideal ways to prepare a space to influence the psychology of its users, include the arrangement of the furniture, the lighting intensity and source, the decorations on the walls, the ambient and deliberate sounds, and the culture of the interaction with objects inside the arrangement.


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