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Innovation Workshops

Learn Innovation Through Active Exercises

Whether it's a half-day introduction or an intensive four-day program, Dave can tailor a workshop to the challenges facing your business. Some representative workshops are listed below, but there are many other possible topics. Contact us to schedule a planning call.

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Featured Workshop Topics

The topics below can be covered quickly in a half-day overview or in depth through an intensive two week program. Topics can be mixed and matched to meet your company's needs. And, whether you choose a general introduction or an intensive deep dive, the workshop will be energizing, challenging, active, and fun.

Innovating in Existing Markets: Reviving Mature Products and Services

How do you innovate and improve existing products or services? If all you create is incremental improvements, you’ll quickly become a commodity. But revolutionary, disruptive innovation is often expensive, difficult, and prone to failure.

This workshop focuses on a third type of innovation that is neither incremental nor disruptive. It’s an approach that many successful companies such as USAA, Sherwin-Williams, LEGO, Victoria’s Secret, Novo Nordisk, Gatorade, and Logitech have used to revive challenged products in mature markets. This low-risk, high-reward strategy is an approach to innovation that all company leaders should understand so that they can recognize it when their competitors practice it and apply it when it will give them a competitive advantage.

Through lectures, case studies, hands-on activities, and an innovation simulation, you’ll learn a set of proven techniques for mastering this approach to innovation. Integrated with these techniques is MIT’s unique Distributed Leadership Model—an impactful leadership framework based on four capabilities that support leaders who need to be creative and adaptive in new and unexpected ways. This model will help you deliver value-creating innovation and leverage the leadership capacity that exists throughout your organization.

Beyond Design Thinking: Overcoming the Seven Traps That Will Kill a Design Thinking Project

Many companies have invested a great deal in Design Thinking training, with some notable successes. But are you getting the most from your investment? Teams trying to execute their new Design Thinking skills in their company’s existing environment often experience frustration and failure. Practices that help a company succeed in traditional product development will unintentionally sabotage a broader Design Thinking effort. Specifically, there are seven traps that teams fall into when they bring back Design Thinking techniques to their companies:

  • The Wrong Product Manager role
  • The Narrow Business Case
  • “Seagull” Management Reviews
  • A Compressed Field Research Effort
  • Unintentional Sabotage by the Support Team
  • The “Perfect Prototype” Problem
  • Death by Stage-Gate

 

In this workshop, you’ll learn about these traps, understand how each could affect your Design Thinking process, and learn how to address them. This interactive program will give you:

  • A diagnostic to help you understand where your Design Thinking initiative will experience problems
  • A structured framework for communicating the benefits and requirements of Design Thinking to your organization
  • Recommendations for changes in roles, processes, structure, and metrics to enable successful Design Thinking
  • Specific next steps for you and your company

Innovation Tournaments

Tournaments are a proven method for generating more and better ideas for new products and services. But not all tournaments are successful – there are nine different decisions that have to be made, and a wrong choice can cause a tournament to become an expensive disaster. This workshop will teach the science of innovation tournaments and give everyone a chance to apply those lessons by participating in an actual tournament. By the end of this workshop you’ll have learned how tournaments can be structured, where problems can occur, and how you can develop a successful tournament for your company.

Building Your Innovation Leadership Capability

How do you lead innovation? Leading a group through an innovation project is a challenging process that is much different than other types of work. The skills that let you succeed and rise in a company may not serve you well when you’re leading innovation, and can even lead you to make exactly the wrong decisions.

What makes this more complex is that there is no single approach to innovation. Sometimes you need to sail for blue oceans while other times require you to adopt disruptive new technology. Sometimes all that’s needed is an incremental improvement to a current product line, but often you need to uncover latent needs through an intensive field research effort.

This workshop helps you understand the different types of innovation, when to use each, and how to lead a team through each. It will teach you a proven and dependable set of innovation techniques and give you a roadmap for putting them together. Through lectures, case studies, hands-on activities, and a smartphone-based simulation, you’ll learn a set of tried-and-true methods for leading innovation.

This program is designed for team leaders and product managers, and also for the mid-level and senior managers who have to supervise them.

This interactive program will give participants:

  • A set of tried-and-true tools and techniques for leading innovation
  • A structured framework for applying those tools and techniques
  • Recommendations for changes in roles, processes, structure, and metrics to enable successful innovation

Innovation Workshop Testimonials

"Hire David!"

Stephanie Steeves
Merck

I’ve worked with David twice now, and each time it has been a pleasure. David delivers impactful, insightful, and entertaining presentations, followed by “serious play” workshops. When the LEGO pieces come out, it delights both customers and employees, but it is truly the unique exercise that David leads that is most impressive. He tailors each workshop to the audience present, down to customizing LEGO minifigures and pieces to match your business. If you’re looking for a different way to inspire and activate your team – hire David!

"Robertson's 'Cards Against Innovation' game engaged the group, got them laughing, and left them with specific ideas where they could innovate"

Josh Klenoff
Founder, The Helm Group

“Robertson’s ‘Cards Against Innovation’ game was an entertaining way to illustrate the major points of his talk – it engaged the group, got them laughing, and left them with some specific ideas for where they could innovate.”

""A real high point for our congress""

Christopher Beattie
Merck Animal Health

“I’d seen David present before at an international business conference and when we were planning our Congress with innovation as the main theme, he immediately came to mind as our first-choice keynote speaker. Outside of the compelling background story of Lego’s innovation journey and the faultless delivery of his presentation, I was most impressed by how David actively contributed to our planning process and coordinated our (Lego-themed) innovation workshop. Enthusiastic and approachable, great to see a speaker so ready to immerse themselves in our event and engage with delegates outside of the meeting room. His contribution was a real high point for our congress.”

"David Brings Clarity To An Often Ambiguous And Complex Discussion"

Anders Wester
Tetra Pak

“David’s presentation here at Tetra Pak was very much appreciated by both Tetra Pak and Nokia. David brings clarity to an often ambiguous and complex discussion.”

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