Innovation & Design Strategy
Innovation | Brand Design Language | Design Assessments | Process Improvement l Strategic Visualization
Integrating design with the business of design, we assist you in facilitating and integrating hundreds of synergistic moments into inspired innovative applications and solutions for building your vision by design.
INNOVATION SERVICES: Insight Tours, Scouting, Listening Posts, Innovation Summits, Sprints, HCDiTM
Leading Organizations are Innovating Through Benchmarking & Best Practices
Insight Tours fuel the innovation process internally for organizations by gaining insights into best practices of other successful businesses. They create exposure to US or international cross-industry leaders to inform a challenge or improve operations and processes. This in-person experience allows two organizations to learn form each other by sharing what is working, as well as their key challenges based on a specific topic.
Ideas for tours:
- Improve customer service
- Enhance your innovation process
- Integrate human-centered design thinking into your organization
- Review branding best practices
- Learn what creates an exceptional environment
Insight Tours are led by Intersection staff and attended by key stakeholders in your organization. The Intersection team works closely to establish the key objectives of the tour. A detailed itinerary is developed after carefully selecting leading innovative companies from Intersection’s vast Power of Collective ThoughtTM global network. At the end of the tour, a one-day workshop with your key stakeholders is held to discuss new insights, opportunities, and next steps.
To learn more about an Insight Tour for your organization, contact us today.
Intersection has led Insight Tours for these Fortune 500 companies and more representing a diverse industry mix.
Global Research: Listening Posts
Catalysts for change can come from any direction, any industry, any part of the world. As a way to broaden organizational awareness and preparation for the future, Intersection offers qualitative Global Research to our clients. This research can ultimately inform the executive management’s growth strategy plan by better understanding global trends that may impact their future business. Through this diverse perspective, organizations gain a better understanding of potential market influencers, raising awareness about consumer behavior and helping to mitigate their investment risks.
NTERSECTION conducted research in Japan and India via a “Listening Post” methodology for a leading food organization looking to identify trends that would impact their business in 2030. Listening Posts act as “ears to the ground” across the globe. Through guidelines and weekly direction provided by Intersection, Listening Posts channel trends and insights back to the USA where Intersection synthesizes the information into relevant and digestible trends that are shared with the client. Trends are translated into Insights and may be synthesized into themes, mega trends, scenarios, concepts and opportunities to inform a client’s strategic direction, as well as the various project teams.
As part of the project, Intersection held workshops with internal staff to develop opportunities from the research. We also developed an immersive, interactive experience for the executive team to better understand the process and impact of the research.
After completing the first cycle of Listening Post research highlighting relevant challenges for 2030, our client was inspired and persuaded to continue the innovation research practices as a formal part of their innovation operations. Listening Posts can be established anywhere in the world. Our sophisticated network is ready to help your organization tap in to global sources of knowledge and inspiration.
To learn more about engaging Listening Posts for your organization, contact us today.
Sometimes knowing where to start innovating is the hardest part.
A Human-Centered Design Innovation Summit gathers select, cross-disciplinary industry experts and internal stakeholders to develop new ideas and work on company challenges. It sends a positive message internally and externally that your organization is thinking proactively about the future of its products, services and employees.
Innovation Summit Benefits
Mitigates risk through market exploration
Inspires ground-breaking innovation
Gains stakeholder buy-in Prioritizes a focus
Provides a filtered portfolio of opportunities
Creates consistency and engages teams in next steps
The Innovation Summit offers a constructive and transparent way to identify and prioritize innovation opportunities. The summit discussion is customized to address organizational priorities.
An innovation summit is typically a one to three day event. In applicable cases, pre-work or internal social platforms are used to bolster engagement and impact. It can be followed-up with creative design bursts and incubator models, which continue refining the process, opportunities and implementing the ideas.
To learn more about Innovation Summits for your organization, contact us today.
SPRINTS are a popular way to learn the Human-Centered Design framework with stakeholders by rallying around a specific organizational or market challenge. SPRINTs are concentrated bursts of Design Thinking activities, typically taking place over a five-day time span or a couple of weeks. SPRINTS are excellent for energizing teams, building excitement around Design Thinking, and providing shareable “quick wins” and tangible proof-points, which can be leveraged into larger projects or requests for further investment. SPRINTs also serve as a great way to re-energize groups at critical stages and quickly address priority issues.
SPRINTS work best with a diverse mix of stakeholders to participate in an interactive, collaborative process that runs the team through creative, end-to-end problem-solving exercise.
The timeline includes:
Pre-work: Defining a specific challenge and selecting the team.
5-Days SPRINT: Ideate, Filter, Prototype, Concept, Test Concept. (Typically five consecutive days.)
Post-Synthesis: Document results and develop a roadmap for next steps.
Alternate SPRINT Models
HYBRID SPRINT – The hybrid engagement combines virtual interfaces and in-person components to create a more dynamic SPRINT model. Stakeholders spend three consecutive days face-to-face and complete additional pre and post work digitally to maximize engagement over a brief period of time. Through technology platforms, this model offers more opportunities to include stakeholders in a decentralized organization.
Hybrid Extended SPRINT – When schedules are more demanding, a typical 5-day SPRINT can be distributed through a series of one-day sessions – physical and digital. (Recommended ”extended” length is one month to maintain focus). Project momentum is key, so maintaining a productive pace and internal interest are critical to success. This model may require additional internal communication to keep stakeholders engaged and reminded of previous progress. The extended timeline, however, may be more manageable for organizations requiring increased flexibility or time to adhere to governing internal protocols. Extended SPRINTs may benefit from additional time to draw on resources or deepen the research. The added virtual connectivity allows for groups to contribute even at a distance.
Select Case Studies
Brand Design Language
Design Strategy / Assessment
Jewish Family Service
Strategic Visualization and Concept Design
Resource Fiber is establishing the U.S. bamboo products manufacturing industry to develop innovative products, supply industrial users with bamboo fiber and create well-paying agricultural & manufacturing jobs.
Based on our Business of Design methodologies, Intersection-Inc worked with their team to create a strategic roadmap, develop and filter numerous opportunities, create an IP strategy, analyze risk and visualize future concepts for returns in the short-term. The presentation secured their Series A funding.
Contact us for a full review of the project.
•Benefits of Strategic Visualization
•Speed Comercialization With Small Fast Wins
•Develop Go To Market Relationships
•Accelerate Cultural Adoption By Communicating Change
•Show Capital Resources Investment Opportunities
The Pharmacy of the Future
When we met CVS, it was an operationally driven company looking to improve innovation processes and create a vision for the pharmacy of the future by exploring the unmet needs of their customers, pharmacists and other stakeholders.
Working under the umbrella of Launch Institute, three leading design innovation studios The Design Academy (USA West coast) Experientia (Europe) Launch Institute (USA East coast) worked together to provide diverse perspectives and research methodologies to better understand their customers' pharmacy experience and inform their strategic vision and business models. An innovation studio was developed for the client where innovation workshops were held to teach the process and distill the research. Ethnographic observations, interviews, secondary research "Learning Journey's" and The Design Academy's Salon were some of the methodologies used to provide best practice and rich insights from a global perspective on customers, pharmacists, healthcare environments, communities, and alternative health experiences.
Research and customer touch points encompassed
• Trends • Form & Space • Workflows • Interaction • Customer Archetype Visualization • Ethnographic Research • Product • Experience design (UX)
• Gave CEO and innovation 'voice'
• Sustainable innovation process development from research to concepts to opportunities and filtering
• Brand product and service experience concepts and opportunities
• Team design thinking skill development and alignment across disciplines
• Business model development
The Magic of Science & Empathy Creating the Brand Language Thread
Intersection / The Design Academy consulted with GE Healthcare on mentoring and unifying the global design team through a Design Philosophy, The Magic of Science and Empathy, and values which have been translated into a brand design language experience.
The Global Design Philosophy presented by Bob Schwartz, GEHC General Manager Design, was rated by GE Healthcare one of their Top 5 Highlights at RSNA 2010 show in Chicago.
'The 'Magic of Science and Empathy' initiative is GE Healthcare's own drive to connect the functional features of its products with emotional benefits. We look to meet the healthcare industry's unmet needs," says Schwartz, General Manager of Global Design at GE Healthcare.
Intersection / The Design Academy developed a color palette based on the DNA strategy.
Healthcare is a major issue in our culture that requires a design's eye to bring a holistic and empathic experience to patients, caregivers, and medical professionals. Intersection / The Design Academy is experienced in creating the innovative framework to transform institutions to realize their human and social capital to heir greatest advantage.
Human-Centered Design Innovation process - HCDiTM
Jewish Family Services
Nonprofits Moving into the Future with HCDiTM
Jewish Family Services (JFS) is a charitable organization working to build a stronger, healthier, more resilient community in San Diego. Today, with nearly a century of experience behind them, JFS is embracing the future with the spirit of a start-up. They are one of only a handful of nonprofits across the country to institute a full-time Innovation Director and embark on a deliberate pathway toward becoming an agile social enterprise.
After careful deliberation, JFS selected INTERSECTION-INC as their guiding innovation partner on INTERSECTION’s Human-Centered Design Innovation – HCDiTM; a comprehensive set of proprietary tools and frameworks curated to structure and support organizational implementation of Human-Centered Design. Internally positioned as the "Heart of Innovation" initiative, the transformational process began by focusing on:
Defining the current state of innovation at JFS
Collaboratively defining the "Heart of Innovation" goals
Improving internal cultural behaviors to be more empathic and innovative
INTERSECTION-INC lead the training and coaching of JFS's leadership team and staff through the essentials of Human-Centered Design. JFS stakeholders learned to empathize and create a common process for listening to the voices and needs of their community. HCDiTM not only introduced the organization to the to skills needed to drive innovation, it increased the quality and frequency of collaboration and communication across the organization. One lesson stands out; incremental changes are key to measurable growth. JFS continues optimistically on its innovation journey and remains a thought leader in nonprofit service design.
As appetites for innovative products and services intensify, companies realize they cannot always develop new ideas internally and seek creative ways to identify young companies to partner with, invest in, or acquire. At the same time, many companies are struggling to challenge and retain young talent.
Recently, for a large, international, manufacturing client Intersection introduced an effective market sensing method called, “Startup Scouting”. Startup Scouting is a way of finding appropriate startups through the development and use of trained specialists focused on identifying opportunities outside the company. For our client, Startup Scouting was implemented to support both the development of an internal innovation culture and the company’s global growth strategy. The overarching drivers of the initiative were to increase employee retention, especially millennial talent, recognize organizational “mavericks,” and achieve more strategic unity on a global level, across six continents.
Scouting can be structured in a variety of ways. For this particular client, three scouting teams across three continental regions were organized to achieve the goal. An internal Scouting team allows organizations to leverage existing resources to build external awareness, reducing the cost of investment.
To Kick-off the initiative, our client drove awareness and engagement in the process with an Innovation Summit, facilitated by Intersection. The summit taught the teams about the start-up community, how to ‘scout,’ and made key introductions. Executive staff was prepped for the program through an exploratory Insight Tour with Intersection, exposing them up-close to the entrepreneurial community and how to discover new opportunities through Startup Scouting.
A Scout, or scouting team’s focus is typically centered on high-priority areas pointed to as being at risk of disruption for the Company. In this case, our client focused its Scouting teams on five Innovation Zones: New Business Models, Customer Experience, Product Performance, Process and Technology and Value Chain and Networking. One individual from each of the three teams was assigned to investigate local practices pertaining to a specific focus area. The three teams of five met, both with corresponding teammates across borders and locally among their cross-focused team, to discuss their findings.
Employee participants were selected based on criteria set forth by the organization, such as having a university degree, no current leadership function, full-time employment with the company, exceptional language skills, and overall eagerness to be a Scout.
The Startup Scouting program was launched during a one week “Startup Scouting Boot Camp” held in Boulder, Colorado during the Spring of 2019. The Boot Camp oriented the 15 millennials to the strategic challenges for the company, the tools and process of scouting and decision-making, and had the scouts engage in the rich Boulder startup community, giving the teams real-world startup experience and connections.
The Scouting program demonstrated the clients long-game commitment to its stakeholders and reinforced trust in the company. Team members and extended staff were encouraged by the exposure to new thinking. In place of monetary rewards, our client offered Scouts the privilege of sharing their findings to company executives and board members; offering them the chance to gain exposure for their initiative and insightful contribution to the organization. The Board made a commitment to fund key joint ventures / acquisitions. To date the company has made a significant investment in a potential disrupting startup and they are assessing a number of other opportunities.
If you’d like to learn more about how your organization might introduce Scouting to its innovation efforts, contact us
IMS Integrated Medical Systems
Design Brand Assessment-Strengthening the Brand through the integration of Design into the Strategy Vision of the Company
IMS is an innovative medical equipment developer recognized as a 'Product Leader' in the Military market who develops integrated product systems for the medical field that clearly demonstrate viable improvements in managing the care of patients and greater efficiencies for the medical practitioners and medical institutions worldwide.
Intersection / The Design Academy, Inc. was contracted to assist and advise on a product development and branding strategy for their commercialization initiative. This first Phase was an Assessment to better understand the company background, objectives, product and positioning and provide recommendations of how to move forward.
The Assessment and recommendations focused on how the Company could reduce Disruptive Technology and Market risk through Design Management and User Experience processes, Improved Product Design, and Cohesive Branding Strategies that help enforce a Product Leadership position in the commercial market.
The assessment team's focus was on assessing the Company's product in terms of a commercial application. Including function, service, aesthetics, materials, device attachments, monitor, software, design language, development process and brand identity of product and communications. While its primary focus was on a Product and Brand analysis, it is within a corporate context, taking into consideration company culture and organization.
The assessment employed a discovery practice in the collection and analysis of evidence. Special attention was given to the evaluation of physical evidence in the form of product, communications materials and other media through which the product and brand is experienced. Analysis was based on interviewing key staff, clients, advisory board members, and contractors, client/expert workshop with an analysis of 'discovery' materials provided. The interview phase was critical and involved a series of interviews, but also observations centered around key areas of culture, organization, process, product and people as it relates to design and branding.
In conjunction with the Assessment, Intersection / The Design Academy also worked on product development, which added additional insights to the Assessment process.
A knowledge-base platform and recommendations on which to build a product and brand commercialization development plan to leverage design and key core competencies at the Company. The Company uses the Assessment as a strategic plan framework.
The longer term goal is to develop an integrated corporate commercialization strategy and plan with a 'design innovation mind' that increases company brand value and minimizes risk while maintaining leadership in the military market, with a focus on potentially profitable innovation of applying technology to commercial market.
In ideal situations, the correct balance can be found between innovation and reduction where a new product can maintain or increase profits and market share, and build on the legacy of an established brand.
Reading the forces that drive product development, what Cagan and Vogel from CMU call "the SET factors of Social, Economic and Technological change", is a challenge particularly in large companies. The number of decisions that must be made when developing a new product is staggering. The larger the company, the more departments and individuals there are and the greater the number of decisions. When companies plan for new product development they can consciously or unconsciously tilt the balance.
Our goal was to evaluate the process at Whirlpool and develop a model of Whirlpool's decision-making process.
A secondary goal was to increase the communication and relationship between design and engineering.
The model of product development was established by observing an existing program at Whirlpool, best practice benchmarking and leveraging our work with other companies where we developed similar models.
We looked for issues of how customer trends are factored in planning, how different departments were represented at each stage of the process and how the brand legacy is considered.
Lifetime Brands is "North America's leading resource for nationally branded kitchenware, tabletop and home decor products." Lifetime Brands markets their products to major Housewares retailers in the United States. Their continued growth significantly impacts their current design innovation structure, process, culture, integration, quality, brand development and how the value of design is defined and measured.
In their quest for pursuing world class design, the Lifetime Brands Product Development & Design Department asked the Intersection to assess their operations to better define the current structure and make key recommendations that could be strategically prioritized into an actionable plan.