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December 21, 2016
A New Approach to Innovation
By: Joe Lesina

Innovating is hard. There is no magic formula for innovation. What we do know is that at a minimum it requires some key ingredients; entrepreneurship, agility, risk-taking, talent and creativity. Today’s businesses find themselves competing in an environment that is exponentially faster than it was only five years ago. For example, the rise of social media decentralised the control businesses had on their brands, technology allowed small players to disrupt entire industries (think of Airbnb and Uber) and the ubiquity of search engines has completely changed how we store and retrieve information (so much so “just, Google it” has entered the casual lexicon). To innovate means to make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products. So how does one create a consistent approach to the unknown? 

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We recently hosted an open house event at The Dock, Accenture’s global centre for innovation in Dublin, not only to showcase our ideas, but to meet with people from the broader innovation community, to hear their thoughts and ideas and to build deeper understanding at the intersection of startups and big business.  Conversations covered interesting themes including new technologies (VR, Robotics), new platforms (Connected Building) and new businesses (UniTuition), however, one idea seemed to dominate the scene – to bring innovation, we need to change the way we approach our work. Innovative methodologies and processes including Agile Development, Design Sprints and User Centricity were hot topics for discussion and experts from The Dock shared great insights and knowledge from their experience.

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Design thinking, a personal favourite, is a core methodology adopted at The Dock. Here, problem solving is about designing for great experiences across all touchpoints an end user has with a business. Our people come from different disciplines with different perspectives and join with business stakeholders to immerse themselves in design research, exploring and validating ideas with end users using prototypes before entering the market. With the Fjord Design Studio based at The Dock, we are bringing human centric design to the heart of every service.

Scrum is largely adopted by many teams here and it focuses on allowing comfort in taking risks and on ensuring flexibility to change direction at the same time.

Co-creation is also at the heart of what we do, in fact we approach problems by connecting different people, backgrounds and skills to maximise different points of view and tackle problems from multiple angles. Most of our projects are made by an energetic combination of designers, developers and subject matter experts, often involving startups, clients, research centres and universities in the mix. As you can imagine, it is an open environment in every way where different opinions and different people are crucial.

This is the reason why diversity and collaboration are so important for what we do at The Dock. Although there is no universal formula for innovation, we’re experimenting with diverse, talented teams, new methodologies and emerging technology to create the innovation magic.

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