Innovation Playground – a 2-days work shop on Design Thinking

​Center for Business Innovation (CBI) at Chalmers University, recently arranged a workshop where companies got to ‘play with’ design as a tool to increase their innovation capacity. Lisa Carlgren was one of the researchers who facilitated the workshop.
Tell us about Innovation Playground!
Innovation Playground is a 2-day workshop that allows participants to try out and "play with" a design-inspired approach to user-centered innovation: design thinking (DT). The workshop is facilitated by a team of researchers from CBI consisting of Maria Elmquist, Ingo Rauth and myself. We all have practical and research based experience in regards to DT.

What is in it for the participating companies?
Participants get to know the concept hands-on, through exercises and project work. In addition, relevant practical examples will be presented to illustrate how DT could be applied in an organizational environment, and the team share insights from research on DT in large American and German organizations.

Which companies participated in the Innovation Playground?
This year we had participants from among others Flexlink, Consilium, Billerud Korsnäs, Ericsson AB.

What type of activities are the participants doing?
DT is first and foremost a user-centered approach, so several empathy-building activities such as interviews, observations and the creation of personas to represent their intended users. Methods to synthesize rich data into compelling insights, and the creation of rough prototypes by means of papers, glue, cardboard as well as role-play.

How does it work with your consultant role as researchers vis-à-vis the companies?
It is not complicated: The “third task” for researchers is to disseminate knowledge from research to the society in general and to Swedish firms in specific. This kind of efforts are also encouraged by funding organizations such as Vinnova, who is also funding the Innovation Playgrounds. It is important to stress that we are by no means selling or promoting design thinking – we simply expose companies to the approach and welcome their critical discussion during and after the training.

Will you do it again, and on which theme?
We are planning a third Playground in late November 2015. We will play around a bit with the format, but the theme will be the same.

What can a company do if they are interested in participating?
They can visit, and they are welcome to contact Ingo Rauth, Maria Elmquist or me.

Contact information

Interview by: Sofia Börjesson
Translation: Louise Rönnestad
Illustration: Ingo Rauth
Photo: Nils Kumar

Page manager Published: Wed 17 Jun 2015.