We do innovation camps, an extraordinary intense and rapid approach to open innovation.
An innovation camp can basically be understood as a really long workshop, lasting a couple of weeks, with three major differences:
1. our camp members don’t only work but also live together in one location
2. we don’t stop only with longish discussions and conceptual papers – we help people starting to build and test their ideas
3. it’s okay to also have fun during our camps.
The “living and working” camp environment fosters deep, trust-based relationships that allow the camp team to draw on the tacit knowledge of each participant. In this way we approach existing problems in a different mindset and come up with new solutions.
Innovation camps are unique spaces of freedom: The freedom to experiment, to think the unthinkable, do the “undoable” and to focus entirely on a chosen topic. Furthermore the format combines the advantages of offline and online interaction: The intensity and emotionally concentrated face-to-face co-operation with the open exchange of ideas and knowledge of the web culture.
For every camp we curate interdisciplinary teams of participants and bring them together in a place where new thinking for a specific topic area (new land) is made possible – out of a young, unobstructed view for the networked and technologised world of today and tomorrow. At the same time, every idea and scenario is considered in light of its future impacts on the environment, society, our common future.
The cornerstones of the innovation camp framework:
Topic: All topics have to balance out a clear orientation on the one extreme and enough latitude for ideas and visions from the young generation on the other. We are open for new suggestions from potential partners, but also searching for partners for certain desired topics.
Aim: Adapted to the partners and the set topic, the expedition goal is a mixture of the following: The creation of grand scenarios and visions and the development and testing of directly implementable ideas
Participants: The camp team will be assembled out of 15-45 international and interdisciplinary thinkers and doers between the ages of 18-30, carefully selected for the topic. To achieve a maximum transfer effect, selected employees of the expedition partner and experienced experts of various fields will also participate for both short and extended lengths.
Duration: In order to establish strong group dynamics and a deep thematic penetration to realize the “do-tank”, an expedition duration of 4+ weeks is recommended.
Location: We scout a location and develop it into an inspiring temporary living and working environment offering a lot of freedom for redesign and transformation.
Methodology: We have a comprehensive repertoire of methods and tools for idea creation, prototyping, team building, knowledge sharing and feedback and facilitate the process of the camp. Furthermore, for every topic-specific innovation camp a pool of experts is assembled for input sessions and “reality checks”.
Process: A constantly challenging and unconventional camp process is carefully planned from the first introduction to the presentation of the results, including alternate paths. Yet, as with framework aiming for new ideas, we constantly adapt the route to find valuable, yet remote, treasures.
Partner: Our partners finance, participate in, and profit from the camp: A potential utilization of the results, unusual findings on product and process level, the communicative appearance as sponsor and partner and the direct access to the network of the camp participants are just some of the multiple benefits that we realize with and for our partners.
Results: Every camp aims to come up with new solutions to existing problems. New visions, actionable ideas and prototypes will be developed and realized. The implementation of the experience and results of the camp for our partners will be professionally assisted, if desired, by specialized change management agencies we cooperate with.
Innovation camp example:
In October 2009, we jointly with 2 others initiated the prototype of our innovation camps called Palomar5.
Together with our partner Deutsche Telekom we brought together 30 people beneath the age of 30, 30 different disciplines and backgrounds from all around the world. The camp took place in a unique 2000sqm Location in Berlin, Germany for 6 weeks aiming to design and build a living prototype of how we want to work in the future. See the movie documentation right here.
Besides our main format ‘innovation camp‘ we also organize various talks and workshops. Events around topics that usually miss out, we bring together extraordinary people that normally wouldn’t meet, prepare sessions to create future scenarios or guide people to explore new ways of how to create together in a surprising, but productive way. Some examples can be found here.