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What can innovation do for your business?

Sarat Pediredla16/05/2017Eventsalt

Back in March, Sarat Pediredla - hedgehog lab's co-founder and CEO - invited me and four others to a meeting. With the company becoming an increasingly respected and prominent player in the tech market, he explained that he would like us to deliver a seminar - and would give us the creative freedom to decide how we went about it. Things got off to a good start: within two minutes, we had agreed on a basic idea of what we were looking to achieve...


Innovate Now:

After a week of back-and-forth communication between team members it became clear that while we had all liked the idea, we hadn't exactly hit the ground running. Ironically (you'll realise why later), we therefore turned to a design thinking method to force the matter. I'd enlist the help of lab designer Steve Ridgway to set up and perform a three hour brand sprint.

For me, the most valuable part of the whole process came just before we got into this. Having already read up on the brand sprint concept, I watched this TED talk by Simon Sinek - which had already been viewed by 32m others. By doing so, I was able to see things from a totally new perspective, inverting how we looked at creating our brand during the sprint and even how we subsequently thought about creating one our audience could buy into.  

By the end of that afternoon, we’d formed a brand, realised its values and settled on its personality. We had agreed on our vision, our place in the market, even our event name and format. We had come up with marketing ideas for the short-term and a plan for the long-term. Essentially, within just three hours, we’d been able to do what we'd failed to do previously within three weeks. With over a third of organisations sitting in the late majority when it comes to the adoption of new technologies and concepts, we feel it is time to challenge and inspire those who are late to the party.

We agreed our event will serve to remove the fear and risk associated with being an early adopter. To do this, we will educate our audiences through real-life case studies that demonstrate successful implementation.

Within a couple of days, Steve had created an incredible logo, bringing the brand to life. Sarat then suggested we consider design thinking as a topic for our first event - and, given the success we’d enjoyed when employing one of its concepts, we'd have been silly to say no.

Seminar #01:

Having agreed on the basic premises of our brand, as well as a topic for Seminar #01, it was time to narrow in and focus on our first event.

Soon, we enlisted the help of design thinking expert Paul Sutherland FCIM. A Senior Partner at +ADD Strategy, Paul has amassed over 20 years of experience in the field and is an expert on technology commercialisation. He is therefore a perfect fit to help us achieve our goals.

Thankfully, the experienced marketer was keen to join us - and will be explaining agile and design-led innovation before expanding on how it can be employed within corporate environments. He will also explain the benefits of doing so, discussing why and how adoption empowers leaders in effectively identifying and implementing positive change.

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Next, we were on the lookout for a speaker who could provide further practical background on implementation. With hedgehog lab having previously worked with Thales Group, it didn't take long for the name of Kimberley Abbott, of the company's Customer Innovation and Strategic Growth department, to pop up.

Thales is one of the most advanced organisations in the world. With 25,000 people focused on innovation and €3bn a year invested in it, the business is dedicated to providing new technological solutions to a number of industries. Currently, for example, it is securing the information systems of 19 of the world's 20 largest banks. 

The French organisation generally focuses on working with the aerospace, space, ground transportation, defence and security industries. Its reputation speaks for itself and we’re confident no matter what sector you work in, the company can provide valuable insights into the practical application of agile and design-led innovation.  

Kim meanwhile has been named in the Financial Review's Top 100 Women of Influence and the Young Australian Citizen of the Year back in 2012. She played a part in creating the world's most advanced artificial heart and was also co-founder and CEO of Roka, an award-winning social enterprise developed to break the cycle of poverty in rural India through economic empowerment of women and education.  

With a CV so impressive and Thales a global player in innovative thinking, we are delighted that Kim was impressed enough by the concept of our event that she has agreed to travel from the south of England to join us at hedgehog lab in Newcastle upon Tyne on Thursday 17th August.


Sign me up!:   

With limited spaces, our event will be invite-only. And, understandably, given the generous assistance of our guest speakers, we’ve already seen high demand for places. That being said, if you'd like to find out more, with a view to registering interest in attending, please visit