The Design Exchange, when Design and Intrapreneurship met in a Church in Utrecht

One of the great minds I recently worked with was Carola Verschoor, founder of groh! innovation. We held a Design Exchange on September 23rd, to explore the middle ground between design and intrapreneurship in a church in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Why? To understand how better to help ideas come to life inside large organizations.

The Design Exchange featured a range of speakers, each contributing different experiences and a different story in order to show the many faces of innovation in practice. Thomas Blekman talked about how organizations should be a Kick-Ass Panda using the principles of Effectuation. Esther Beckers from Phillips told the wonderful story of how the MenuMenu cooking consumer research project ended with the creation of the HomeCooker. Bela Evers encouraged the rest of the attendees to let design take on its own form, and to get out of their comfort zones more often. Miguel Melgarejo showed a surprisingly sustainable solution to the issue of a lack of sanitary conditions in India, researched by the Technical University of Delft. Frank Wind, a co-founder of the Zero Gravity Movement, presented his solution to sustainable pig farming. Martin Lloyd from Greenpeace introduced the simulation of a real situation with the purpose of enhancing responsiveness to the Greenpeace organization regarding unexpected public events. Thimon De Jong from Trends Active entertained the audience with stories of recent trends in various industries.

I shared some of the key learnings from the organisations featured in our Design Transitions book including Novabase in Portugal, and the Minas Gerais Government in Brazil on their approach to embedding design within their organisations.

The day had a lot of interaction, fun and exchange! We shared our love for design, meaningful business and entrepreneurial passion. For more information check out Future ideas and The Design Exchange. My own key insights from the Design Exchange? Designers want to be like business people, and business people want to be like designers!

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