We designed a one-day workshop that posed some questions for a marketing team in search of innovation. How do they harness great ideas in their business, select the best and
then turn them into something that will make a difference?

We had such a great day with Tinder-Box, thank you so much, you were spot on for the team. We went for a quick drink afterwards and everyone was so fired up. We have already had an invite from one of the team to our first brainstorm using the new methods you taught us!

Marketing Director, Penguin Random House

The challenge

The publishing environment is changing at a rapid rate of knots, transformed by the advent of online and digital. As one of the largest book publishing companies in the UK, the Penguin Random House is at the forefront of this huge change in its marketplace. The marketing team from its Transworld Publishers Division came to us with a twin challenge: could we help them be more innovative - as well as more practical in how they executed their ideas? Creating a work culture that creates great ideas is only half the challenge, after all. You also need to be able to turn those (potentially disruptive) ideas into applications that can benefit your business.

There were two strands to the work we did over a one-day workshop: looking at how people innovate as well as how process can lead to innovation. The multi-perspective approach we proposed meant the team would each understand their own role in innovation as well as have formalised methods to take their ideas onto execution.

Our approach

In practice

So first we looked at innovation from a human perspective. We used psychometric testing to look at the traits and habits that the team currently had. How could we use these to bring innovation to life? We identified team members who particularly enjoyed challenging the conventional way of doing things. How could we make sure that they constantly challenged each other to think differently - and were listened to? For example, early on we found that as the team would generate new thinking and approaches, the team's dynamic would work to discount the more disruptive (and therefore potentially more valuable!) ideas quite quickly. In a good team each person should have a role in making innovation happen. So we also looked at taking the ingredients of the team and mixing them so that everyone felt they had licence to think differently. The second thing we looked at was the process of innovation. After all, ideas don't tend to randomly happen in most businesses. Like anything though, there are tools you can use that give your people the space and time to generate new ideas. We looked beyond that too, to making those ideas happen. How do evaluate the best ideas and then execute them? We worked on a 4-step innovation process that would take ideas from conception through filtering and onto execution. Once the team got to grips with the process, we used this new tool to tackle live business issues and workshop new ideas.

The team took away clear individual and team action plans to bring what they'd learned to life in the business. Since our workshop they have created innovation forums across the company to tackle specific business challenges and we're looking forward to finding out how they get on.

The results

In our opinion, too many approaches to this area only look at the process of innovation and not the personalities behind it. By looking at how both elements can work together I think we really helped make a long-lasting impact on how the team works.

About Random House

One of the largest general book publishing companies in the UK, Penguin Random House is a company formed from the merger between the book publishers Random House, owned by Bertelsmann, and Penguin Group, owned by Pearson PLC.  View website