Innovation is the ability to stand back, look at the bigger picture and encounter and recognize opportunities. It usually refers to renewing, changing or creating more effective processes, products or methods.
It is difficult to quantify the benefits of design-led innovation and defining this is one of the biggest challenges in the commercial environment.
The inclusion of innovation is taking a different approach to design: have a number of projects on the go at any one time, and expect that some will work and some will not.
In 2010 Scott and Fyfe took part in an innovation-led project with Glasgow School of Art that focused on developing and learning new creative based skills. These skill sets could then be used throughout the organisation to help increase idea generation and creative thinking.
These skill sets are still used daily within our entire workforce and a clear cultural change has taken place as a result. Staff members have been given the platform and tools to express themselves and idea generation can now flourish.
Throughout our journey we have hosted events and visits from a range of companies / educational organisations / public agencies involved in economic development, enterprise, innovation and investment in business. We have worked on projects with Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design students and Glasgow School of Art giving the students an opportunity to work alongside and understand an industry partner to gather new skills and experiences. We have hosted tours for St. Andrews and Stirling Universities showing them how our business operates and how we work together as a team. We are keen to learn from others, two-way education and communication being at the heart of each visit.
Scott & Fyfe invests heavily in recruitment of future leaders by taking on interns (paid) from a broad range of disciplines and cultures e.g. design graduates from Duncan of Jordanstone, a textile student from Netherlands, an accountancy graduate from Mongolia, a marketing graduate from Pakistan. The team has been further strengthened by the hiring of graduates from this temporary internship route.
Scott & Fyfe have been involved in a programme that hires unemployed young people, providing initial assistance with employability skills and work experience, which can lead to employment for successful candidates.
Central to our new innovation-led strategy is a revolutionised product development process, instituted in cooperation with the Glasgow School of Art, as part of our drive for the creation and embedding of a culture of innovation.
This 18 month programme in 2010 allowed a cross section of the Scott & Fyfe team to learn innovative tools to develop new ideas effectively, strategically and with purpose. These tools allowed us to enter new markets quickly, diversifying our market coverage and approach. The tools and techniques rippled throughout the business and are now in every day use.
The evolution of our product development via a Double Diamond drives an idea all the way from initial field research, development, testing to successful launch in as quick a timeframe as possible at the lowest commercially feasible cost practicable.
We adopt the fail fast approach; failing faster in order to succeed quicker, whilst at the same time learning from our mistakes. Our prototyping system reflects this approach with achieving a prototype a day in 2013. We believe if we prototype faster we can succeed or fail quicker. These failures are used as stepping-stones to the right solution for the future.
Have a look at our innovation toolkit to find out about our tools.
Read the book about our “Creating Cultures of Innovation” project with GSA to find out more about the project.
The PODS allow us to work in an environment that creates dedicated space and an environment that stems new ideas. These areas are away from the day-to-day working.
The Ideation POD is where space is vital. If we have an idea or opportunity to get into a new market the Ideation POD is where this is born. The teams who work in this POD are a mix of colleagues who use their expertise to explore the idea further.
The tools adapted from Glasgow School of Art allow the team to get a wide angled view of the concept to discover if it would be successful and the route to market. The relevant POD leader is then given the responsibility of looking after the project and taking it to market.
To exploit the skills and techniques learned from Glasgow School Of Art the decision was made to restructure the company to work more efficiently to develop new innovative ideas. Previously the company had a sales and marketing department that worked across all market areas. Now there are separate PODs (business units) with a POD Business Manager for each market area with supporting employee groups called PADs (service units) i.e.purchasing, marketing, IT, testing, production, distribution, accounting.
Leadership is entrusted to each POD Business Manager to look after their market area and customer base, making their own decisions based on discussions with their multi-function team. Decisions of higher value would be presented to the board of directors before being granted. The company now works with a top down approach. The PODs are at the top and the board at the bottom, capturing any decisions that cannot be made by the POD business manager. This structure allows quicker decision-making.
The Innovation Space within Scott & Fyfe houses the individual PODs which are all brightly and individually coloured sectioned areas. This allows the POD Business Manager and their team to have a space that they can nurture new ideas for each market. They each have interactive facilities – white boards, mind mapping areas and technical equipment. This lay-out allows us to work in a set-up that sparks collaboration, new ideas and inspiration. Our office space is now open plan which allows POD Business Managers and PAD services to interact more easily and more productively.