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VO Lab at the ISPIM conference by Nastajsia

29 June 2022
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Ioana and Héloise tell us about their experience at ISPIM, a conference in Denmark dedicated to innovation, where they were invited to share their research. But not just that... Indeed, the two researchers took the opportunity to learn more about the creativity, innovation and circular economy of tomorrow.

There’s no better way to come back to the world of VO feeling more energised and inspired than ever!


Why did you participate in ISPIM? What are the results of the research?

IOANA & HELOISE: We were lucky enough to attend the ISPIM conference on Innovation and present a paper we wrote as part of PICesc, together with Professor Julie Hermans who is supervising the research project. The paper explores how creative labs contribute to the development of the paradox mindset of those who participate. In short, the paradox mindset refers to the work of Miron, who postulates that individuals who recognise, accept and feel comfortable with tensions that occur should be more effective in the workplace, show more resilience and be more creative. Our preliminary results indicate that participation in the collective intelligence sessions organised by VO Lab contributes to the development of this paradox mindset.

Of course, we also took the opportunity to participate in numerous sessions on creativity, innovation and the circular economy, and we visited creative spaces and ecosystems in Copenhagen including the Danish Design Center and Digital Hub Denmark, which inspired us a lot.

What are the 3 key things you learnt from the other sessions?

Denmark has more than 2,000 unicorns within its borders. We’re not referring to the mythical animal here, as the term “unicorn” in this case describes a start-up active in new technologies, with a valuation of at least one billion dollars and with a high growth potential. They are the result of close and effective collaboration between public authorities, private investment funds and entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Citizens' trust and ethical aspects play a key role in the development of new products or services, including solutions with a significant digital component. Transparency, along with involving them in the development process through co-creation sessions, increases trust.

Serious gaming, i.e. the use of board games to address societal or business challenges, can be used in co-creation to bring a different vision and solve challenges in a more original way.

What are the 3 key messages that inspired you for the Lab?

“A product or service should be designed to help people live more sustainably.”  
Inspired by Pour, K, Space 10

“People before innovation. Innovation must be centred on people and the problems they face.” Inspired by Christensen, N., Digital Hub Denmark

These first two quotes resonate totally with the mission of the Lab. This focuses on co-constructing solutions that take into consideration both people and the planet. To achieve this, we need to include as many stakeholders as possible in our thinking - users, customers, suppliers, and experts who can enlighten us on the impact we have on others and on our planet. We seek the views of targets at source to ensure that the direction we are taking is the right one. This approach allows us to co-create communication and event concepts today that resonate deeply with people.

“Sometimes the goal of the innovation process is its impact on people, on the group.” Inspired by Griesbach, D., University of Applied Sciences Lucerne (HSLU), Switzerland

Each person can contribute to change and it is the experience of doing so that will make the difference. The role of the Lab is to simplify and align the vision or direction of the project, to accompany everyone in the process and to provide the right tools.

And a practical tip for companies that want to innovate?

Creativity must be encouraged and stimulated to innovate. To strengthen this, it is important to promote it and support it on an individual and collective level. I would recommend providing employees with tools and space to share knowledge, develop ideas and learn from each other. ​

At VO, we have carried out research to understand the impact of the lab on the VO Group and its employees. And the preliminary results of the research show that the Lab is contributing to the culture and capacity for innovation of VO and its collaborators.