The Creating Cultures of Innovation programme was a £1m action research project led by GSA, funded by Scottish Funding Council to explore how design can act as a vehicle to enhance the innovative capacity of organisations. This involved working with businesses to transform their innovation capability, and increase their competitiveness using design innovation as a transformational catalyst. In addition the project explored new approaches to capturing impact such as evidence of changes in behaviours and attitude, capturing the innovation journey, and moments that triggered change.

Key findings of CCOI include that design thinking skills enable participants to take a user‐centred approach to innovation, encouraging teams to think about the broader impact of decisions. By encouraging an experimental approach to testing and prototyping, participants overcame their fear of failure, moving to a solution‐focused mindset. Involving leaders at all levels of the organisation as champions of the innovation process was key to the success of the interventions. The ripple effect used to cascade skills and learning from the workshops across the organisation has proved key to engaging employees and overcoming internal inhibitors, ensuring a sustainable impact.

A pilot CCOI programme in 2010–2012 worked with three organisations in Scotland: Scott & Fyfe, a technical textile manufacturer; Schuh, a high-street shoe retailer; and Cairngorm Mountain Ltd., a not‐for‐profit organisation who manage recreational facilities in the Cairngorms. The project was delivered through a series of integrated workshops delivered at approximately monthly intervals, with interim tasks for the workplace. A second phase of development (2012–2014) is significantly expanding the scale of business engagement, further refining the delivery model and gathering robust evidence of its effectiveness and economic impact. CCOI is currently working to validate the outcomes of the pilot project by working with more companies, different types of organisations (for example, the public sector), and different organisation structures (such as clusters of companies).

Learn more about this project here
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