An Innovation Training Session with SETsquared

Sept 2021, Nasara Al-Hassan. Nasara summarises Sawsan’s approach to innovation training

Sawsan Khuri the founder of Collaborative Capacities is active on LinkedIn, and one of her blog posts on the five reasons to keep innovation alive and well in business caught the attention of the team at SETsquared.

SETsquared is an enterprise partnership and collaboration between five leading research universities in the UK. This organisation aims to provide support programmes that aid in the conversion of ideas into thriving businesses and to facilitate this conversion by organising schemes that encourage researchers to work more innovatively.

Sawsan was invited by SETsquared to deliver a short training session on innovation to their current cohort of startups. First, she discussed the difference between ‘fake innovation’ and ‘real innovation’. Fake innovation is hypothesis driven, does not involve the use of innovation methods such as design thinking, and consists of most ideas coming from one person or an isolated team within the organisation. Implementing real innovation, on the other hand, involves a mindset change at a core level, is data driven, includes engagement from the entire workforce and is practised more than it is spoken about.

Innovation requires an open mindset and a workforce that is confident in sharing their creative views and ideas. Leaders should serve as role models for the new behaviours and mindsets they seek from the workforce. Once a business has this level of engagement from its employees, it becomes more resilient – it begins to understand that with the risk that comes with innovation there is also opportunity and evolution. Through this interactive workshop, the cohort of startups learned how to apply innovation methods throughout their business in order to ensure lasting success.

Allow innovation to take you from creativity to market, problem to a solution and from nothing to something wonderful. As Sawsan says: “The time for innovation is always, and the team for innovation is everyone.”