Becoming an Innovator (Workshop)

Becoming an Innovator (Workshop)

Brandnew workshop on how to improve your products, processes and services by discovering innovative solutions

7-8 September 2009 (10-18)
Location: Pullman Diegem (Diegem)
Presented in English by
Price: 1400 EUR (excl. 21% VAT)

This event is history, please check out the List of Upcoming Seminars, or send us an email

Check out our related in-house workshops:

 Learning Objectives

How can you become an Innovator ?

Everybody can learn to innovate. Although there is no "innovation process", there are techniques, tools and strategies that you can use. Furthermore, they can be integrated into your development process to make you more creative, and to look at problems in a more productive way. Innovation is not an additional task, it is part of what you do every day.

"Innovation is trying to figure out a way to do something better than itís ever been done before." - David Neeleman, founder and CEO of JetBlue

Innovation is not the same as invention. Most innovations reuse existing elements or ideas by recombining them in innovative ways. Even the prolific Thomas Edison invented very little - most of his innovations, including the light bulb, X-rays and the phonograph, were recombinations of existing ideas and technologies. Similarly, most of the elements you need for your next innovation are available to you now. You just have to know where to find them and how to recombine them.

"Part of the challenge of innovation is coming up with the problem to solve, not just its solution" - Scott Berkun

The objective of your innovation is to find a better fit between your business and your processes, systems, products and services. An innovative solution is one that costs no more - it usually costs less - and makes innovative use of existing processes and technology. Innovation means looking at the problem in a different way to find the solutions that evade conventional requirements techniques.

How will this workshop make you a (better) innovator ?

This course will not turn you into another Thomas Edison or Leonardo da Vinci, but you will learn enough innovation techniques to generate better business solutions, which work more harmoniously in your business environment, and generate less change requests.

"We need creativity in order to break free from the temporary structures that have been set up by a particular sequence of experience" - Edward de Bono

Becoming more innovative is mainly about changing the way you look at problems, and seeing solutions in unrelated fields. To be creative, it is not necessary to wear silly hats or sit on the floor of special rooms: all techniques in this course can be applied without embarrassment. Instead, practical techniques such as constraint removal are done by looking at the problem space in a different way, one that lets you see the assumed restrictions on solutions, and experimenting with what happens when you change or overcome the constraint.

This course offers you techniques for having practical, workable ideas. Guaranteed.

Why should you attend this workshop ?

We donít play games. We will teach you practical innovation techniques, which you can put to work right away. The course is based on techniques that have been used successfully in the real world by your instructor, and each technique has made a significant impact on an organisationís systems and processes.

"Excellent course, very well run, with each section flowing well into the next. It provided the information I need to be able to apply effectively." - John Rae, Senior Business Analyst, IAG.

The two days you spend with us will challenge you, and change the way you look at business problems and systems. This course is about using innovation to improve your business processes, your software systems, and the service or products you provide to your customers.

These are practical innovation techniques that have been used in many situations to provide new and exciting ways to solve problems. We teach the techniques by explaining them and then having you apply them in workshops to realistic problems. At all stages, we encourage you to discuss with your instructor how they can be applied to your own work.

Who should attend this workshop ?

The seminar is intended for product managers, business analysts, their internal or external clients and other stakeholders involved in gathering requirements for the new system, process or service. It is also suitable for others who should be innovators - those who have responsibility to ensure that their organisation's products, processes, services and systems remain relevant and competitive.

 Full Programme

9.30h - 10.00h
Registration (only first day), coffee/tea and croissants
Start of each workshop day

The following topics are spread over 2 days:

"The Innovation seminar run by James Robertson for 100 of our clients was a resounding success. The hands-on workshops brought the subject to life. Participants were delighted with the focus on immediately integrating innovation into their own roles and organisations." - Chris Rupp, General Manager SOPHIST GmbH, Germany
Getting started:
Anyone can be innovative if they have the right attitude and mindset, and if they use the right techniques and approaches.
Fundamentals of innovation:
We look forward to some of the techniques you will use, introduce you to examples of innovative business practice and draw lessons from them.
Removing constraints from the problem space:
When closely examined, some constraints (e.g. you have to send an invoice to your customer, or you must approve expense claims before paying them) can be removed, or changed, with startlingly innovative results.
Innovation triggers:
Business analysts should pay attention to innovation triggers when innovating for new systems and processes. For example the Connectivity trigger means keeping your customers connected to your business through an "information umbilical cord"; the Participation trigger is about how you make your customers involve themselves in your business. We look at these triggers and many other innovations.
Ideas brokers & recombination:
Being an Ideas Broker means collecting processes, ideas and technology that can be combined in an innovative way to make a new service, product or system. Most of the raw material for innovation is available to you right now, you simply have to look at it with an innovative eye.
"Suzanne Robertson of the Atlantic Systems Guild ran a Creativity Workshop for a joint British/French project to develop requirements for an airport departure management system; it was highly effective in capturing and exploring new ideas and in building the project team."
Storyboards and scenarios:
Storyboards are a creative technique used to explore possible future scenarios to future users of the system or product you develop. Storyboards and scenarios are a particularly business-friendly way of illustrating your innovations.
Other innovation techniques:
Having extra creativity tools in your toolbox is never wasted. We look at Combination, the simple idea of combining two things to make something better; Weakness into Strength, to take the weakest part of the process and turn it into an advantage; how to use Analogies to find an innovation by similarity; as well as Brainstorming; Incubation; Prototyping and many others.
Innovation and your organisation:
In the final session we relate the course to your own workplace, and we discuss how to apply these techniques in your work environment. Where in the development life-cycle it is most appropriate to innovate ? What organisational barriers to innovation can be overcome, and how ?
End of each workshop day


James Robertson (The Atlantic Systems Guild)
The Atlantic Systems Guild

James Robertson is a consultant, teacher, author and practitioner of innovation. Het is the co-author of the best-selling book "Mastering the Requirements Process, Second Edition" (Addison-Wesley 2006). This book provides guidance on finding requirements and writing them so that all the stakeholders can understand them. He also co-founded the Volere approach to requirements engineering. His most recent book is "Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies: Understanding Patterns of Project Behavior", written with fellow principals of The Atlantic Systems Guild, a London and New York-based think tank known for its research into new systems engineering techniques.

James Robertson has worked on almost every type of information system. His experience has led him to write numerous seminars and papers that are well respected as sources of new software development ideas.

As well as teaching his seminars, he now advises companies on how to adapt modern software development techniques to fit specific projects, and how to effectively transfer the new technologies to the software developers within the organisation. he has formed a solid partnership with his wife Suzanne to consult on numerous large-scale projects in Europe and the United States.

James and Suzanne Robertson are principals and co-founders of The Atlantic Systems Guild.

Questions about this ? Interested but you can't attend ? Send us an email !