HYVE is a leading innovation company in Munich specialising in product development and design. HYVE is also a strategic partner of weXelerate in Vienna. I was asked to take part in a co-creation workshop. The mission was to develop a new product prototype with a group of total strangers, kicking off at 09.00hrs and finishing up at 17.00hrs. This is my story of my day at HYVE.
As a professional writer and creator, I was there to contribute in the area of storytelling. But as the workshop started to swing into action I found myself in new territory. I even ended up playing the spoilsport, reminding my team to focus on the business side of things and calculate a turnover.
At 08.50 I arrived at the HYVE office in Munich’s Schwabing district. Everybody had gathered in the reception and was ready to go. There were coloured markers, post-it notes, and paper on each table as our creativity tools.
Bang on 09.00hrs we were welcomed to the world of HYVE by CEO Giordano Koch and innovation consultant Julia Bastian as well as the European training organisation who had given HYVE the assignment for the workshop. Our task was to develop a serious computer learning game to teach users the basics of the financial industry.
First of all we split up into specialist groups to work on a specific task. I joined the storytelling group. The other teams worked on knowledge transfer and learning. Our team brainstormed for 20 minutes and we generated some fresh ideas for the storyline.
The specialist groups then split up immediately after the first session timed out and new hybrid groups were formed. Each new group pooled together their key results from the first session and started to select, prioritise, and look at the big picture.
After a networking lunch, we found each other in another new group and finally started to work on the real prototype of the game. We were simulating a startup with the task of developing a game for a corporate customer. Members of my new team worked in large corporations, so on a few occasions, I felt obliged to remind them that we were a startup and had little money to burn.
The four of us started working on our project mission. After a few minutes, one of the guys in our group had a light bulb moment for the storyline. It came from out of the blue and it was just a brilliant idea. We were all convinced and lost no time implementing it. This took away some of the pressure, so we could laser in on the structure and details.
Next up we developed a crucial part of the game to show our basic idea and convince the jury. Together with our graphic designer-illustrator from HYVE we worked on creating a storyboard.
It was now time to focus on our business plan. Surprisingly this was the least popular part of the co-creating session for my colleagues who all worked with numbers and excel sheets on a daily basis.
Our coach, HYVE Innovation consultant Anna-Maria Lange, had to keep us on the straight and narrow and made sure we met the deadline to present to the jury.
We came in a respectable second. I am convinced by our team’s original idea and still hope HYVE’s customer will choose it. I left HYVE energised – playing our game in my mind.
Space, structure, support – my impressions and take-home from the workshop:
- Select a relevant cross-section of people with skills, creativity, and drive who can contribute to the project. Give them space, a structure, and support to do things. Get the competitive spirit going, a promise of a prize always helps, and people will start delivering.
- Right from the start you let people’ s minds go loose like wild horses. Then narrow down the first creative output and get to work on the task.
- People from traditional industries can be very creative if they are given the opportunity and the freedom to express themselves.
- With a team, a common goal, competition, deadlines, and positive pressure total strangers with little in common can achieve a lot.
More information on HYVE – the innovation company