The global aerospace industry has been facing unprecedented challenges for many years. In the past emission reduction targets were driving demand for new, innovative, products, while country-specific problems like Brexit in the UK and the soaring cost of higher education programs in Germany were creating skills gaps where it’s difficult to attract and retain talented staff. Today, the landscape is shaped by various factors such as economic conditions, geopolitical tensions, technological advancements, and environmental concerns. Like the rest of the industry, one of our customers , a multinational aerospace corporation, is battling against these pressing issues, striving to foster a culture of innovation which will help it maintain its industry-leading position for the long term.
The savviest firms realize that innovation can come from anywhere within a business, regardless of specialism or hierarchy. And, when a staff member met Verhaert Innovation Academy mentors at a conference in Copenhagen, this mindset was brought to bear for this organization. The company was initially skeptical – it had already undertaken an ‘out of the box’ innovation program and felt that the hands-off method had left the team without the guidance it needed. However, in Verhaert Academy, they saw a different approach – combining practical advice with ongoing mentoring. This company took a chance on the ambitious team member, agreeing to undertake our customizable Kickbox program. The innovation team, selected from across business disciplines, used this program to create disruptive ideas which they felt would support business growth and meet strategic objectives (particularly in the arena of sustainability). The twelve-week program saw the team rigorously test prototypes and improve the best ones, use customer feedback and testing to validate ideas and make further changes – and ultimately prepare fully tested concepts for pitch, and for further development.
The stand-out benefit for us was that the entire process was supported by an expert mentor who was able to provide us guidance, challenge our team’s assumptions and corporate processes. The mentor also ensured the team was engaged and on track throughout these 12 weeks.
This Kickbox program has resulted in two concepts which meet the company’s stringent brief and are now ready to take to the next stage. But, on top of this immediate benefit, undertaking our program has created a group of pioneer ‘intrapreneurs’: employees with an entrepreneur mindset, who have the skills, knowledge and aptitude to foster a culture where innovation is encouraged and sought out – from anywhere in the business. Furthermore, we saw that the innovation teams who have undertaken this training were able to transfer knowledge across the business – combatting the trap that so many corporations fall into, where expertise is siloed and where innovation sits apart from the rest of the organization. Ultimately, this first step in this customer’s journey with us has increased the likelihood of innovation success in the future and has paved the way for future initiatives.
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