How..?

Delivering innovation and growth always involves a tailor-made approach to ensure we create relevant solutions. Our approach is part art and part science, we will take into account: what is desirable, what is feasible and what is viable to provide a dynamic, pragmatic and inspiring approach to each challenge.

Approach

We support business by enabling creation, growth and development, including:

  • ideation and concepting
  • product and service innovation
  • brand and service design
  • futures and storyfication
  • coaching (innovators, entrepreneurs, creators…)

The format varies considerably depending on our client’s needs and ranges from one-on-one sessions, workshops, training, business incubators, accelerators, creative development, consumer interactions, co-creation and other programmes. Contact us for more information.

Here are some examples of the type of projects we run:

  • Jump-start sessions: creative workshops to create new solutions to a given problem.
  • Expert Think-tanks: a creative board of innovation experts works on your challenge to deliver turn-key innovation solutions in the form of a business-model canvas and first prototypes.
  • New product/service development projects: for the creation/extension of a product or service portfolio for new or existing brands through design-thinking. Typically involve close collaboration between Groh! and the client team.
  • Innovation by Design: involves consumer deep-dives for journey mapping and category exploration, quick-prototyping and co-creation leading to defined NPD briefings, brand manifestos or innovation roadmaps.
  • Brand Canvas: exploring innovation territories from a brand-stretch perspective. Taking the brands ‘mission’ as a guiding principle for the development of new concepts and user experiences around products/services and beyond the current offering.
  • Effectual cooking: team workshops to enhance team dynamics in making innovation happen through application of the application of effectuation principles into business practice.
  • Insight Alchemy: activating existing knowledge, research reports and business intelligence through an alchemic process of putting the information into context through socio-cultural trends and transforming this information into new, creative business ideas.
  • 1-on-1 coaching: sessions for creative and solution-oriented development and personal growth through the combined use of creative thinking and NLP. Focus is on making things happen by reframing and re-energizing.

These are just some examples, contact us for more information on a tailor-made approach to your growth challenge.

”I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” -Pablo Picasso

Change Ahead

CHANGE AHEAD: HOW RESEARCH AND DESIGN ARE TRANSFORMING BUSINESS STRATEGY

Change Ahead is about the emerging practices at the intersection of business strategy, research and design. It introduces the need for an adventurous, explorative mindset in order to grow businesses that last by creating meaning and relevance with and for people.

In a complex and networked world, business is more than ever about adaptability to change and the capacity to create new propositions through a dynamic interaction with the environment. Much like sailing, business strategy will increasingly become about the ability to steer towards growth through dynamic leadership, empathic understanding and skillful use of tools and abilities.

This book reveals the philosophy, working processes and approaches to business creation and development through research and design. It provides a model for integrating user insights into business strategy beyond the literal understanding of the user and into the creative application of insights for the development of meaningful propositions.

It is a must-read in these changing times as it discusses what needs actualization as we emerge out of the industrial model into an age of creative empowerment. Furthermore it goes beyond the discussion to provide practical tools for business in the 21st century to become adaptive systems through an integrative model of learning and doing, understanding and making, research and design. Change Ahead is about the transformative power of research and design within business practice for relevant value creation in a changing world.

Change Ahead
ISBN: 978 90 6369 398 5
Author: Carola Verschoor
Format: paperback with flaps
Dimensions: 19 × 24 cm
Pages: 288

PRAISE FOR CHANGE AHEAD:
‘Change Ahead argues that the integration of three disciplines—research, design, and business strategy—will allow us to build successful organizations that provide meaning to their people. This is a provocative thesis, passionately argued and beautifully illustrated with practical examples. This is a wonderful book that belongs on the shelf of every strategist!’
Costas Markides
Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship
Holder of the Robert Bauman Chair of Strategic Leadership
London Business School

‘With the changing landscape of problem solving, where a multidisciplinary and multifaceted approach becomes ever more relevant, Change Ahead sets you on the right course towards growing a meaningful business that is actually able to tackle current challenges. At MediaLAB Amsterdam we teach multidisciplinary teams how research, design, and business strategy are interrelated and most of all, in need of each other to create true impact. Change Ahead could easily be our new manual and will be on our bookshelves, with a massive spotlight on it. Highly recommended!’
Marco van Hout
Program and Design Research Lead
MediaLAB Amsterdam
And Board member
Design and Emotion Society

‘This is a very timely and helpful book. It arrives at a point when researchers are looking to demonstrate that they are now more flexible, holistic and creative in the way they understand people’s needs, and at a point when designers are looking to the customer insight industry for true revelations that can drive great design ideas. The book holds up a mirror to the research and design process and provides the reader with a mental model for going forward to combine the skills of the researcher and designer in driving fantastic design and innovation ideas.’
Dr. David Smith, Director, DVL Smith
And ESOMAR Vice President

‘In today’s business world, this book is a must-read for change leaders! The emphasis on research and design is central for emerging new practices, which are needed to sustain every firm’s competitive advantage. A plus, the interviews illustrate the aim of this book, and make us come back to the basics when we decide to navigate in turbulent seas!’
Nassim Aissa Belbaly
Professor of Technology and Innovation Management
Montpellier Business School

‘A fresh and practical way of looking at business, with an inspirational framework that highlights the human aspect of business.’
Pablo Beramendi, Director of Branding – Google

‘Change without strategy is luck; strategy without design is faith; design without research is wishful thinking. But by connecting these essential processes we can change the world.
It’s fantastic to see a beautiful book filled with practical advice and experience from pioneers and experts. This will be a valuable read for anyone making changes based on real human value and on business needs.’
Adam Lawrence
Founding partner WorkPlayExperience
And co-initiator Global Service Jam & Global GovJam

‘(Herbert) Simon said design is the “transformation of existing conditions into preferred ones”. Carola’s Change Ahead highlights the catalyst power of our industry to help better design our future. Carola brings both research and design together for those sailors who are feeling a bit lost in this ever-changing sea.’
Patricio Pagani
Executive Director
Infotools

‘Change Ahead is a brilliant masterpiece! The book introduces a fresh perspective of how we should change our mindset about Design, Research, and Strategy and how they are connected in a new model for developing sustainable business. An excellent must-read for anyone who is eager to keep up with the pace of the changing world and respond in a proactive and adequate manner.’
Aneliya Evtimova
Chief Relationship Officer
Future Ideas

‘The gap between design research and design practice is an ongoing discourse for design management academics. This book provides relevant content about design methods and techniques that could bring the two separated entities together, and have better impact on businesses. I would definitely recommend Change Ahead as a key resource in the reading list for all my Master students.’
Dr. Mersha Aftab
Senior Lecturer in Innovation
Faculty of Arts Design and Social Science
Northumbria University

‘Carola’s integrated approach (of Design, Research and Strategy) will take Innovation to the next level!’
Bas Dijkstra
Head of Innovation
Tortilla Chips West Europe PepsiCo

‘Joining ideas, breaking myths, and outlining profiles of contemporary winners, this book shows that there is indeed a way to advance through high transformation conditions as we have nowadays.’
Alejandro Garnica
Independent consultant and Director General
ARIA (Americas Research Industry Alliance)

‘To create meaningful change is to understand what really matters. Sail away with Carola Verschoor and get all the necessary answers.’
David Carlson
Design strategist and advisor
And author of Make Design Matter

‘Having experienced the power of integrating research and design into business strategy, I would recommend Change Ahead to those looking to build a more relevant, flexible and sustainable direction for their business. Carola has done a great job of weaving together best practices from each of these disciplines into a seamless approach and backed it up with the perspectives of leading experts and pioneers in their fields.’
Charles Cook
Director, Operations Engineering and Innovation
Starbucks

‘Carola Verschoor’s new book calls all hands on deck, inspiring you to chart new courses and get underway, not just to reach the next port but to continue your lifelong learning voyage. Whether you’re a strategist, designer or a researcher (or a mix), this book will help you see your role — and others’ roles — from new angles. You may have been on ships passing in the night up to now, but let Carola show you how fulfilling and fun it is to plan, act and learn together! Her unique background and innate creativity have launched an exciting book to guide thinkers and doers through rough seas.’
Jonathan Gable
Managing Director
Penn Schoen Berland

“It is a unique moment in time that we live in now and Change Ahead has captured it. It will be interesting to look back ten years from now and see where we have gone in the journey.” -Prof. Liz Sanders

Events

UTRECHT SUSTAINABILITY JAM (November 2014)

The Utrecht Sustainability Jam was an amazing weekend of service design for a better planet! We started off on Friday evening with a group of eager creative people of all backgrounds (business engineering, sustainability, process). All that expertise and good energy came together in a weekend of fun, interaction, design and discovery!
We organize these Jams twice a year: one in the Spring (#USDJam, Utrecht Service Design Jam) and one in the Autumn (#USusJam, Utrecht Sustainability Jam) to bring service design in a compelling and fun way out into the world. These are open meetings, with a small contribution required from participants to cover for the location costs. It is a wonderful experience because while the participants get acquainted with service design as an experiential discipline, we get to be inspired and reconnect with the fact that ‘people are awesome’! With the right attitude, the right teamwork and the right setting we all reconnect to our true playful selves, to deliver some serious work and significant ideas!

SERVICE DESIGN JAM UTRECHT (March 2014)

The Utrecht Service Design Jam is an open event where people come together to experiment and play with designing a service. It’s happens worldwide somewhere in March.
In March 2014, Groh! organized and hosted the Utrecht chapter of the Global Service Jam. [hyperlink: http://planet.globalservicejam.org]

Learn-Grow-Play!!
The Service Design is open to anyone who wants to learn to design a service in one weekend. Even for the more experienced designer it is a great collaborative project where one can learn and be surprised by the diversity of backgrounds and interests in the different teams. Experiential learning is best when people come together to create against a deadline. Learn by doing, not talking!

Here’s how it works:
You work in a team over the weekend (Friday-Saturday-Sunday) to design a service, based on a theme provided on the day by Global Service Jam organizers. You will probably be meeting the people in your team for the first time that weekend, which makes it even more fun! We will help you design an amazing new service idea. At the end of the weekend, your service idea will be published to the world on the Global Service Jam site! Here’s one of the projects created by one of the teams in Utrecht in 2014:

http://youtu.be/bzf8b09-K7o

In 48 hours, our teams in Utrecht:
learned more about a design-based approach to problems.
picked up loads of new ideas and work practices.
met interesting people with all levels of experience.
designed something that may become a real business.
had lots of fun together.

The dates for 2015 are already set. The next Global Service Jam will take place from the 27 February to 1 March 2015 all over Planet Earth. Stay tuned via Twitter: #USDJam or contact us if you’d like to know more.

THE DESIGN EXCHANGE (September 2013)

The Design Exchange was held on September 23rd 2013 and was the first of a series which we hope to continue developing.

The idea behind these creative and interactive exchanges is to connect, intertwine and intermingle disciplines around innovation, to learn from one another and to build common ground as we expand perspectives together.

This first exchange was themed around Design and Intrapreneurship, bringing together practitioners, entrepreneurs and creative-minded individuals.

The day was hugely energizing thanks to the great people who joined in to exchange, build and interact. Watch a video with the highlights of this innovative and inspiring day:

http://youtu.be/RQ9anPRYIwY

Our marvellous speakers, in alphabetical order included:
Esther Beckers, Senior Art Director at Philips Design on The journey to innovation that’s meaningful to people
Thomas Blekman, author of the bestselling Corporate Effectuation and The Orchestration of Effectuation books on Corporate Effectuation, Guiding the Paradigm shift
Thimon de Jong, Insights & Strategy Director at Trendsactive on The future of design and business
Bela Evers, Founder at the Cool Ideas Society [GaveDingenDoen] on Sharing Ideas and Empowering Creativity
Martin Lloyd, International Marketing Communication Manager at Greenpeace International on Preparing for the Unimaginable
Miguel Melgarejo, Design Researcher for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Design where you least expect it
Joshua Samson, founder of Live&Learn on From Count to Sound
Frank Wind, partner at Zero Gravity Movement on New thinking in sustainable farming

And… to top it off we briefly introduced the wonderful new book Design Transitions, which was released into the Dutch market the day following the event and which features a foreword by none other than IDEO’s very own Tim Brown.

We are delighted to have hosted this event! It is always amazing to see how many people are part of a movement. A movement to change in meaningful ways, to grow in unexpected directions and to unravel the full potential that the alchemic combination of design and business have to offer! Thanks to everyone that joined and followed our #dx239 and looking forward to great things to come!
If you’d like to know more or if this got you thinking about a possible theme for a future exchange, please contact us.