Special Workshop: Dirty Innovation

January 30, 2015

Our workshop encourages executives and managers to leave theory behind and literally get their hands dirty in the process of developing real-world business models.

The WU Executive Academy is extending its successful range of special workshops by another extraordinary format. After Children Coach Managers and Philosophy & Management, its Executive Education experts have devised a sophisticated training program that teaches participants to reconsider well-loved habits and start thinking and acting along new lines. In the course of a Dirty Innovation workshop, one thing becomes clear: You cannot make a difference unless you roll up your sleeves and step outside your comfort zone.

Imaginative Prototyping

"Given that in this day and age many people lack the imagination to come up with something new, Dirty Innovation is as much a necessity as it is an adventure," says innovation expert Dr. Thomas Funke, Head of Entrepreneurship at RKW Competence Center. "We live in a world that is characterized by a chronic shortage of time and a poorly developed feedback culture. As a result, the full potential of many good ideas remains untapped."

The new workshop - jointly developed by the Executive Education experts and Dr. Thomas Funke - aims to remedy the situation. Designed to fire the imagination of executives and to offer them an opportunity to turn innovative models into reality, it requires participants to come up with innovative ideas, design feasible business models and develop usable prototypes.

A Focus on Hands-on Experience Rather Than Theoretical Knowledge

The format conveys the latest methods in corporate entrepreneurship and is based on interaction, teamwork, application and a "let's-make-it-happen" attitude—for maximum practical relevance. As participants venture off the beaten track, generate specific ideas and create business models, they develop their understanding of why innovativeness is so important.

"We don't discuss innovation in theory but experience it first-hand," stresses Dr. Thomas Funke. "Dirty Innovation is about developing examples taken from the organizations and the day-to-day work of participants. As a result, it offers a training experience that is as real and as beneficial as possible." Rather than acquiring purely academic knowledge, executives learn how to create prototypes through visualization, Lego Serious Play, prototyping in wood or 3D printing.

"Consciously experiencing an extraordinary setting and applying innovative methods can provide a new perspective that promotes the creative development of the right ideas in the right places," continues the innovation expert  

Workshop That Encourages Lateral Thinking

By joining forces, the WU Executive Academy and Dr. Thomas Funke have fruitfully combined the academic excellence of a leading European university with the know-how of innovative and creative practitioners.

For Astrid Kleinhanns-Rollé, Managing Director of the WU Executive Academy, this is a welcome and meaningful development: "Good ideas have long since ceased to be enough for achieving success in the marketplace. For innovation to happen, people need to think laterally, roll up their sleeves and get things done. This is exactly what Dirty Innovation is about."

The new training format is designed for executives and managers at different organizational levels. In terms of content and duration, each workshop will be tailored around the specific needs of the organization in question. Dirty Innovation teaches participants not only to adopt a new mindset that enables them to handle open-ended projects in a more professional and more playful manner but also to develop innovative business ideas by taking advantage of a completely new methodological toolkit.

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