Teaching Innovation à la Doblin in London

Helping team members integrate and adapt to new ways of doing things.

We all know the feeling. Whether it’s joining a company as a new employee, integrating with a team to support on a project or even changing roles within the same organisation, we’ve all had to adapt to new ways of doing things as well as integrate within new groups of people. Luckily for us working in innovation, this tends to come easily!

As a strongly collaborative and human-centred practice, we have developed a highly immersive and hands-on training experience designed to bring new joiners and colleagues from Deloitte up to speed with our approach to user-centric, disciplined innovation. But also to get to know each other and put our skills in various disciplines to the test.

Usually run in Doblin’s birthplace in Chicago, the London office recently had the chance to host our first Doblin 101 training with special guests from across the Atlantic. The three-day session exposed 15 participants to interactive presentations; carefully designed protocols that guided and inspired them; and simulated business challenges that culminated in teams pitching three exciting financial services concepts designed for Millennials in the UK.

Colleagues worked in teams in dedicated project rooms.
Colleagues worked in teams in dedicated project rooms. Adam Wendel
Meet our special guests from the Chicago office, Sarah and Pip
Meet our special guests from the Chicago office, Sarah and Pip Photo Credit: Adam Wendel

Leading participants through our disciplined approach to concept development—which is central to creating new businesses for our clients—Doblin 101 goes beyond bringing new joiners up to speed with what we do by helping them experience the unique vision and empowering values.

These translate into a willingness to think differently about every problem and constantly challenge the status quo. For instance, participants were introduced to a variety of protocols designed to aid framing, user-centred research, creativity and storytelling. Although being disciplined about building desirable, feasible and viable innovations is central to Doblin’s approach, putting these tested principles into practice in teams revealed how different the outputs could be when framed in a bolder way or inspired by other innovations across industries. In a nutshell, every Doblin 101 task demonstrated the importance of approaching challenges and processes in different ways, and remaining flexible to adapt to our clients’ realities.

The training itself was built to challenge the status quo. By inviting colleagues from Deloitte to get acquainted with innovation ‘à la Doblin’, we acknowledged a different way of practicing innovation and encouraged our colleagues to challenge more traditional hypothesis-based approaches to innovating (which they very much enjoyed!).

The three days also showcased Doblin’s highly collaborative process by encouraging team work at each step of the concept generation journey and bringing people with experience in various disciplines together. This approach taught participants how to feel comfortable with the discomfort of not knowing all the answers (which is inevitable when building businesses for a future that is largely unknown), and work collaboratively to find some answers. It also shone a light on everyone’s individual skills, talents and perspectives, and empowered all attendees to better work as teams and learn from each other.

Finally, Doblin 101 showed participants how to use storytelling and prototyping to bring ideas to life and, at the same time, bring both team members and clients on board the concept development journey. For all teams, the story was user-centric and every participant was empowered to tell their concept story backwards and forwards, starting from the start, the middle or the end, always focusing on the consumer experience. Prototyping in the shape of illustrations, Post-it notes, concept names and even equations was used by teams to explain their ideas, describe experiences designed with the consumer in mind, and demonstrate how their concept would generate revenue for clients.


The traditional end-of-101 picture of our "graduates."
The traditional end-of-101 picture of our "graduates." Photo Credit: Adam Wendel
Whether in the US, Canada or the UK, Doblin 101 always ends with messy tables!
Whether in the US, Canada or the UK, Doblin 101 always ends with messy tables! Adam Wendel

The London team were so thrilled to host Doblin 101 that we will be running it on our own—without guest appearances from the US—before the end of the year. So if you’re part of the Deloitte community and looking for an opportunity to collaborate, get in touch! If you’re not but are interested in getting in touch, please have a look at our opportunities.