Case: Invest/Learn/Grow

Building an inspiration lab at ICTU

Background

Giulietta Marani, a dedicated and talented IT advisor with ICTU understood that blockchain technology, big data, cyber, and many other technologies puzzled various branches of the Dutch government – their main client.  She envisioned how ICTU could help Dutch government agencies by creating an inspiration lab – a collaborative environment to test out these new technologies.

She shared the idea with her boss, who agreed that all these novel technologies put their clients and ICTU for a challenge.

The problem

The newly started innovation team of ICTU had a small budget, by no means sufficient to support an inspiration lab. What more, the available budget had already been spent on one of the initiatives. For the remainder of the year, the innovation team had to accomplish more with less.

The solution

Giulietta asked for permission to use her personal development training budget to take a New Business Development course to write the proposal for the inspiration lab and get additional coaching for the implementation of this plan.

“If limited funds are available to invest in innovation activities, try to tap into personal development training funds. After all, an innovation project is the best way to learn new soft and hard skills” 

During the coaching trajectory, we worked on identifying projects that could be used to showcase what the inspiration lab would be about. Significant time was spent on garnering organizational support and developing the metrics and processes to guide and monitor these ongoing initiatives. The goal was to hit the ground running and have several initiatives ongoing that could all become part of the inspiration lab.

The outcomes

"Don't ask management to invest in innovation. Instead, show results so that management wants to invest in these innovation opportunities."

During the course, Giulietta Marani detailed the opportunity and defined the path forward. This proposal got approved. Less than 6 months later – her team produced a white paper that described the collaborative approach of the inspiration lab for blockchain technologies, which was very well received and got a lot of acclaim from the press and their clients.

Twelve months later, the team was working with several clients on inspiration lab related projects. The question now has become, how to scale and involve more employees and branches of the Dutch government. Meantime, Giulietta got promoted and is now the coordinator of ICTU’s inspiration lab. In addition, management has taken the decision that the innovation budget is worth increasing 10-fold over the next 5 years, given the results produced by the team.