InnoCAFE #5 review

Innovator Japan held its fifth InnoCAFE event with the title “Scandinavian Design Thinking x Innovation”.

InnoCAFE is a series of events where different guests present various topics and workshops in a relaxed, comfortable environment where conversation and exchange of ideas is always an encouraged part. Topics range from interior design innovation, coffee culture in the workplace, and financial analysis.

Innovator Japan, an IT company, is working together with KAOSPILOT; a Danish, hybrid, school in leadership and entrepreneurship that merges business and design. There are currently four students from KAOSPILOT visiting Innovator Japan and they were invited to run a workshop.

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After the four students explained their backgrounds, they described their experiences in KAOSPILOT. Positioning themselves apart from traditional education, the school seeks to find the potential of their students through creativity and efficient ways of taking their own passions and projects to reality.

That takes us to the workshop itself.

One of the processes the students used in their school is design thinking. Every design task starts with a problem, a challenge to solve, for which it is necessary to employ creativity to overcome the obstacles. But in the process of coming up with solutions, self censoring our ideas is very common, which ultimately can result in a waste of potential for breakthroughs and new findings. It was in this step of the process that the workshop wanted to focus on.

We were divided into four groups of around ten people each, and we were given the following task:

· Imagine that you are part of an event firm.
· Your task is to create an extraordinary party for your client.
· Your client has big expectations and a need for seeing something new.
· Focus on “How can we create an unforgettable company party?”

With the only golden rule being “censoring is forbidden” and time constraints that demanded creativity to spark up, each group had to come up with as many elements as possible. These elements were divided in three categories; theme, location and entertainment.

“censoring is forbidden”

With only 4 minutes for each category we had to fill each space with as many elements as we could. Themes ranged from medieval to dogs, while some locations suggested were deep ocean or inside a mouth. Two entertainment category suggestions I made were murder and bikini contest. Censoring is forbidden.

After brainstorming, we had to randomly pick one suggested concept in each category and put them together for a party idea. In my case I got the chance to contribute to the combination of: beer, Denmark and bikini contest for which the final outcome was a party with two big swimming pools full of beer and girls in bikini playing handball across the pools.

Needless to say, many crazy ideas emerged and were taken to the next step, which was prototyping, presenting and showcasing each idea to the other three groups of the workshop.

After presenting all the ideas, the evening concluded with a very good opportunity for networking. A generous time to enjoy drinks, eat wonderful snacks and exchange good old business cards with other attendees who were mostly Japanese.

“No cubicles, broad spaces, and greenery.”

During this time, I got to speak with Junya Watanabe; president of Innovator Japan. His company presents quite a different interpretation of what most people would imagine a Japanese company to be. No cubicles, broad spaces, and greenery. But his company’s interior design is not his only attempt to make a difference, as these InnoCAFE events that are being held have a notable focus on change and finding new ways of thinking for Japanese people.

Although the things learnt from these kind of events are not accurately measurable, I did enjoy the rhythm and pace of the event. I believe creativity is a muscle indeed and in this case I found myself exercising it and burning brain cells to come up with ideas in the tight time limits I was given.

It was very stimulating and because we had to work as a team, it also forced the practice of team creativity, a situation in which, as I commented on earlier, the problem at times is not so much other people shooting down your contributions, but you censoring your own that could make the difference.

Event overview
Content – Creativity and teamwork exercises with people you’ve never worked before.
Accessibility – Aimed at professionals or students in any field who want to expand their way of thinking and exercise creativity.
Atmosphere – Casual, playful but with deep notion of time limits during the workshop. Good opportunities for networking as mandatory participation created a natural conversation environment for everyone.
Target Audience – People looking for refreshing views on teamwork and creative processes.
Language – English
Location – Shibuya
Cost – ¥3000 (includes cocktails, beer and great snacks)

Christian

Illustrator/Graphic Designer/Japanese language Student/Cultural Dysmorphia. Born in Buenos Aires , Argentina with japanese roots. After growing up and pursuing several studies and interests in Argentina such as Visual communication , Performing arts, creative writing and the craft of cooking and eating, he moved to Japan in the year 2014 with no knowledge of japanese language.

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