Maru-D - Community building with a side of innovation

Damitha Weerakoon

7 minute read

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Challenge

Muru-D is a start-up accelerator, backed by Telstra, a world-class technology company. It helps tech founders scale their business smarter and faster. Aside from their ongoing Australia operations in Perth and Sydney, they also ran 3 cohorts in Singapore’s ever expanding startup ecosystem. Disruptants was asked to run a 4 hours session aimed at promoting interaction amongst the cohort to build trust, partnership and help the startups creatively explore ways they could work together while enhancing their connection to the accelerator.

Insights

The accelerator ran a number of programmes, open days and engagement to develop startup capabilities and build their network amongst the investment community, mentoring resources and business support functions. While these provided the startups with resources to develop their own businesses, there was no focus on leveraging each other’s competitive advantages and internal networks to develop ideas, provide support or partner on execution.

Review sessions and events encouraged feedback while the incentives and formats promoted sharing of positive progress without generating safe space and benefits from openly discussing failures and routes to solutions from the community.

Execution

Our session on “Creative Community Building” focused on integrating the use of gameplay with the LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP) methodology, the art of creative thinking and models from Peter Fisk’s gamechangers into an organic learning experience to reveal the benefits of working with unlikely partners from their community to explore blue oceans. We developed appreciation of individuals and team characteristics through LSP, stimulated creative solutioning through application Rod Judkins’ “Art of Creative Thinking” and finally locked in tangible experience through iterative innovation exercises for their colleague’s business propositions.

Outcomes

As with most of our organic learning formats, the participants aren’t aware of the agenda or full intentions for the day hence the proof of the pudding comes in extracting simple guiding principles (SGPs) that reflect the brief, and where possible go beyond. The SGPs speak for themselves.

One Step Further

As an isolated event this has the power to change mindsets and encourage more interaction, but in order to embed shifts in behaviour we would advise some or all of the following :

  1. Business innovation ideation to further develop ideas and create viable models
  1. Regular exchange program with alternating partners from cohort for feedback
  1. Encourage open discussion of failures with successes to accelerate group learning

August 7, 2019

Damitha Weerakoon

Damith strives to have relentless optimism in the face of certain doom. He’s passionate about helping people and organisations challenge their status quo, finding their X-factors, leading with passion, purpose and authenticity and unleashing the power of play as a transformative tool for learning. Disruptants’ methods evolved out of his personal struggles and successes, anecdotal and quantitative evidence from professionals trying to balance self-improvement, career development and business KPIs.