Additive manufacturing - ideas labs 

Using the latest technology to inspire innovation across multiple disciplines  

Why should everything but creativity be open to scrutiny?"

Genrich Altshuller

Introducing creativity across multiple disciplines

Many organisations have a wide pool of talent across a multitude of disciplines, but these pools tend to be wary and segregate into tribes with different approaches to problem solving based on their skill sets.

We tend to use the tools we are most familiar with when tackling new problems. This problem solving polarisation can limit innovation across disciplines. Instead of being receptive to complementary approaches, multi-disciplinary teams can segregate by skill.

We observed that idea creation was unstructured and introduced the Russian process TRIZ. We brainstormed with BP over 6 months on ways to stimulate ideas across their global multi-disciplinary organisation. Ultimately this resulted in the recommendation of global collaborative "ideas-labs." We borrowed the structure for the "ideas labs" from MIT's successful Fab Labs.

Emerging technology was identified as a neutral ground, common platform for scientists, engineers and the business to engage and exchange innovative information. People were excited about emerging technology which encouraged a more proactive approach to sharing ideas.

The project culminated in a 3D printed model of the catalyst Zeolite, also known as the "boiling stone." The model was shared with the British Zeolite Association (BZA), to help scientists and engineers visualize the 3 dimensional physical structure, as well as several virtual international communities on BP’s open social platform.