New Year, New Collabs

One of the tasks of an innovation agency is to keep an eye on the future without losing grip on the present. We’ve made predictions before (some quite percipient, such as this one), but we’re not futurologists. Our job, instead, is to create a bridge from the present to the future on which goals are made: this includes small steps, which is why I’ve formatted this 2022 review in the frame of our 5 question agile retrospective. As a team, we each answer these questions every Monday morning, which allows us to reflect on the previous week and plan for the week ahead: it’s incredibly grounding, and works whether you’re looking at weeks, months, or years. Feel free to give it a go!


What Went Well?

  • COVID recovery, thanks to rapid healthcare innovation and intervention – in most developed countries at any rate.
  • Net Zero innovation continues apace: we’ve been working with SME exporters, investigating opportunities to improve waste management, helping drive systemic change in the energy syste
    m, and looking at how digital twins can become more widespread and effective.
  • We’ve also been helping organisations cope with crypto, evolve their collaboration culture, and measure the effectiveness of their open innovation programmes.
Even Better If?

  • The economic context hadn’t proved to be such a major challenge for innovators. E.g., the economy (especially the UK – international trade), inflation, recession, the war, strikes, and plenty of first-hand evidence for global warming.
  • Although Net-Zero innovation is being prioritised by governments, it is Crunch Time for Sustainability Innovation as targets get more aggressive and actions lag behind – expect more tough legislation as the voluntary approach fails to change matters fast enough.
  • We have noticed that there are two types of organisational responses in a recession – cut costs and batten down the hatches, versus innovate to survive and grow. This time around there are so many uncertainties all at once that many organisations are putting off innovation-as-usual.


An image of a person pointing to a map with a pen. An agile retrospective.

Learnings (not resolutions)

Is it me or have New Year Resolutions fallen out of favour? Maybe people have other things to worry about, or maybe they don’t want to set themselves up for another fall (lapsed gym membership anyone?). Either way, we’ve found that learnings, rather than resolutions, seem to be a more positive (and permanent) way of integrating change.

  • Work patterns really have changed. The TWTS are taking over with office working increasingly becoming a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday thing. A client with a shiny new City HQ has even had to mandate office working!
  • Global problems like COVID and global warming need global solutions and this in turn means an increasing focus on collaboration between organisations, countries and regions, not an entrenchment into populist politics and building barriers.
  • Fast and effective large scale innovation needs the private and public sectors to work together  in an agile and collaborative manner – what the military calls Urgent Operational Requirements. COVID was one such – how do we achieve the same focus for climate?
Shine A Light

We’ve added this facet to our retrospectives as, after all, projects are done by people.

  • The 100%Open team has grown and respect to the core team for carrying on in the face of a lot of personal adversity, like much of the UK. Our diverse Associate team has grown in number and diversity – is there anything they’re not experts on?
  • Government innovators have to a certain extent carried the baton as commercial firms tighten their belts. In spite of much political and budgetary uncertainty, the various departments have kept on keeping on.
  • Our partners, including HeroX, Medallia and Hype have been, as ever, open, accommodating and entrepreneurial. With partners like these who needs competitors?
Sprint Goals

  • Get more involved in net-zero innovation, aiming for at least 3 significant projects.
  • Help third sector organisation, many of which are struggling for donations at the moment, become more effective at fundraising and change.
  • Talk more about our collaborative values and how they can help every business or organisation. We really are stronger together.  Let’s make 2023 the year of the collaborator!

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