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Californian company Lime Design brings innovative thinking lessons to Corner Brook’s business community

Rebecca Poretsky, a facilitator with Lime Design, discusses the concept of design thinking during a workshop in Corner Brook Friday.
Rebecca Poretsky, a facilitator with Lime Design, discusses the concept of design thinking during a workshop in Corner Brook Friday. - Gary Kean

Innovative thinking is becoming more important in today’s business climate and a workshop held in Corner Brook Friday took aim at honing that entrepreneurial focus.

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The design thinking workshop was attended by around 25 people from Corner Brook’s business community, along with some representing educational, research and government agencies and community groups.

It was facilitated by two representatives from Lime Design, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in design thinking. Design thinking focuses on examining and refining the processes used to create and deliver the products or services a business provides to their respective market.

“It’s really about having empathy for the person you are designing for and taking that empathy and knowledge and generating creative solutions,” said Maureen Carroll, Lime Design’s founder.

Carroll’s company has helped stimulate the imaginative and creative juices of such big-time corporations as Google, Microsoft and the Silicon Valley Centre for Innovation. The approach has also been used by major brands such as Apple, Samsung and GE.

Carroll said deferring judgement about what’s possible is a key aspect to finding the best ways to optimize a product or the processes involved in creating it and bringing it to the customer.

The workshop in Corner Brook was a project of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology Industries (NATI) in partnership with the NL Workforce Innovation Centre in Corner Brook. A similar workshop was held in St. John’s Thursday.

Nancy Andrew, NATI’s senior director of business and communications, said the beauty of design thinking is it can be adopted by any business in any sector.

“Good ideas can happen anywhere,” said Andrews. “We feel everybody, regardless of what industry you work in, has an opportunity to be innovative and what we’re doing here today helps build that capacity.”

Sharon McLennon, the NL Workforce Innovation Centre’s director, said Friday’s workshop was just the start of a process to see changes in the way the business community thinks about what it’s doing and how it is doing it. There will be follow-up sessions and an effort to reach those who could not attend Friday’s workshop.

She said even the entity she works for will be availing of the lessons learned during the session with Lime Design.

“We always say we need to model the behaviour we are trying to foster and promote,” said McLennon. “So, it starts with us really being much more innovative in our thinking, so we can encourage that in our research partners and anything that we do.”

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