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Dialogues Bootcamps

In 2011 the Dialogues Incubator, the Innovation motor of ABN AMRO Bank, facilitated a number of bootcamps for both departments within the Bank as well as external clients. Here we present you some findings.

Often what the Incubation Services team saw last year was that a team’s day-to-day business took precedence to taking the time to step back and look at their ability to develop innovative products and services, such as the implementation of LEGO Serious Play trainings. By launching Innovation bootcamps last year, departments were able to step away from the daily grind and brainstorm about the future of their sector. Indeed, with the rise of Smartphones and the IPAD, the Incubation Services team saw a wave of questions around how to offer clients products and services via their phone or iPad.

Often these questions started with a brainstorm/ideation session around certain themes, in which teams of five to six people developed ideas, which were shared with the larger group and later voted upon. At the end of a session, four to five ideas were selected to be further developed in a concepting and selection session. To speed up this process, the Incubation Services team leveraged the Innovation funnel that the Dialogues Incubator uses to select which projects to further develop. At this stage of the process, teams were asked to delve into the following questions per concept:

1. What problem are you solving?
2. Who is your target group?
3. In what way does the solution to the problem fit with the direction the company is going towards?
4. What key activities are required to implement the concept, etc.

When asked what clients found the most useful aspect of these sessions, the response from the different Bootcamp facilitators was varied. “Some clients need help to think out of the box and just to brainstorm the effect of changes in the market or different scenarios,” said Laura Ozinga, who worked with numerous clients from marketing to compliance to insurance to the workers council, helping them jump-start their innovation process. Jeroen Lampe, another of the Bootcamp facilitators, often worked with groups at a later stage of the process. How did he do this? By helping teams, especially ICT related ones to take their thinking to the next level, by organizing winning ideas via the business model canvas approach to give the ideas an extra check on the relevancy of the hypotheses.

As a result of the four sessions done within IT last year, Corne Mulders, CIO of ABN AMRO Bank in the Netherlands, decided to host a session in early January in order to pick the best project. In fact, two projects were chosen to be worked out in the first quarter as a result of the latest session, which Corne attended. One of the winning ideas is for an app to help find workspaces within the Bank’s headquarter offices as a result of the internal mobility campaign, “Het Nieuwe Werken”. The other idea builds upon the trend to use mobile devices to pay bills. What’s in it for IT? By working together, both ideas have a shorter incubation time of 6-8 weeks to develop and to deliver a QuickScan, enabling IT to test whether the concept can be implemented. In addition, our IT colleagues have mentioned that the Bootcamp approach is motivating, energizing and just fun to do.

For the Innov8 team in particular, this process of “structured thinking outside the box,” has been an invaluable way to build upon the in-depth knowledge that IT department already has of how payments are made and what technology supports that. This, combined with the knowledge within the Incubator of the Innovation process, namely how to develop an idea into a concept and Quickscan for rapid prototyping and testing, enables the process to be streamlined. At the end of the day, by working together, we’re able to better serve our clients, pulling together knowledge of the process and content in the hope of delivering applications which are seen as cutting edge in the market.

Do you need help in developing ideas or taking your ideas to the next level? Then contact the Incubation Services team within the Incubator at and ask for an introduction to Bootcamps.

Dialogues Bootcamps and ABN AMRO Innov8

Dialogues Bootcamps session in Dialogues House Green Room

Dialogues Bootcamps session utilizing LEGO Serious Play, in the Dialogues House forum