An Exclusive Look at Innovation at Work

Posted by Alex Altieri on 5/13/19 5:22 PM  |  2 min read time

It’s not a stretch to say that design requires imagination. You start with an idea, it evolves, you adapt — the creative process seems to start broad, almost wishful. It starts with a question: “What if?”

Twice a year, Vectorworks runs an Innovation Expo, where employees pitch new ideas that could benefit the company. The goal is to deconstruct the creative mindset with which we work so closely — to step back and examine our creativity, else we fall into a day-to-day rut where creativity suffers.

Keynote speaker Dr. Natalie Nixon, PhD, a thought leader behind strategic design thinking, noted that creativity is about asking the right questions. “To be human is to be hardwired to be creative,” she said, adding that business succeeds most when inquiry meets ingenuity.

Following Monday’s kickoff breakfast, there was an activity where small groups selected an everyday object then presented what the next generation of that object would look like. The groups asked, “What if?” and creativity began flowing.

brainstorm_op2 (1)

A brainstorming group on day one of Innovation Expo.

One group reimagined a flower pot into a self-sufficient robotic plant holder. Another group presented a new selfie stick with Bluetooth and tripod capabilities. Then there was the “VectorTush 9000,” a Vectorworks-branded seat cushion upgraded with back support, cupholders, and straps for easy transportation.

The activity proved an important point. Everyone creates differently. And that’s what’s beautiful about creativity — its individualistic bias can be tapered into collaboration. When we work together, we can mold our ideas into something great. 

The week led to Friday’s Innovation Expo presentations, where we observed and voted on 27 different innovations from Vectorworks employees. There was a grand challenge presented by CEO Dr. Biplab Sarkar to keep in mind when developing presentations.


Judge panel for Innovation Expo: CEO Biplab Sarkar (right), VP of Sales Nicole Davidson (center), and VP of Product Development Steve Johnson (left).

Although only one innovation won the grand challenge, there were plenty of fruitful ideas. Among them were an improved 30-day trial of Vectorworks, a new office sustainability initiative, and a reimagined reseller hub for distribution partners.

Spring Innovation Expo was a success. It’s an opportunity to reinvigorate our culture of imagination and creativity. It reminds us to think outside the box, and it’s a chance for each of us to pitch ideas for a better Vectorworks.

Check out Marionette, our algorithmic modeling tool that started as an idea pitched during a past Innovation Expo.


Topics: Biplab Sarkar, Innovation Week, Marionette, Innovation Expo, Natalie Nixon

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