Co-ideation: Green Business Idea Jam

Innovative ideas and measures to reduce the corporate carbon footprint of a company (BÜFA) are jointly developed by mixed teams of corporate staff members and students. This specific type of ideation workshop mixes academic and non-academic staff members from a company (BÜFA) with students from higher education institutions (University of Oldenburg).

Green Business Idea Jam at the incubator "ZUKUNFT.unternehmen". Due to the Corona situation in October 2020 the online collaboration tool miro was used for analysis, discussion and presentation of results.

The Green Business Idea Jam was developed by University of Oldenburg together with the S4S business partner BÜFA. Target of this format was to support the company within its transformation process of becoming more sustainable by:

  • Identification of sustainable innovation ideas to reduce BÜFA's corporate carbon footprint.
  • Competence enhancement for BÜFA and students
  • New perspectives on BÜFA's strategy to achieve climate neutrality and search for "radical" innovation ideas

The idea workshop (as an extra-curricular activity) was successfully held within mixed teams of BÜFA employees/management and 11 students with different study backgrounds.  The management board provided insights in their business segments as well as the company’s strategy and sustainability related challenges. Fact sheets deepened the topic specific knowledge of the students in advance. On the 8th of October 2020, all participants met in the incubator “ZUKUNFT.unternehmen” – an old glass factory hall of BÜFA and now an upcoming incubator for start-ups. After a warm welcome by BÜFA’s Top Management all participants worked within mixed groups of BÜFA employees and students within the areas of “Mobility”, “Operating power” and “Compensation”.

The moderated sessions followed the same structure:

  • Discussion of already existing ideas within the company and adding new ideas related to the specific challenge
  • Clustering of ideas by type of contribution to GHG reduction and amount of contribution to GHG reduction
  • Multi-point assessment to narrow down ideas for follow-up activities
  • Assessment of selected ideas by using an innovation radar method and guiding questions
  • Presentation of ideas and their assessment to the BÜFA top management
  • Evaluation and feedback by the top management
The climate potential chart was used for clustering all the ideas being collected in the different team. Only the most promising ideas will be analysed in the next step.
The innovation radar enables the ideas examined to be evaluated in detail. The criteria were discussed separately based on a guiding question and evaluated according to the given scale. Arguments for this evaluation were documented in an accompanying table.

At the end, three very promising ideas for BÜFA were developed in each session. The top management was highly satisfied with the results of the Green Business Idea Jam and pledged to implement some of the ideas already in 2021.

Moreover, the Green Business Idea Jam was the kick-off of a new mandatory seminar for master students. Approaches will be followed up by 35 students during the “Climate Challenge” –within the study module “Innovation Management”, conducting in the winter term 2020/21.

More information: Dr. Karsten Hurrelmann