Innovation Techniques Used to Good Effect in Cardiff Capital Region Challenge Fund Workshop 2

City Deal Projects

On Thursday January 21st, the Cardiff Capital Region Challenge Fund hosted a 90 minute interactive workshop aimed at helping guests strengthen their applications to the fund. The interactive exercises during the workshop assisted guests in visualising and mapping out their individual challenges to help form new insights.

The intention is to have completed this Challenge scoping by March 2021 at which point the challenge will be launched into the open market and the real innovation will commence.

Following on from the last workshop held in December, this second session introduced breakout rooms for testing out thoughts on others. This involved considering questions such as “What’s the burning issue you’d like to address as a challenge owner?” and “Why is it a problem and for whom is it an issue?”

31 attendees in total broke off into groups to discuss their challenges.

Various innovation techniques were deployed including the 3 Horizons and the 5 Whys exercises

The value of debating emerging thinking on potential challenges with an independent audience soon became apparent with some very positive feedback obtained.

On the 5 whys exercise:

“I was working on a different agenda to my partner but within a few minutes we found some shared issues and even the possibility of collaboration emerged. We’ve swapped emails and learned a lot about each other’s issues. It helped me particularly in thinking through the justification for what we’re doing and it was helpful to have to explain this to those who don’t already know about it”.

“Two others in my group had conversations that they will follow up on later to explore collaboration or to connect with a third party”.

On the three horizons exercise:

“I wasn’t sure what I was doing to start with. I’m a practitioner not an academic! But it made me slow down and think. It was extremely valuable. Made me rethink some of the narrative that we have about our challenge idea. And it also made me think differently about the conversations we are having at the moment with potential partners”.

“It was really useful. When I am writing documents, I usually start with the answer I have in mind and work back to the questions that get me there! This [exercise] helped me think through what we have as issue and confirmed to me it is a problem. It also affirmed my commitment to the social element of the challenge”.

“I found it a really useful exercise. It gave some space to think and drill down into both the why [of the challenge] and the everyday challenges that we will face in addressing these issues. Delivering transformational change needs everyday activity…”

Rick Delbridge Professor of Organisational Analysis Cardiff University and Delivery Partner Lead said;

“We continue to be really pleased with the engagement we are getting on the Challenge Fund, particularly in the current circumstances. The workshop went really well and Alexis [from Y Lab] did a great job of designing the event so it would work virtually. The participants found it very helpful in thinking through the issues and in planning for their particular challenge. We’ll be running another event in February which will continue to support the prospective challenge holders in developing their ideas, and also ensure that we with engage others who are interested in learning more and potentially collaborating. There is still plenty of opportunity for more people involved in public services in the region to get involved in the CCR Challenge Fund through the workshop series and 1:1 surgeries with the Challenge Fund management team, so if you haven’t already spoken to us, it’s not too late to start the conversation!”.

Interested in finding out more?

Please visit the webpage or email the CCR Challenge Fund team at

If you would like to book onto one of our upcoming Challenge Development Workshops please contact the team at .You can also book a 1:1 meeting with the CCR Challenge Fund management team at one of our Challenge development surgeries.

Our next workshop is scheduled for the 11th of February and will build on the work and insights generated during today’s session. You can register through our Eventbrite page here.


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