The Challenge

Charged with championing Indiana’s statewide public & private efforts across the advanced manufacturing and logistics (AML) industry, Conexus engaged SmallBox via economic development firm Fourth Economy to leverage a design thinking approach as part of gathering stakeholder input and ideas.

Leaning on Fourth Economy’s research into global economic trends and Conexus’s deep knowledge of Indiana’s strengths and opportunities, we planned a series of creative workshops to be deployed at gatherings across the state, listening and learning from hundreds of stakeholders representing the diversity of Indiana’s AML audiences, from multinational corporations, to family manufacturing businesses, to military and university representatives.

The Solution

Using the areas of focus and research trends identified by Fourth Economy and Conexus, we plugged into the human-centered design process to frame opportunity spaces for ideation. We generated How Might We questions for each area, and boiled down research statements to give participants context behind each question.

From there, we guided participants through a series of custom worksheets focused on rapid concept sketching – yes, that’s right…drawing! As well as sharing ideas with other participants to gather feedback and improve their ideas. The final worksheet allowed each person the time and space to fully flesh out their idea, from desired audience(s), benefits, additional value (to business, organization, or otherwise).

No matter the stakeholder’s role or level of experience, each and every idea was given equal weight and collaboratively cataloged alongside the Fourth Economy team by type of solution and new strategic plan area of focus. Collectively, the ideas have sprouted new initiatives within the organization already – we’re excited to see where Conexus goes next!