Big Gig brings self-help & creativity to innovation

Posted: 14/03/2016

A study of the BIG Gig innovation events has found their success is down to three factors - a stimulating way of generating creative ideas, an alternative learning model and a unique medium of creating a self-help business community.

The Business Innovation and Growth (BIG) events were launched in May 2014 and bring together a range of companies and professionals who collectively work together in two hours to come up with potential solutions to another organisation’s innovation or growth challenge. The main aim of the fast paced and high energy events is to harness the creative power of the group to address a challenge in an innovative way.

Conducted by Max Brashko, a postgraduate student at Oxford Brookes University, the study concluded that the events’ success in creative problem solving was down to the informal, honest, open and friendly atmosphere and the professionally diverse nature of the volunteers which generated radical ‘game-changing’ ideas.

Integral to their success was also the climate and the positive group dynamics which led to the those who attended feeling energised while the skills and knowledge in the room enabled the ideas to be built on.

According to the study, there were unforeseen benefits too, as well as the creation of strong ideas for the business at the centre of the challenge, they also gave the participants the opportunity to learn from taking part. The events were seen as instrumental to building a business community enabling networking and relationship building at the same time.

The study was based on a combination of face-to-face interviews and questionnaires with the host businesses and attendee along with primary observations.

One professional who was interviewed said: “One thing I noticed, that I thought was very positive, was that people seemed to feel quite free to discuss things, they didn’t seem to be inhibited by anything at all”.

The range of people who attend the events was highlighted by another: “People who are really unusual have come to it, people who don’t really fit the mould. It’s quite an eclectic group in many ways but a group that seems to work well together, that seems to gel”.

The Business Innovation and Growth Network is an initiative of Oxfordshire Business First and run by the Oxfordshire innovation company Improbable Projects Ltd.