Just CHILL! How to design, produce, and facilitate a 48-hour co-innovation lab

“We believe that no one company can deliver the full breadth of technology solutions that customers need at the pace the market requires.” says Chuck Robbins, Cisco’s CEO.


How might we bring together leaders from five multinational companies to co-innovate during a 48-hour rapid ideation and prototyping lab?


Design, produce and facilitate an offsite innovation lab with all the tools and processes needed to enable diverse teams to co-create crazy ideas at the intersections of their worlds.

Kate O’Keeffe, the Managing Director of Cisco Hyperinnovation Living Labs (CHILL), Shannon Lucas and Alice Pollard, the Innovation Architects of CHILL, have managed and run CHILL from its infancy. The outcomes from previous CHILL Labs had been terrific by all measures. This power trio, however, is always looking for ways to make CHILL “more awesome”.

Bringing Together Senior Leaders from Five Multinational Organizations to Co-Create the Future

In O’Keeffe’s words, “CHILL is an intensely focused innovation experience that is turning the traditional innovation model on its head. It brings together a select group of customers, vendors, designers, and hackers to solve a common industry challenge.” With that said the real test is always how the CHILL team goes about co-designing, producing, and facilitating an innovation lab whereby everyone involved is willing and able to dive deep a giant industry challenge in order to co-create new, innovative solutions for the future. To get the results the CHILL team was ultimately looking for around “Securing the Digitized Supply Chain,” the 48-hour CHILL Lab had to be designed from end-to-end to support curiosity, collaboration, creation, prototyping, testing, and research.

How we helped

Business Models was brought in to co-design, produce, and facilitate the “Securing the Digitized Supply Chain” CHILL Lab. Starting with the initial emails to executives from some of Cisco’s largest partners, to co-designing the flow of content and the innovation lab itself, to facilitating the individual concept teams on their innovation journeys, Business Models Inc., worked side-by-side with the Cisco CHILL team to create an environment that enabled what O’Keeffe calls, “hyperinnovation.”

What were the results?

The overwhelmingly wild success of the lab was a direct result of the participation of more than thirty senior leaders, including C-levels and SVPs. Not only did these senior leaders participate in developing new solutions within this pressure- cooker environment (i.e. in a 48-hour sprint). There were almost fifty end users, many also occupying senior level positions at large companies, there to help validate (or invalidate) the concepts being developed by the teams. On top of that, there were more than twenty investors, coming from the five large companies in attendance, ready to capitalize on the concepts honed over the two days. By the end of this CHILL lab, several new initiatives –including startups – were created, proving that co-innovation really works.

CHILL Securing the Digitized Supply Chain Lab from Cisco Hyperinnovation Living Lab on Vimeo.

Why you should consider an Innovation Lab

While nothing compares to CHILL when it comes to its format, focus, and scale, “innovation labs” are an increasingly interesting (and exciting) way to bring people together – from your team and perhaps others – to systematically explore new ideas that they probably would not find on their own. Innovation Labs can be run internally and externally, like an open innovation platform or hackathon. The real advantage of innovating in such a focused way is that with the right design and mindset you’re able to make the experience much more concentrated and clear to others in the company. Innovation Labs are, after all, about asking big questions that only diverse teams of people can answer…TOGETHER.

What can we do for you?