What We Do

Knowinnovation specializes in facilitating and accelerating academic, scientific, interdisciplinary innovation. In the simplest terms: we help smart people have interesting conversations about complex questions. This leads to novel ideas and innovative research.

We work in the realm of creativity, problem solving, leadership, managing change, research, technology – all the things that go hand-in-hand with innovation. This includes:


Sandpits and Ideas Labs

Sandpit_IdeasLabs_crop These 5-day interactive workshops produce radically innovative research proposals. Participants from a diverse range of disciplines work in a creative, free-thinking environment – away from their every day responsibilities – and immerse themselves in a collaborative process around an important, complex challenge.

Jumpstarts and Mini-Sandpits

Jumpstart_miniSandpits_cropOur shorter programs run for only 2 or 3 days, and the process continues after the event with groups working together to refine and add substance to their proposals. When time and resources are limited, this is one way to ignite new thinking and spur conversations that wouldn’t otherwise occur in typical day-to-day interaction.

Collaborative Communities

creative_communities_cropAs the world’s challenges grow more complex, assembling a diverse group of minds to address them becomes essential. These interdisciplinary projects require networks and communities to sustain the collaboration. KI has a toolbox of solutions for building communities that drive change at the national, and even global, level.



creativity_home_cropThis initiative of the EPSRC is meant to nurture creative thinking at the institutional level within the UK. Funding is available to universities with an EPSRC programme grant for meetings, workshops, trainings or retreats designed to provoke creativity and lead to transformative research.

Capacity Development

skill_building_cropKI facilitates different kinds of skill training: our Catalyst program engages academics in the creative process, Creative Problem Solving (CPS) training – an intensive 2-day workshop, or our on-line TCTC program – and the Science Leadership Programs we’ve facilitated in Africa, Asia and Canada.

Virtual KI

virtual_KI_cropAs much as we enjoy working face-to-face with groups, KI is equally enthusiastic about using virtual tools and platforms. These can replace a live workshop – or work as a complement, as in a blended event – creating the ideal on-line environment for a specific group or challenge.


Inclusive Innovation

inclusive_workingWith KI’s new initiative, Inclusive Innovation, we’re applying our creative methodology to the realm of economic development and poverty reduction. We’re working with development banks, UN-organizations and NGOs and independent funding agencies and our aim is to include individuals and communities who are often excluded from the innovation process.

With Whom and Where

Science Funding Agencies: A large part of the work we do is for organizations that fund scientific innovation; we’ve worked for a number of UK Research Councils (EPSRC, ESRC, NERC and the BBSRC, STFC), and in the US, the NSF and NASA.

Health Research Funding Agencies: KI works with the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and also health research organizations in the UK, like Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and the National Institute for Health (NIHR) Colorectal Therapies Healthcare Technology Co-operative (HTC) and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

And also: We’ve worked for non-profits and NGOs and development organizations. For example we’ve done training for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and run programs the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF). We’ve even run events for a few corporate clients along the way, including P&G.

Worldwide: We’ve facilitated workshops in the UK, the US, Europe, Russia, India, Africa, Southeast Asia, Mexico and New Zealand.