Brainstorming solutions, sharing the results: the D5 open innovation project

A few years ago, I joked that the only people who read a white paper written by a consultancy are employees of other consultancies. All too often, the paper would be a way for a firm to boast about how much it knew about the “Future of X.” In reality, it’s often a few statistics and vagaries about a topic and how, as a business, you really needed to sit up and pay attention. Sadly, it told you the what but often not the so what.

Last year, at Market Gravity, we sought to change that. As a small business recently acquired by Deloitte, we knew a few things about what it was like to be entrepreneurs and how poorly served companies, like ours, were by banks.

Instead of writing a white paper, we decided to handle this knowledge like an open innovation project, treating the whole industry as a client, giving away our insights and big ideas for free. A white paper, on steroids, if you will. We spent five weeks thinking about it and called the work D5.

D5 is now Deloitte’s (Market Gravity) open innovation initiative. With D5, we explore interesting questions, emerging industries, or new markets and uncover key insights that allow us to design solutions that will help business thrive in these contexts. And, we do it in just five weeks.

Over those first five weeks thinking about small-business banking, we travelled coast to coast, speaking with entrepreneurs and small companies about their business, their needs, and the relationship with their bank. We spoke to industry experts, bankers, and stakeholders. We unearthed five big insights and from there, created five new propositions any bank in Canada could grab hold of and make real.

Instead of the what, we were showing the industry the how. A few of the banks picked up on this, and we’ve been able to share the output and work together on next steps.

Expanding the scope

From here, we’ve expanded the concept to consider not just underserved sectors like small-business banking but also emerging industries or trends where everyone is still in the process of figuring it out. We’ve had teams from our offices in other countries tackling challenges such as sustainable retail (Norway), automotive aftercare (United Kingdom), friendlier financial services for seniors (the Netherlands), esports (Canada), and understanding the millennial generation (Chile).

By the end of each of these projects, we have a clear understanding of what the problem is, why it exists, and how we can begin to solve it together with our clients, colleagues, or even with our competitors.

If you’re interested in learning more about D5, we share everything on our website: From there, you can link to the various D5 projects that have taken place. There’s even a how-to guide you can download if you want to try the methodology out for yourself. We’re still learning too, so while we’re sharing this content, our aim is to enhance the method, explore more industries, and see all ships rise with the tide.

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Key contact

Iain Montgomery

Iain Montgomery is the managing director of Market Gravity, a Deloitte business, leading a team of talented consultants and designers in developing and launching new products, services, and ventures with some of Canada’s biggest businesses. Iain has helped launch a next-generation digital investment platform in the United Kingdom, payments propositions in the United States, and multiple lottery concepts and a cannabis e-commerce platform in Canada.

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