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Innovation Lab

Are you and the people in your company solving the right problems?

Are you facing a big challenge but don't know where to start?

Do you need support to solve wicked problems that didn't exist two years ago?

Do you want to expand your innovation skillset and mindset and find it easier to learn at your own pace, on your own schedule?

Do you want to connect with a like-minded cohort of creative problem-solvers in the AEC sector?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, the Innovation Lab, organized by the Center for Innovation (formerly CIDCI), is for you!

Register Now

Begins: August 26, 2022

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Complete your registration:
Non-sponsor Seat- $1000

Sponsors enjoy FREE participation based on their level of sponsorship. Additional sponsor seats may be purchased at the Sponsor Rate of $500 per person. Registration is not complete until payment is received in full.
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The Details

The Innovation Lab is an online opportunity to strengthen your competitive advantage. Classes are self-paced and individuals are invited to participate in a live Final Presentation at the end of the session in January 2023.

The 6-module program will teach participants the mindsets and skillsets associated with the innovation process.

The content for the modules is delivered asynchronously via Google Classroom and includes videos, readings, and discussion questions. Participants can access the material at any time during the 2022 session. Instructors will provide example problem areas for individuals to work on that will guide them through design research, problem framing, idea generation and selection, prototyping, and testing.

Participants who complete the course and requisite activities can expect to have proposed a solution to a challenge they are facing and be well-versed in leading design innovation tools.

Each person or group will receive one hour of coaching to engage, ask questions, and discuss innovation topics, to be scheduled with the instructor.

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What to Expect

Individuals or teams will start the Online Innovation Lab with a question or problem they are grappling with. Problem statements that have been explored in the past include:

  • How might our company develop more industrialized construction techniques?
  • How might we streamline our contracting time?
  • How might we build better camaraderie on a virtual and in-person team?
  • How might we help our hospital clients improve safety for staff and patients?

The Online Innovation Lab will take place from August 26- January 2023. Individuals can view videos at their own pace during this period.

A certificate of completion will be issued by the Center for Innovation to those who complete the course. Participants who conclude the Innovation Lab may be invited to share their research with the Center for Innovation Board of Directors.


Module 1: Overview of Innovation

  • Setting the Stage for Innovation
  • The Innovation Cycle

Module 2: Observe and Notice

  • Why Observe and Notice?
  • Strategies and Techniques for Conducting Interviews
  • Unpacking Interviews
  • Tool: Drafting an Interview Guide

Module 3: Frame and Reframe

  • Frame and Reframing
  • Building a Web of Abstraction
  • Customer Journey Mapping
  • Stakeholder Mapping
  • Tool: Framing Practice

Module 4: Imagine and Design

  • Imagine and Design
  • Ideation Matrix
  • Systems Mapping
  • Tool: Ideating Solutions

Module 5: Make and Experiment

  • Make and Experiment
  • Riskiest Assumption Testing
  • Designing Experiments
  • Tool: Experiment Design

Module 6: Storytelling for Impact

  • Storytelling
  • Moving Innovation Forward
  • Tool: Story Framework

Why Attend?

Participants in the Innovation Lab will learn tools from design and systems thinking and be able to apply them immediately to their own projects. They will leave with an appreciation of how to better understand their stakeholders, how to frame opportunities within messy problem spaces, how to conduct rapid experiments to test new product or service offerings, and how to tell stories about ideas in a way that resonates with various stakeholders and motivates action.

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Our Instructors

Lead Faculty

Dr Vivek Rao Photo

Dr. Vivek Rao

Dr. Vivek Rao blends design, engineering, and strategy in his work as an educator, researcher, and designer. His current work in academia includes teaching across the three MBA programs at UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and publishing more than 20 peer-reviewed scholarly articles in the fields of engineering design theory and methodology. Previously, he was a designer and strategist at IDEO, and became fascinated with the AEC sector while working as a process R&D engineer at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (Wastewater Enterprise).

Founding Faculty

Dr Rachel Dzombak Photo

Dr. Rachel Dzombak

Dr. Rachel Dzombak is a strategist and educator working to frame and solve complex problems and train others to do the same. She has taught at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, helping students to use both design and systems thinking to solve problems that matter. Through her independent consultancy, she supports a range of organizations working to engage in digital transformation, shift business models, and growing innovation ecosystems.

Dr. Sara Beckman

Dr. Sara Beckman

Dr. Sara Beckman has spent her years as a boundary spanner at UC Berkeley, where she has held faculty appointments in both the Haas School of Business and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. She served as Chief Learning Officer for the newly formed Jacobs Institute of Design Innovation and facilitated the creation of a multi-disciplinary Certificate in Design Innovation. She teaches courses such as Collaborative Innovation, which integrates Art Practice, Theater and Dance Performance Studies, and Business perspectives on both collaboration and innovation.

The Fine Print

Non-sponsor Rate: $1000 per person

Center for Innovation sponsors enjoy free participation based on their level of sponsorship. Not sure if your company is a sponsor? View a list of our sponsors here. Current sponsors at all levels may purchase additional seats for $500 per person.

Innovation Lab enrollment is limited to 50 people.

The course fee is not refundable but is transferrable under certain circumstances.

Contact us to learn more.

Do you have questions about the Innovation Lab?
Not sure if your company is a sponsor?

Contact Us

What People Are Saying

“On the second day of the Innovation lab, my boss asked if I was making any good contacts (for the company.)  Oh, yeah, I told him I’m making amazing contacts but more importantly, I’m learning a new way to think.  Now that’s amazing.”
"The Lab was a great experience focused on the tools and process to be innovative vs. “one” innovation subject.  These tools are invaluable."
“The (Innovation Lab) experience was amazing.  Key tools and concepts were learned in a very short time and made real by practicing with other industry practitioners.”
We are grateful for the [Center for Innovation] Innovation Lab. Thank you for the space to learn and practice problem-solving. The work helped inform our approach [to this paper].
- Elizabeth Gordon & Keila Rawlinson | DPR Construction