HiveRank (718)

Derek Cheshire

Associate HiveMind Expert


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In a nutshell

Working to create chameleon like, innovative businesses by removing blockages and enhancing creative thinking.


Fully Available Immediately


Sheffield, United Kingdom




creative problem-solving


innovation management

Innovation Strategy

Keynote Speaking

Knowledge Management

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Project Management

Public Speaking

Scenario planning


Strategic Planning


HM Expert since

Wednesday December 16, 2020

Current role details

Currently acting as Innovation advisor at VIT University, Chennai, India.

Member of International Advisory Board of the Academic Staff College at VIT-AP University, Andhra Pradesh

Derek's STAR Stories

The House of Ideas - Expansion And Diversification In A... (Reveal More OR View Full Page)

“Recession is looming, we are threatened by international brands and imports. We must innovate but how?”

The above is a direct quote from the client, a major manufacturer of mattresses in Central America. They had 3 factories and 800 employees and produced what was regarded as a premium product in that region. Their turnover was around $100 million but as a private company, they were looking at closing a factory and possible redundancies.


The initial task was ‘help us to Innovate’ so myself and a Mexican colleague were tasked with assessing the Innovation potential of the company, setting up any necessary interventions, and creating an environment that would lead to potential new products and services.

A target was set of 5 new products within 6 months.


A set of behavioural surveys was used to assess Innovation potential. The demographic information contained assisted with carefully targeting a number of training courses and with the setting up of the House of Ideas. This saved on training costs throughout the organisation.

In order to focus Innovation effort and avoid running workshops for the whole organisation, the House of Ideas was born. This ensured that skills and expertise were available to a greater number of employees and also that knowledge was shared on a daily basis.

Employees were taken from all areas of the company and at all levels (Sales, Marketing, Finance, Production, IT). This ensured buy-in across the whole organisation and rapid identification and collection of new ideas. Two sets of apartments were rented, one for employees to live in and one to work in. They were introduced to a range of alternative thinking concepts and creative techniques. They were allowed to experiment and contact any external organisations that they felt could help them.

The company also made available facilities for prototyping of new ideas, thus ensuring better feedback and decision making regarding potential new products and services.

The House of Ideas was retained at the end of the initial 6 month period but there were no permanent members. Staff were rotated through, and it was seen as a benefit to the company and a ‘badge of honour’ amongst employees. This was how the culture of Innovation was cascaded through the company.



By the end of the first six months over 20 new ideas for products and services had been worked on, with 5 making it to product launch at an International exhibition. The changes made were seen as positive and had buy in from management and staff at all levels.

The House of Ideas led to the company working with Dupont and 3M to create plastic springs for their mattresses thus opening up the hospitality and healthcare markets. Mattresses were produced that had adjustable top sheets so that comfort could be adjusted. There were also new ways of displaying mattresses in department stores.

The initial surveys led to early identification of weaknesses such as ‘hand on’ management, being too risk averse and poor communications around vision and strategy. These could be addressed through smaller, localised interventions.

Following this, a shift in mindset led to the company realising that they were not simply a manufacturer of mattresses but a manufacturer of comfort. Using their skills in manufacturing they joined forces with 2 Swedish designers to produce a Scandinavian inspired range of furniture. This enhanced capability meant that they were in an excellent position regarding any ‘comfort based’ market opportunities.

After 2 years the company had grown from 800 to around 1200 employees and had opened an additional factory and 2 international sales offices. The recession had been beaten.


Innovation Audit in Oil & Gas: A Pizza Fuelled Response. (Reveal More OR View Full Page)

A supplier of pumps and control systems to the oil and gas industry based in Mexico was struggling to innovate. The generally successful company was experiencing a sales plateau and a lack of focus.

  • Conduct an innovation audit that assesses the current capacity/potential of the company to innovate and identify areas for development as well as areas of strength.
  • Present the results of the innovation audit to the board of directors.
  • Introduce alternative methods of thinking so employees can create new and innovative solutions for customers and new ways of managing the company.
  • Conduct a whole company workshop to address points arising from the audit and introduce new ways of thinking.

Innovation Audit

Conducted an innovation audit remotely in order to remove potential bias.

The audit reported the following:

While generally well balanced, the research found no systemic areas of weakness. The audit did identify a number of areas that were suboptimal for nurturing innovation. These included:

  • Team Working
  • Acquisition and use of market intelligence
  • Communication of the new company vision and company strategy
  • Developing an innovation process since no recognised company wide framework existed

Presented the report to the board of directors who were informed of the potential topics to be covered in the workshop


Facilitated a voluntary out-of-hours workshop for any employee able to attend. The workshop was designed to:

  • improve employee skillsets
  • share existing knowledge and skills
  • provide clarity on innovation capability and transparency regarding strategy and decision making
  • provide a roadmap to address one or more problem areas identified by the audit

There was to be no extrinsic reward other than large amounts of pizza and cookies. In total, the workshop lasted a day and a half and was attended by between 60 and 70 individuals including board members. The workshop consisted of the following items:

  • Alternative thinking methods
  • Creative problem solving
  • Boundary testing
  • Generating ideas
  • Storytelling

The attendees were divided into self-selecting groups each of which selected a topic from the innovation audit. Groups were multifunctional and included board members.

Each group reported on their ideas and an outline implementation plan.


The workshop created a significant effect on the morale of employees due to increased transparency and ability to contribute. The board members learned that their workforce was committed and able to contribute in ways that they had not appreciated.

Each of the areas selected resulted in a plan that was actioned the following day. This short intervention would kickstart the Innovation initiative and encourage further exploration and learning by the company.

Business results included:

  • Expansion into renewable energy
  • The General Director (Managing Director) and Operations Director had realised that they were in the wrong jobs and so swapped roles
  • The business began to grow once again
  • A new Innovation process was developed and immediately adopted
  • An eventual doubling of the size of the workforce

Services Derek Delivers

Service Icon HiveExec For Innovators Leaders (Reveal More OR View Full Page)

This service focuses on accelerating success for leaders responsible for Innovation within the enterprise

Service Icon Innovation Accelerator (Reveal More OR View Full Page)

A data-driven approach for diagnosing and capitalising upon systemic and tactical opportunities to uncover and nurture innovation across the enterprise.

Industry Experience

Business Services



Government and Public Services


Oil and Gas

Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences



regional Experience



Central America