How VFMC achieved a new way of approaching problems using remote design thinking training


The Challenge

The Victorian Funds Management Corporation (VFMC) is the state’s investment management body, committed to improving the future prosperity of Victoria. The organisation was established under Victorian Funds Management Act 1994 and is committed to bringing market leading returns that are efficient, effective and competitive. VFMC acknowledges that in order to deliver such outcomes, a commitment to continuous improvement as well as transformational innovation, in some cases, was essential.


They recognised that a consistent understanding of the meaning of innovation, a common language for this work and a reliable process was necessary to create a sustainable shift in the organisation.


Towards the beginning of 2020, VFMC approached Naked Ambition to help design and scale a capability uplift across the organisation around a process for innovation as part of the organisational wide development program ‘Propel 2020’. We knew that design thinking would be the ideal method to help understand end-to-end innovation for those serving internal and external clients, but also provide a new way of approaching problems for those in investment roles.


The Process

Through our discovery sessions with the CEO, People Leaders and Innovation Leads, we understood the current state of the organisation and the long-term vision for innovation. Particularly, when it came to defining innovation – where does it occur and what does it take. VFMC’s leaders had a powerful vision of innovation occurring in the three horizons – the core, the adjacent space and in the long-term transformational area.


Keeping current state of the organisation and the vision for innovation the centre of delivering the program, design thinking bootcamps were the perfect fit for starting the capability uplift.


The bootcamps were scheduled for July 2020, and as the date approached the VFMC and NA teams quickly realised that the entire program would need to be delivered in virtually. This meant designing a program that wouldn’t compromise on the learning outcomes or the overall experience. (We all agreed that online training has a reputation for being dull and tiring and attending a long-winded webinar just don’t cut it!)


We broke down the day long in person bootcamp to 3 hour sessions on two mornings. Each day started with a pre-recorded 45 minute webinar, where participants could enjoy a morning coffee whilst tuning into the theory and essentials of DT. Then, they took a deep dive into the workshop, where we used virtual whiteboarding tools to collaboratively solve for a real challenge, putting the theory into practice.

I have worked with Naked Ambition across several major projects at two organisations now and they are a company that you can trust to consistently deliver beyond expectations. As part of our 2020 Leadership Development program, we engaged the NA team to help us build capability in design-led innovation across the organisation at VFMC. They worked with us to co-design an approach that felt tailored to our level of innovation maturity, the goals of our executive leadership team and the larger program of work that we are running internally. Naked Ambition are able to communicate the principles and practices of design-led innovation in a way that is both accessible and challenging. The feedback from all levels of our team has been overwhelmingly positive and we are already seeing the benefits of having a consistent methodology and language for problem-solving.

Johanna Neilsen


One of the biggest accomplishments of this program was a highly visual and interactive way of learning in small groups, that allowed for the design thinking framework to be deeply understood across the entire organisation. All too often, leaders attend training courses and try to embed their learnings back in their teams’ but this leads to core concepts being lost in translation and the practices never being embraced. This isn’t the case for VFMC, where people from all levels and departments across the organisation joined the program, giving a common language around problem solving and innovation.


In addition to the language and the theoretical knowledge, the workshops leveraged the visual collaboration tools that gave participants a new way to approach projects and new wind to collaboration across the organisation.


Ultimately, the NPS for this program, the first of its kind to be delivered to such a large audience virtually, was overwhelmingly positive.

Do you have a challenge with embedding a problem-solving framework in your organisation or finding improving virtual collaboration?


If you’d like to discuss getting help, contact us to learn where we can help you map a path forward!