Cheri Weatherston
Cheri Weatherston
October 20, 2020

AMP 2020-21: Four Exciting Developments for Our Incubator’s Future

Cheri Weatherston
Cheri Weatherston

It has been an exciting three years for our AMP incubator, but as the saying goes, we’re just getting started.

We established the incubator in 2018 to help identify new products, processes and systems that could reshape our business and the world. Self-forming teams from across our company can pitch ideas to sponsors who then evaluate their potential. Selected ideas and teams are  given dedicated hours and resources to advance their idea toward commercialization. Early successes include a modular health screening structure called COVID Shield, a mobile lactation pod for working mothers called Sona, and numerous internal process updates and software in development.

Ideas of all size, scale and market origin have been introduced and developed. And, as we begin to look toward 2021, here are four exciting updates that will define Amp’s next 12 months.

New Partnerships
With AMP having established a solid foundation in its early years, we’re now starting to develop formal partnerships with other innovation agents. The first such partnership is with Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology (ICAT).

Powered by advanced technology and networks of creative people, ICAT unites teams of faculty and students from across academic disciplines to address grand challenges and creative opportunities, ranging from large societal problems to industry-specific issues to the frontiers of artistic expression.

We’re currently working on setting up a joint-ideation session for early 2021 and identifying opportunities and challenges we can better address as a team. We’re thrilled to join forces with ICAT and look forward to announcing more partnerships in the future.

COVID Shield
One of the most successful ideas to move through the AMP incubator to date is our COVID Shield. Developed by a team of architecture, engineering, healthcare designers and health clients, COVID Shield is a modular, scalable, customizable health testing solution that can be placed on college campuses, outside workplaces, in community areas and numerous other settings. 

The easy-to-assemble product can help expand testing resources during the pandemic (and for any future public health events) and reduce stigma around health testing. One of the unique features of the Shield is it can be customized with company branding, advertising or public art.

We are currently licensing the product with plans starting around $1,500 and it can be built for about $3,000 in materials. We’ve also developed an early manufacturing relationship to help increase and streamline product development and delivery.

Internal Energy
It’s hard to quantify internal energy and momentum for AMP, but it’s definitely growing each day. We just recently announced the third installment of our Development Team – an application-only group of leaders from across the firm charged with evaluating and helping advance Amp teams and their ideas. 

We now have Development Team members from a number of different offices and service lines within the firm, helping diversify our knowledge base. We’ve also created official liaisons within our marketing & communications team, legal department, technology in practice team, HR and NEXT Council.

Moving into 2021, we’re going to be announcing a series of ideation series focused around the internal and external partnerships we’re shaping and real-world challenges. These events will have limited capacity and help us even more rapidly develop novel ideas for the future.

Media Attention
A new consulting platform being developed in AMP that will empower us to review, advice and specify systems and infrastructure for “smart” buildings is featured in a new article about smart buildings published in the September 2020 issue of Consulting-Specifying Engineer. 

Moreover, the COVID Shield has been published by Fast Company, Business Insider, Architect, Texas Architect and NBC Dallas among other key media. The world is starting to learn more and more about the great work coming from our AMP incubator.