Compass Consulting Engagement with Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Cold Case Homicide

The Challenge

The police officers of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department regularly face a variety of challenges. The work is difficult and requires both creativity and analytical thinking. In particular, the homicide cold case unit was struggling to solve a shooting homicide from 2005. None of the IMPD detectives within the unit were involved with the case fourteen years prior, although a few were aware of the facts of the case. Hoping that applying an innovative thinking methodology to a cold case homicide might result in the “thawing” of the case and charges being brought against suspects, IMPD enlisted the services of Apprentice University’s Compass Consulting.

The Workshop

Apprentice University (AU) applied the Simplexity Thinking methodology for the workshop. The goals were to provide AU an opportunity to exercise problem-solving skills; introduce IMPD to the Simplexity Thinking System – an applied creativity methodology from Basadur Applied Innovation; and help IMPD reimagine and possibly thaw the cold case.

The two-day engagement began with team-building activities and an introduction to innovative mindsets. The group then went through discovering the facts about the cold case, as well as defining and reframing the problem. During day 2, the process helped the team expose unforeseen obstacles and eliminate barriers to innovation; visualize fresh approaches and perspectives; build alignment on priorities; and identify and schedule implementation steps.

The Results

The outcome of the workshop was successful as the use of Simplexity to help “thaw” the selected cold case homicide resulted in identifying new persons of interest (the cold case is currently being re-examined). Stitching together large amounts of unstructured data, facts, names, nicknames, events, etc., from a fourteen-year-old homicide proved to be daunting. A deeper understanding of the case was made possible because of the visualization tools in Simplexity and by organizing the case data using an online database and visualization application built specifically to manage homicide information. The power of creative problem-solving, and such tools and technologies mentioned, provided fresh insights for IMPD into an otherwise dormant cold case.