First, let’s get a big picture. Every workshop is an important step, so it’s still part of a process. You definitely have a bigger plan, and your dream shines high. As every star is part of a constellation, we follow a path as the way to innovation. The road of a co-creation session, has three main stages: prepare -> run workshop -> follow-up.
To get the most out of a workshop, preparation is key. It’s the same if we aim for a marathon, the performance will be the main point, but training upfront is what gives us higher chances to succeed. Here some key points to keep in mind:
- Define a clear goal, and make sure is reachable.
- Share all the information with all participants: agenda, objective, etc.
- Assign homework, so to make sure that everyone reviews the delivered information.
- Clarify expectations, so to have a common understanding.
- Define the teams in advance, so to calibrate profiles and personalities.
- Set the working environment, also the break areas, which are equally important.
For most of the managers it’s hard to gather a group of colleagues in a room for a full day. Everyone is busy. And it’s hard to book them full time on a long schedule. But some goals aren’t reached in two hours. So make sure everybody is aligned and knows about the importance of their timely investment. That said, here are some further tips:
- A workshop is a series of activities, connected and relevant to each other. So adjust your schedule/your plans accordingly.
- Trust the process, because working in a team implies ups and downs.
- Focus on the main contents/tasks, and leave the rest for the coffee break.
- Everyone is important, so as in every organized community, each one has a role. Respect that, but at the same time demand equal speaking time and respect for anybody.
- Ideally, a team is formed by max 4 people, mixed of any stakeholder and final user.
And maybe the most important rule to run a succesfull workshop:
- The facilitator guides the teams through the activities and everyone contributes!
- Before and after the session, schedule a quick call, it helps to build clarity.
- Share documents, results and outcomes, a summary helps to gain the big picture.
- Sharing is caring: Let everyone open up regarding what they liked most or wish to improve.
- Stay organized, tracking action items helps on the long term.
- Invite everyone to comment on the final outcomes, it’s their result too.
- Keep a lasting open channel for communication, that’s when you focus on the process.
At this point is pretty clear that a workshop is not a meeting, is not a class, and is not a conference. A workshop lives on the principle of cooperation, of building together on each other’s inputs. It’s probably the highest example of social interaction in the working environment. So be prepared to write, to speak, to sketch, to build physical objects, or even to act. But surely, you will not be sitting, lay back, and passively listen to others. Because the key activity that connects all the previous point is the interaction between participants.
To get the most out of co-creation workshops, try to get the most out of people.
If you like to know more about Co-Creation, please visit our landing page “Service Design” as well.
Business & Service Design