During the last Belgian Girl Geek Dinner I had the honour of producing a gala workshop at Point Virgule with about 30 attendees. This is called a gala workshop because a large number of people are brainstorming towards a similar goal. We do this by actually splitting the attendees in smaller groups, so interaction can be as intense as possible. Since I had also received the request to get a real taste of Innovation Games® and Gamestorming, I prepared several techniques to run in parallel.
We only had a short evening together, a time restriction that made the endeavour more challenging, especially for me, in order to create a workshop that actually brings value to both attendees and Point Virgule. An added treat to the evening: wonderful food by raw food chef Julie!
The goal of the workshop, which always needs to be clearly defined, was: “How to improve customer acquisition and retention through digital channels?”
A good workshop always follows a clear pattern: start – open – explore – close – end.
As a starter, I introduced very shortly some theory about Innovation Games (Luke Hohmann) and Gamestorming (Dave Gray) and the concept of Artful Participation. This concept from Sociocracy 3.0 is at the heart of any succesful meeting: any participant should ask this question to themselves. “Is my reaction in the moment the best contribution I can make to this collaboration?. Then I introduced the group to our male facilitators for the evening, each had a paper with the technique they were going to use for the exploring part of the workshop. Even though these names might not mean much to the attendees at that point in time, I asked them to Body Vote and choose which technique they wanted to experience.
During the opening we let our brain go wild. We ask questions to awaken more creativity, e.g. “What would Chuck Norris do?”. But in order to get everybody ready for a creative workshop, we need to wake up the creative parts of our brain.
This was done with a fun exercise called “Association Circle”. The attendees stand in a circle and an object is thrown from one to the other. Each time the object is thrown a word is said. The next person then says the first word that comes to mind in association with the previous one. This exercise takes about 3 minutes, but the level of creativity we see coming from attendees after this short start is notably higher than without such a warmup exercise.
Then the 3 groups got started with the main part of the workshop, the Explore phase.
Group 1 did a brainstorm session with a technique called “Prune the Product Tree”. I slightly modified the technique, so the branches that are called “features” in the original technique were now used as communication channels (social media, video, printed press,…). The description of this original Innovation Game can be found here, on the Innovation Games® website.
Group 2 used a technique called Empathy Map. This technique by XPLANE is used to understand the needs and desires of your customers as means to improve your products and services. A detailed description of this technique can be found here, on the Gamestorming website.
Group 3 did their session through Impact Mapping. An impact map communicates scope, goals and priorities, but also assumptions on two levels. The first is that a deliverable will support a change in behaviour of an actor, produce an impact. The second is that once the impact is supported, the relevant actor will contribute to the overall objectives. This visualisation makes impact maps a powerful tool for roadmap management.
You can read all about impact mapping here, on the Impact Mapping website, or buy their book, I highly recommend it.
That leaves us with a lot of information: input from 25 potential customers!
To move on to the closing part of the workshop we needed to get some priorities and actions filtered out of this mass of information. For this, I facilitated Caroline and Ingelien of Point Virgule during a modified version of the NUF test (New, Useful, Feasible). I asked them to use 3 coloured sticky dots to indicate which items in the brainstorm results were for them:
- New (hadn’t thought about this before)
- Useful (we can work with this in the future)
- Feasible (we could actually do this tomorrow already!)
We then transferred the items to a separate chart. After conducting this exercise with group 1, we added them as spectators to group 2 and finally everyone joined for the NUF exercise of group 3.
Each group was then invited, as a closing, to each write an “Achievement Unlocked” card. It can be hard to explicitely appreciate someone for their behaviour. And it can be even harder to accept appreciation. And yet appreciation is something that can have such a big impact on people’s motivation. This is why we created these easy to carry “Achievement unlocked” cards. This concept is of course based on the gamification element of achievements, getting recognition for a certain behaviour or perseverance. Each girl geek also got a pack of 10 cards in the goodiebag, and an online version is available here.
This brought us seamlessly to the end of the workshop part of the evening, nicely within the timebox of 2 hours that had been evaluated upfront.
To end the session, 2 feedback techniques were introduced: happiness wall and perfection game. With this feedback, I can improve future events an keep on learning.
As you can see, we used a lot of techniques, which are mostly described online through various sources, just click the links in this post. In order to make a good workshop, I tend to go beyond the boundaries of Innovation Games® and even Gamestorming. I modify techniques to fit my needs, look at the classical brainstorming techniques and create a healthy mix of interesting things to get to the results the customer is looking for. You’ll notice the links direct you different websites.
Other techniques buried in the different workshops were:
If you want to learn more about how to apply these techniques, get to work with a lot more of them and learn how to create your own successful internal workshops, workshops with clients, and even modify techniques, Co-Learning offers 2-day certified Innovation Games® masterclasses (but we go broader than Innovation Games®, I promise). You can find all the details on this website.
I hope to meet you again in the near future!