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How to get your workshops participants ridiculously engaged

I’m currently in week 3 of workshops with a client. The aim is to radically simplify their business, arm them with disruption tools, and the minor task of removing a 20 year old legacy system held together by bits of string and chewing gum, and replacing it with cloud technology.

When we pitched for this work we sold Design Thinking as our workshop technique. They were skeptical… and today my colleagues have admitted they were skeptical too.

Having run hundreds of workshops, I’m embarrassed to admit that at one time I was proud of being good with a whiteboard in workshops. The problem? I was standing, and they were sitting. It was boring.

Change participant activity from talking to doing. Change your role from listening to facilitating.

Design Thinking radically flips this on its head. We go from workshop participants talking at a consultant, to them participating hands on in tactile activities. They draw, they cut, they glue, they colour, they pitch, they clap, they critique, they sweat. We also don’t speak about the system, we speak about people and their emotional journey when working. We want to fix those lows and amplify those highs. We’ve found the lows are almost always system related.

It takes a bit of guts to tell a bunch of executives to draw a storyboard of their work, and then draw 100 ideas in 20 minutes. But it works.

Check out the free methods on the Hyper Island toolbox for a start. For instance, if you wanted to check in on your team during a project, run the Rollercoaster Check-in method.

If you want to come up with new ideas, use the Idea and Concept Development method.

Again, the key difference is that you facilitate, but they execute. They’re never board, but they’ll be exhausted by the end.

Design, Digital, Analytics, Cloud.

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