Innovation workshops provide an opportunity for people in an organization to brainstorm on the agendas of the organization.
To achieve better results from workshops:
- Explain the main agendas of discussion to the employees before the workshop. This will give them time to research on the areas of focus.
- To conclude the workshop with ready ideas, allow the workshop at least two days. Workshops that take one day result to half-baked ideas which cannot be implemented. The extra day has cost implications but considering how much has been set aside for even one day; the extra day will not be much of a big deal.
- Give the participants time to ask questions and to express their ideas. There has never been a problem with too many ideas: the problem comes in when the ideas are limited. Authoritative people can limit the effectiveness of this stage of the workshop. To avoid this, look for a way to control them. You can avoid placing them in small groups and as an alternative, offer them consultancy roles to all groups.
- Feedback on the workshop is important in achieving the set goals. Apart from that, the feedback helps you when planning for our next workshop. Since it is common for participants to give honest feedback in front of everyone else, you have to device ways of bringing out the feedback from them. You can use anonymous feedback or try to interact with as many participants as possible for honest feedback.
- Assign a fast illustrator for every group. The illustrator is responsible for articulating the ideas provided and presenting them for action. If the illustrator is incapable of articulating the ideas, the ideas from the group may not be well represented.
Before the innovation workshop begins, identify the goals and objective of the workshop. Make sure that you come up with focus points of discussions to control the direction of the discussions. Ten to twenty-five people are enough to attend a workshop. For that reason, you have to be selective about the attendees. The attendees should be people who are knowledgeable about the main points of focus.
To prepare the attendees about the expectations of the workshop, your stakeholder should present the business needs related to innovation. Besides that, he should also expound about the kind of ideas he hopes to get from the session. The agenda for the workshop should include the following sections;
- Opportunity identification
- Opportunity categorization
- Opportunity prioritization
Allow the participants’ time to enhance each other’s ideas. If you are using online software to enter the ideas, then the participants can view and comment the ideas provided by the others. The ideas suggested should be read out to notify the audience about the ideas available for voting. After listening to the ideas, then the members vote for the ideas. A good voting system will enable and reveal the benefits and ease of implementing each idea.
After the workshop, you need to measure its success. Consider the quality of the facilitators, workshop and the business outcomes to determine the success of the workshop. A survey is a good tool to get the exact response for the attendees on the three issues.