6 steps for a successful innovation workshop

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6 steps for a successful innovation workshop

6 steps for a successful innovation workshop
why innovation!
3 min
26 Aug. 2021

The task of breaking down a vision into smaller goals and tangible tasks can be challenging, especially when you have multiple stakeholders involved. We’ve put together a set of guidelines that may be considered expert recommendations to kick-start this process in your organisation. The role you will take is as the facilitator, so you must have a strong understanding of the process. 

These guidelines were constructed during an MVP (minimum viable product) workshop why innovation! ran for a high-end luxury brand in Hong Kong.

To read more, including the breakdown of each day of the workshop and extra tips on how you can apply these guidelines to your own industry and context, download our FREE white paper here.

Align all stakeholders on the vision 

Before starting an envisioning exercise, get an alignment of key aspects like vision themes, key objectives, business value metrics etc. The team will progress faster when they are clear about what they are working to achieve. 

For our client, the first workshop was all about alignment. Aligning the leadership team on the vision, key objectives, business value metrics and the team charter. They were also aligned on Agile ways of working. As a facilitator it is important to get this alignment. 

Use different methods to help people achieve this if your planned course isn’t working well enough. Don’t be afraid to experiment and make necessary changes. 

Ideate a range of solutions to achieve the vision 

The vision can be achieved in many ways. Don’t stick to the first solution you think of but generate a wide range of solutions to try out. Get all key stakeholders to collaboratively ideate on multiple solutions to achieve the same goal. 

In our second workshop, we included not only stakeholders across domains (IT. Business, H.R., Marketing, Legal, P.R. Operations, etc..) but also the boutique staff to brainstorm on ideas. 

This helped everyone to view and understand the problem from different perspectives to come up with radical ideas. 

As a facilitator, it is important that you encourage all participants to actively participate in this activity.  

Identify assumptions, risks and impediments for these solutions 

For all the solution ideated, make a note of all the assumptions made while sitting in the workshop room, risks involved and impediments to progress. This way, you will have already started thinking critically about which solutions to move ahead with. 

In our second workshop, different groups identified assumptions, risks, and impediments for the solutions they were working on. 

As a facilitator, make sure you encourage your participants to ask the right questions, tough as they may be, to identify these solutions. 

Break it down into smaller tangible goals and tasks over a timeline 

Work backwards. Break down your solution into smaller goals. Create a roadmap. What actions have to be taken to achieve these goals, how long will it take and what is required to complete the action. 

We had different groups work on their own time horizon and action timeline. 

Their time horizon was 3-6-12 months with smaller goals at every milestone. At this point, facilitators should guide the groups to think about achieving outcomes rather than outputs.  

Identify roles & responsibilities to own these tasks

What is an action plan without knowing who is responsible for these actions? 

Identify clear roles & responsibilities for each member to take ownership of their respective actions. In our case, each group member volunteered to take ownership of one or more actions from the roadmap. In your situation, it could be the same. 

It is usually better for people to pick the item they resonate with over being entrusted with the responsibility of something by a third party.

However, context matters so keep an open mind.

Test solutions in the market to validate critical features 

How do you know whether the solutions you’ve designed are in fact relevant to your customers? 

You test them. Instead of spending huge amounts of time, money, and other resources in building the entire solution all at once, you test the most critical aspects and features of the solution with your customers to get their feedback early on. 

This is the point of the workshop: to develop the MVP for your solution and get valuable, real-time feedback from the market fast. 

Have an MVP roll out plan and test out the different solutions brainstormed during previous workshops.

Much more goes into this process which you can read in depth by downloading our FREE white paper here!

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