6 Tips for running successful Innovation workshops

13 Sep 2017

When you’re challenged to come up with a pipeline full of new product ideas, there’s nothing more terrifying than a blank sheet of paper!

But a creative ideation workshop is a big commitment in time and budget.  So, it’s important to ensure you make the most of your investment and have a productive day.

Here are our top tips for a productive and enjoyable day.

1: The power of lightness.

Just as plants need light to grow a productive workshop needs a venue that is light, airy and spacious to get the most out of your team.  Choose a venue carefully.  A good light & airy space will inspire, motivate and keep your teams’ attention all day.  A dark and stuffy room will kill creativity and almost guarantee your day is wasted.

2: Define your objective clearly

A badly phrased question never receives a good answer!  The same is true with workshop objectives.  If your question is clear, precise, ‘open’ and measurable you are well on your way to success.  If your objective isn’t clear you will either spend the whole day debating what it should be, or worse still, with the team floundering not knowing what they should be delivering!

3: A well-structured agenda, with a little bit of flex

A well-structured agenda does many things.  It forces the facilitation team to think deeply about the workshop and what they need to achieve.  It gives the attendees confidence in the plan for the day ahead.  And it allows for crucial time keeping.  However, a well-planned agenda should be allowed to flex to allow great thoughts to be pursued and ensure valuable conversations are not stopped pre-emptively.

4: The right team

Once a clear objective has been set for a workshop, an appropriate team can be selected.  The team should be tailored to the objective.  The number of attendees is important.  Too few and its likely nothing will happen and too many people and you risk death by indecision.  Cross-functionality is important too.  Key functions should be represented from the beginning to stop anyone killing the idea dead at later feasibility stages.

5: Stimulating stimulus

Great ideas don’t just appear out of thin air.  They come from carefully chosen, fresh and inspiring stimulus.  This can come in many forms, but some of the best we’ve used have been team downloads from in-home consumer immersions, expert speakers and real-life consumers in the workshop.

6: Encourage discussion

Once your fresh & inspiring stimulus has been used to disrupt your delegates’ preconceptions,  the trick is to get them chatting, exchanging ideas and sparking ideas off each other.  This idea exchange is often the most productive part of any workshop.  They key is to use ‘smart’ techniques like: Think, Pair & Share to give form to ideas, capture them and bring them into the public domain.

Harness the power of innovation workshops

It’s a real challenge to run your own innovation workshop, so if you’d like a little help, we’re on standby to provide it

Our experienced team of planners and strategists will not just help you analyse your challenge – but also plan the perfect programme to deliver the incisive and actionable workshop you need!

 Why not discover how workshops can help you shape and stimulate your innovation process – just drop us a line, give us a call, or contact one of the team via LinkedIn.  We’d love to talk you through your options!




Written by  David Goudge