"Let’s do a workshop” is the answer to many challenges today. The workshop format risks getting worn-out as a credible idea generation method among employees when used too often and without clear objectives. This means that requirements on innovation and adaptation to specific company situations are increasing in order to fulfill people’s expectations.
If a workshop is crafted with a clear purpose in mind and innovative exercises are adapted to the group dynamics, it can be the best possible tool for training, team building and knowledge sharing. And that’s why I love workshops. Being a worn-out method or not. If it’s done right, it’s a success tool!
The best possible prerequisites is that management is supporting the objectives and approaches employees' ideas with an open mind and a genuine will to listen and act.
Failing with a Workshops
The worst thing is to pull people from their daily tasks for a workshop without a clear goal. It will just leave people feeling cheated on time – especially if they also need to catch up the lost hours. It is also important that the participants understand how the output will be used and that this is followed up.
Why Hire Someone from the Outside?
An external workshop facilitator will be able to ask questions and get answers that someone inside the company never would, due to history or internal politics. It is of course important to prepare and study the company business and group dynamics but being less involved in the products and technology is actually an advantage when facilitating as it helps putting focus on the true objectives with the workshop – and not get stuck in the details.
Examples of workshops:
Idea generation or Information Collection Workshop
Generate ideas on how to develop your business, how to position your product, what tactics to use or what channels to use. Idea generation workshops are a great tool to get people engaged and get an overview. It requires follow-up on the collected material. Works with both external and internal stakeholders
Training or Testing Workshop
This is optimal when you have developed a message or a strategy that you want to launch or have tested with key stakeholders.
Getting People On-board or Team Building Workshop
Having people on board can be about a specific issue or to mark a new beginning. This is a great way of building teams but it is also important to avoid that people feel cheated on time. There should be a specific goal more than just “having a good time”. If your prime purpose is to "only" have a good time, maybe kayaking or cooking would work better than a workshop.