Running a successful ideation workshop part 2 [Inside 31Volts]

This is the second part of ‘Running a Successful Ideation Workshop’. To refresh your memory, our first video was about what idea generation is within a workshop and how to prepare this for your participants. First there is an explorative phase to find out how people experience the service. After this an analytical phase allows you to find a lot of values and insights that can be used to create an impact on the organization.

These insights you can use to generate new ideas for your service during the ideation. Here you try to come up with as many ideas as possible in order to come to new and innovative ways of enhancing your service.

So now we know how you prepare the ideation for your participants, how does a facilitator prepare?

Preparing ideation work forms with useful insights

As a starting point you take the questions and different insights that came out of the process. From these insights you try to think of different work forms to brainstorm and ideate and mix these different forms into something that forms a path: leading towards good ideas.

Prototype your work forms on yourself

Once you have created a good mix of work forms, it is best to test and prototype these forms yourself. When you yourself do not understand the forms or are not able to come with refreshing ideas, it will probably work the same for your participants. Next to yourself you can also test the forms on a ‘blank’ person, who is not involved and has little experience with service design. In this way you can also exercise your facilitation skills.

Furthermore, when trying the forms out, as a facilitator, you go through the process of having ideas for the ideation session. This will help you a lot during the actual ideation. It will become easier to steer the participants of the ideation or provide them with inspiration.

Give people freedom during ideation yet steer them to new solutions in a subtle way

As a facilitator you want to give people as much freedom as possible. It is best to let the people feel and be the ‘owner of the idea’. When this is not the case, they will be less passionate about working the idea out. At the same time your as a facilitator need to make sure that people do not fall in their own patterns or repeat what they already know. So besides giving freedom the facilitator is also there to steer towards something new.

Ask steering questions
There are some ways to influence in a subtle way. One way is asking a question that leads people back to the insights. A question that can be asked is “Is this idea really relating to the need we found when we talked to the customers?”.

Become a member of the group
You can become part of the group when you are in a flow together. This allows you to get on the same level as the participants and add some ideas yourself or give suggestions. Later when people are selecting ideas they can still feel ownership when they select an idea, even with the ideas that you as a facilitator came up with.

Be in charge of writing the ideas down
As a facilitator you can also write the ideas of the group down and hang them on a central spot. This gives you room to stir a little because you can decide how you formulate what you write down, to give a certain focus. You could even add some ideas or leave some out yet you should handle your influence carefully.

Guarding quality and the process is best achieved with two facilitators

When you facilitate a workshop with two persons you can take care of the quality and process in a ‘good cop, bad cop’ structure. One can guard the process and explain how the workshop will be like and watch over the time. The other can guard the quality by becoming a member of the group which makes it easy to give input as well.

In this two part video we’ve shared some of the things we do to make sure a ideation workshop works out as planned. We’re very curious to hear what your tips and tricks are!

Marc Fonteijn

Marc Fonteijn

Als medeoprichter van 31Volts houdt Marc zich bezig met het verleggen van grenzen binnen service innovatie. Marc helpt organisaties om waarde te creëren voor hun klanten door middel van design.

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31Volts [Service Design]