All in Workshops

Design is the process of aligning desire and constraint. Somewhere in that process trade offs will inevitably be made. We can’t have it all and we have to compromise in some way. Learning how to compromise is hard enough for individuals. Now try it in a group where the desires of others can appear arbitrary and unaccounted for.

Groups that find ways to productively compromise are at an advantage to groups that cannot. Those groups can make better decisions, can make them faster and a much more likely to follow through.

Our ideas have the opportunity to get better when we step our of our own filter bubble and get feedback on them. That said, giving and receiving feedback on each other’s work can be scary and is often avoided. We all know what this can lead to. Finding ways to constructively and safely give feedback is an essential part of authentic collaboration.

When you resolve to use parallel work and iteration (which I recommend you do) in your workshops, you create a new need.

At the end of a round, the teams need ways to share what they’ve done. They need ways to share their work.

In this article, I explore techniques, considerations for, and implications of sharing work.

Closely coupled with the idea of parallel work is another idea – iteration. Iteration is about building workshop outputs in increments over time. Combined with parallel work it allows a group to see how components of their workshop topic interrelate and how to achieve ‘the best’ outcome.

What do you do when not every workshop participant is in the room?

You turn to technology!

Working with ‘remote’ participants is both a challenge and an opportunity. I’m learning how to get the most of these sessions and to provide better experiences for people ‘dialling in’.

The vast majority of the time people think of inputs into a workshop, they’re thinking a PowerPoint on a screen, and a presenter speaking to the content, aka ‘Death by PowerPoint’. The good news, is doesn’t have to be that way! By thinking about what your participants will do with the information you can open up a range of possibilities about how you’ll use that input.