Workshop Facilitation & Client Innovation
Getting ideas and understanding out of a project team's heads, and into the real world. A case study of how I 'do' design workshops to help client teams innovate, and get from workshops to wires. (2017)
In January 2017, the Reason team formally kicked off discovery around a new internal training platform with one of their international fashion retail clients. We completed a light voice-of-the-customer research phase, which helped steer a discovery and alignment workshop for the team in London, attended by the client's Director of Product Management, Product Manager and Sr Director of Store Experience. Outputs and next steps from this series of workshops are captured in this section.
The client had a major headache in designing and creating a unified training experience for store staff globally. This was a problem because it meant the client's customers were not having the best possible experience in store, which can negatively impact store revenues. I began the workshop with a session where our goal was to ‘get everything out of our heads and into the world’. The purpose was to get the Reason team up to speed as well as ensure there was total alignment amongst the project team as well document our learnings from work done to date.
The Approach & My Role
I designed all elements of the two-day workshop, including agenda, timings, attendees and all exercises we participated in to move the problem toward a solution and achieve client buy-in. I facilitated stakeholder discussions and dug into some issues where team members had differing ideas of success or interpretations of goals, in order to get everyone on the same page and build a shared understanding.
In the afternoon of Day One, we focused on capturing what we know of the existing training delivery journey for Visual Merchandising at the client, and how we’d ideally want this to look in future. We captured potential opportunities to innovate.
Day Two of the workshop focuses on sketching. All members of the team are focused on rapid-fire sketches to potentially solve the problems we identified together on Day One. We then had the client team vote on those ideas to take forward with further guidance from us, to help them make the designs real and get them in front of their staff for testing after a design phase.
The workshop was a success and we collectively identified a set of next steps for the project, with client buy-in to move forward. I used the areas agreed in the sessions to move forward and start interaction design of some of the key elements of the customer journey our product might serve for the client's customers.
What I've Learned
I've done oodles of workshops over the years (50+), with all manner of stakeholders and project team members, mostly at Director to C-Level. I am confident facilitating difficult discussions and make a point of trying to raise some element of conflict in the room, so the team can come to a shared understanding more quickly and move forward to building better quality products and services. I love watching people engage in this way and reach an exciting outcome to move a project forward.