Innovation Workshops Move Companies Forward
The old adage, “innovate or die”, is often true. Companies too slow to change like Blackberry, Blockbuster, and Xerox are sad reminders. Conversely, organizations like Amazon, Tesla, and Salesforce know how to stay relevant and ahead of the curve. Those who fail to adapt and give customers what they want at a cost-effective price are eventually left behind. Innovation doesn’t happen by chance. It takes proactive pursuit. Today’s savvy leaders are intentional in developing agile strategies to compete in the future. One proven tool leaders are embracing is the Innovation Workshop.
Innovation Workshops enable teams to generate and vet new ideas, accelerate existing concepts, and band together in a unified direction towards real solutions. They help teams explore and vet ideas that solve specific problems in a systematic and collaborative way. They provide an opportunity for brainstorming on out-of-the-box ideas, better technologies, and new ways of creating value for customers. They help companies not only survive but thrive. How does your organization handle the process of exploring new ideas that lead to innovative realities? We would love to help.
The Innovation Workshop
DISHER Innovation Workshops have helped countless companies expedite the creative process of product, feature, service, or program development to stay relevant in their market. I’ve observed these events unfold and they are truly energizing and motivating for all parties involved. Each one to three-day workshop includes certified facilitators, subject matter experts, and creative leads to guide participants through the process. Together, the team determines the potential of an idea by understanding its user desirability, production feasibility, and commercial viability. Each workshop is completely customized based on the client’s clearly identified problem statement, but the primary phases of an Innovation Workshop are similar as outlined below.
Phase 1: Research the Market
DISHER has an experienced team and proven process for gathering in-depth research prior to facilitating an Innovation Workshop. Current industry trends are captured, organized, and displayed for workshop participants. We also compare and recognize thought leaders from within their industry and outside of their industry in a structured way through comprehensive benchmarking. The benchmarking research is also highly visual and organized. The type of user-experience research conducted is based on the challenge. We utilize a variety of ways to gather feedback. Participants analyze the information and use it as a springboard for continuous improvement ideation.
Phase 2: Understand the Company
In preparation for the workshop, DISHER spends time with the organization in order to attain a good working-knowledge of the current state of the organization. Current products, processes, and people within the organization are studied. Customers, consumers, and capabilities are evaluated. The organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are also shared, discussed, and analyzed. This understanding helps guide the idea generation.
Phase 3: Define the Problem
What difficult challenge is the organization trying to solve? During this phase, the problem statement is openly discussed, clearly defined, and effectively communicated in a collaborative way from the participants. If there are multiple challenges, priorities are established with full agreement moving forward.
Phase 4: Generate Ideas and Pick the Best
Participants are encouraged to communicate and visualize a variety of ideas, build on the ideas of others, and generate as many concepts as possible. Literally hundreds of ideas may be generated during this phase. Large whiteboards work well for this phase. DISHER typically uses our uniquely-designed and fully equipped Whiteboard Room but can re-create this environment at a customer location. Everyone is expected to contribute. All of the ideas are captured and documented. After this exercise, the top concepts are ranked individually then selected by the participants for further development.
Phase 5: Expand Ideas and Develop Playbooks
During this phase, key ideas are often merged together to create even stronger ideas. The top ideas are developed further by the Subject Matter Experts and then sketched by an Industrial Designer. Each of these top ideas is concisely illustrated and summarized in playbooks for further development and discussion.
Phase 6: Rank Playbooks and Determine Next Steps
The team gathers the next day to review and discuss the concept playbooks. Each participant votes on the playbooks they believe have the most potential based on user desirability, production feasibility, and commercial viability. Collectively, they rank and compare the concepts they will pursue further. A timeline and the next steps of product development are agreed upon.
The results of an Innovation Workshop are impressive. Instead of being stalled and left behind, organizations walk away from the process pursuing vetted ideas for the future. Teams are unified and aligned. Best of all, organizations of all shapes and sizes fill their product development funnel with a blending of the brightest ideas that will keep them in the game for years to come. Seeing our customers succeed and Make a Positive Difference in this world is highly-rewarding for the DISHER team. Here’s what one recent customer had to say:
“We contracted DISHER to facilitate an Innovation Workshop with the intent of pulling creativity out of our team. Each participant came away with a broader perspective and the benefit of knowing that their contributions made a real change within our organization. Getting my team engaged at this level was something unique and valuable. From our planning sessions to the implementation of the actual concepts, DISHER led the way with confidence and clarity.”
-Ryan Mast | President | Bloem
If you need help updating an existing design or working on innovative ideas for the future, contact DISHER! We would love the opportunity to be your innovation partner.
Written By: Laura Anthony, Team Lead – Graphic Designer & Copywriter
Laura brings over 20 years of creative marketing experience as a business owner and employee. She has a BA in Business – Marketing/Management from Cedarville University and an MBA from Western Michigan University. She is passionate about developing useful communication tools that help others to succeed. Time with family/friends, long walks, art, sports, and summer are a few of her favorite things.