Finding opportunities for innovation and growth is hard work. The value of having good, interactive, highly participative workshops breaks much of those initial barriers to allow the hard work to begin in a more cohesive and collaborative way.

I believe any design of workshops must meet your needs, to push the thinking and to generate new returns in innovation understanding. 

Boilerplate designs might look initially attractive but knowing your needs, limitations, concerns, and ambitions can transform a workshop into one that lasts in the participant’s minds as they felt it was “clearly” designed for them

Which end of the innovation spectrum do we need to go?

  • Workshops can mean different things to different people. Find ones that are 100% focused on engaging with and accelerating innovation. They need a couple of simple rules
  • Conducting ‘open’ dialogues or focused conversations should always have a sound context so the contributions slowly build-out and hold real promise
  • Discoveries can start with different ‘fields of enquiry’ to achieve different connections and deepen our perspectives

I find the Divergent / Convergent approach in thinking as highly valuable

We need to always challenge ourselves and taking you through a set of lenses of discovery that go from ‘divergent to convergent‘ is important.

You need both to explore and exploit the multiple possible solutions. Divergent thinking is the ability and opportunity to offer different, unique or variant ideas adherent to one theme, while convergent thinking is the (eventual) ability to find the ‘correct’ solution to the given problem.

You encourage and ideate many solutions, both possible and impossible, and then use convergent thinking to move towards a realisable resolution or solution.

I use this ‘divergent and convergent’ structure for many of my workshops, it allows for broader engagement and involvement and that eventual drawing together from this process. Once or twice you have to be nimble on your feet to move from one to the other but the discipline comes from timing these as shared spaces and  giving each a clear discipline of dedicated time as you do need a very different mindset to think openly then begin to narrow the options down.

Creativity makes use of divergent thinking, which is solving problems with many possible solutions, as opposed to convergent thinking, which is actually solving problems

The process of figuring out a concrete solution to any problem is called convergent thinking. Divergent thinking is the process of thinking that explores multiple possible solutions in order to generate creative ideas. It’s a straightforward process that focuses on figuring out the most effective answer to a problem.

Divergent thinking” is the process of coming up with new ideas and possibilities. We are more in a creative and intuitive mindset. We explore lots of possibilities and stay more at this point on the conceptual abstractions.

We work this through as we go more into  “Convergent thinking”, this is associated with analysis, judgment, and decision-making. We become more analytical, rational, sequential and objective. We begin to explore constraint driven issues. It is the process of taking a lot of ideas and sorting them, evaluating them, analyzing the pros and cons, and making decisions, and exploring options that reveal, over time and discuss emerging value.

These journeys are personal ones as well as team forming opportunities and form the backbone of good workshops.

 Understanding innovation requires a deep awareness- through a variety of tailored or purpose-designed workshops, dialogues or discovery trips you can rapidly enhance your awareness and grasp of what ‘makes up’ innovation. 

When building the workshop it should be deliberately designed to help you  think through many areas of productive innovation opportunity. For example:

  1. Understanding the trends and drivers in your industry as well as exploring alternative perspectives allows you to look at not just ‘best practice’ but leading and emerging practice.
  2. Look constantly outside your organization to ‘see’ and collaborate from the values of applying open innovation principles and techniques
  3. Fostering the culture and climate for innovation to work inside your organisation can create the environment you are looking for but it takes  real understanding.
  4. We all need to be aware of the way we earn our profit,  where and why, and it becomes absolutely vital that our innovation activity fully aligns to the strategic needs
  5. Compete differently in the value chain – what it gives from new Business Models and discovering new opportunities to energize your business in different ways
  6. When we stop and look at customers in different ways so as to listen to their needs we can discover new innovation opportunities, then how do you discover those unarticulated ones?
  7. Expand into new markets and customers thoughtfully using the core within your business, in exploring the adjacency spaces and probing those ‘white spaces’ needs careful consideration.
  8. Developing new product, services, structures and processes needs debate and understanding
  9. Pursue a range of degrees of novelty to generate a greater sense of innovation possibility
  10. Being able to sustain your momentum and make innovation repeatable does need a broad identification and set of discussions to raise awareness, and build those capabilities and capacities well.

These journeys are personal ones as well as team forming opportunities.

 Understanding innovation requires a deep awareness – through a variety of tailored or purpose-designed workshops, dialogues or discovery trips, you can rapidly enhance your awareness and grasp of what ‘makes up’ innovation.