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Innovation ABC – Always Be Capturing

The job of the facilitator is to help the client company find solutions to the challenges, not invent them him/herself. The facilitator thus acts as a catalyst for collaboration and he/she needs to remember the three important letters: ABC – “Always Be Capturing”.

The job of the facilitator is to help the client company find solutions to the challenges, not invent them him/herself. The facilitator thus acts as a catalyst for collaboration and he/she needs to remember the three important letters: ABC – “Always Be Capturing”. Observe, pick up and document the essentials from the discussion for the whole group. In this way, all the ideas are documented, it is easier for the whole group to commit to them and it is also easy to go back to them as the discussion progresses. In many cases, the “eureka!” moments also occur when the conversation has progressed further and then some important point is noted in earlier notes. At Symbio, the facilitator’s work is strongly based on Design Thinking methods. The methods are great and it is usually important for the facilitator to trust that the desired end result will be achieved using the methods. However, sometimes things just don’t go like planned. Here are a few challenging situations from the facilitator’s diary and notes on how to tackle them.

One week Design Sprint / Progress stops at the beginning

A week-long workshop with the client company kicked off on Monday morning and we had made it to drawing a map on how we would reach our goal and what actors were involved in the process. The list of actors began to grow enormously and it was difficult to find the path that would lead to the goal. Even the customer started to be confused, will this lead us anywhere?

Solution: Take five! The client got a break in an awkward situation. At the same time I was able to make a quick assessment of the situation and change the method from the ecosystem map to more narrowed customer journey.

Lessons learned: Sometimes it may be appropriate to change the method if you find that the method used does not serve the purpose. So, ask yourself whether this is the best possible method for this particular situation.

A four-hour workshop / Rush to the Solution

The aim of the workshop was to outline the different user groups for the customer’s service and how they could be better instructed in the implementation of the service. We talked a lot about user understanding, but before we got to bite into user groups and bottlenecks from a customer’s perspective, the discussion drifted into technical solutions. The danger was that understanding of the user would be limited and solutions would only be considered from a technological point of view.

Solution: Redirect the conversation back to the goal of the day and take personas method into use.

Lessons learned: Solution-centricity is natural, especially for Finns, but when innovating new services, it is important to build empathy with the end user. This will give a better understanding of what and whose problem is being solved before ideating the solution. With the help of persona cards, we created archetypes about users and better understood their lives.

One-day innovation workshop / Total silence

I got a task to facilitate a day-long workshop for a class of high school students. I planned to start the workshop with a joint discussion on the innovation challenge of the day and the things affecting to it. I was faced with a total silence from the students. They were clearly in ​​a discomfort zone and no discussion emerged.

Solution: I quickly changed my approach. I handed out post-it notes and asked everyone to write down their own thoughts on the notes for five minutes. A huge number of ideas were generated and they served as a basis for brainstorming throughout the rest of the day.

Notes: Working alone in a group workshop is also useful. “Alone together” serves as a good guideline in many workshops: first work on ideas alone and then share them among the group. This will certainly make the voice of each participant heard.

Martti Soininen, Sr. Director, Customer Experience and Innovations

14.02.2018 | Articles