Four tips for organising impactful activation workshops
Using the art of strategic cross-function collaboration to drive change that resonates across your organisation.
07 December 2023
3 min read
You’ve probably heard the terms workshop and activation, but what do they mean when you put them together? While activation is much more than workshopping (check our blog on the activation spectrum), activation workshops are an important part of the mix. These working sessions are organised to drive change across the business – for example through the adoption of a new tool or insight. But how do you navigate this? In this blog we share our four tips for organising impactful activation workshops, tailored to the needs of your business.
A tailored approach to drive change
There’s no ‘one size fits all’ formula for sparking change. Activation workshops need to be designed with flexibility, aligned with the situation, context, audience and project needs. To do just that we use our activation spectrum, which provides us with the right mix of activities and assets to make each session a true catalyst for change. Each cross-functional session is strategically focused on gaining acceptance, application and accountability – and this of course tailored to the specific situation. But the real secret behind a successful session lies in involving cross-functional teams. Involving people with different backgrounds, reference points and perspectives is vital to align on the path forward.
1. Have a pitch practice partner
When immersing a group into the benefits and business case for adopting a new tool or insight, it’s helpful to do a role-play ahead of time where one acts as the naysayer. This will help you come up with answers to tough questions and identify the right activities to lead to adoption. External experts could be a great resource when a non-biased, broad view of the industry/topic or a deeper level of specialty expertise is needed.
2. Encourage fruitful conversation about roadblocks
Giving people the opportunity to challenge, push back and question elements of a new tool or insight is a critical step towards adoption. These discussions provide a platform for every voice and uncover weaknesses that, when addressed, strengthen the pitch for future adoptees. Here external voices – consumers, business partners, industry experts – can navigate internal political issues more smoothly since they’re not part of the organization or internal dynamics, so hearing their outside opinion can be helpful in tie breaker moments.
3. Don’t only tell, also show
Talking about a new tool or insight only gets you so far. To seal the deal, you must demonstrate it in action within the organization. Creating activities to align the new tool or insight with existing frameworks and ongoing tasks can give internal stakeholders a clear idea of the types of application scenarios. Involving external stakeholders can be beneficial as they can use their experience across industries to formulate out of the box application scenarios or even just make sure to come up with scenarios that are executable.
4. Hold people accountable by creating small commitments
Application ideas and examples are valuable, but their impact depends on follow-through. Encourage each attendee to commit to trying one of the application examples shared during the session, leaving them with an immediate action point. Here external partners can play the role of accountability coach to expand your bandwidth to remind and check in with each attendee to make sure the commitments are being carried out on schedule.
Embark on a journey to spark change with our four tips for organising activation workshops that resonate throughout your organization. While internal stakeholders are often the main focus, don’t underestimate the value of inviting external stakeholders. They can bring in fresh perspectives that enrich the workshop experience and make it even more impactful.
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