For many people, workshops are not unlike sex in the shower: in theory great, in practice not so much. We sat with Pam Hamilton, author of The Workshop Cookbook to find out how to make the most of the collective brain-power available at your next workshop.
1- Recruit for Diversity
Research shows that the more diverse a group is (in gender, culture, ethnicity or background), the better ideas the group creates. Different perspectives allow for more ideas and opinions to be shared, making the final ideas better.
2- Everyone doesn’t need to know everything
We suffer attention scarcity, and this is made worse when we overwhelm people with information that they only understand in a shallow way. Split your team into small groups of people to work together on tackling a different part or angle to the problem, giving them only the information relevant to that angle. That way you get higher quality of attention and focus, and greater depth to the solutions and ideas before they are widely shared with the other groups.
3- Make sure everyone is personally involved
It’s not enough to send them a “pre-read” or to walk them through a lengthy presentation at the start of your workshop. Make sure they actually DO something before coming in.
That way they are better prepared and motivated, ready to teach each other what they’ve learned and importantly, they’ve personally understood the issue, from their own perspective and not just in theory.
For more workshop wisdom, visit the Cookbook
Pam is one the world’s pre-eminent workshop experts, having designed and lead thousands of workshops all over the world about everything from laundry to diamonds.
She got her start as a junior insights manager at Unilever and went on to become MD of Research International’s Innovation Bureau and Head of Creative Development at ITV, before founding Paraffin.