“It’s our core human truth, we are all creative.” – Duncan Wardle
It always upsets me when I hear someone say they aren’t creative. Nobody in this world is not creative. If you were a truly uncreative human being, you wouldn’t be alive right now. Because creativity means learning, it’s problem-solving, it’s iterating and finding new ways to do things differently and better. A baby figuring out how to climb out of its box to start exploring the world? Creative! A toddler figuring out how to steal cookies from the jar without being caught? Creative! A business owner figuring out how to future-proof their business and thrive in a complex and changing world? You guessed it. Creative!
Learning how to create and run creative processes and helping individuals and teams (even the ones convinced they were ‘uncreative’ kind) to solve complex issues and create impactful solutions, completely changed my life. I was hooked the first time I ran a workshopped Design Thinking Process back in 2016. I realized that I could make a career out of running workshops and helping teams across all sectors to create sustainable impactful solutions quickly and efficiently. Helping businesses to become more sustainable and future-proof by doing something that, to this date, gives me a tremendous energy boost every time. I mean, what’s not to love?
Over the last couple of years, first during hackathons, design thinking processes and innovation competitions, then in my Masters in creativity and innovation and later at The Green Sprint, I tried out many different methods to accelerate the sustainable transition in business. I explored design thinking, design sprinting, systems thinking, lean start-up, lateral thinking and so on. But every time something was missing, the method was either too broad or narrow, to rigid or to flexible. And then I figured it out, the glue holding it all together is the workshopping method. You can mix and match exercises, elements and processes, find the right order and turn it into a workshop series.
Okay, so workshopping is the super glue to tackle challenges and create sustainable solutions. Sounds pretty wicked right? But what actually is the workshopping method? Let’s dive into it!
The Workshopping Method Explained
The problems companies big and small bump into when embarking on their sustainable business journey (or any other change journey for that matter).
- Complete possibility overload. There are so many routes a business can take, how do you know where best to start, what should be prioritized and which project will create the most sustainable impact.
- The transition error. The whole world is going through a massive transition phase and your business is no exception. We simply don’t yet have a clear system in place for running projects that will future-proof your business. A lot of innovations, systems change and new concepts will be born into a world that we are currently all co-creating.
- Impact buzz kill. Killing excitement and passion with confusing jargon, indecipherable abbreviations and an overwhelming amount of input, certifications, legislations, methods and requirements.
- Ego over eco. Too often solutions and ideas with high impact potential end up on a shelf or completely crash because we focus too much on egos. The loudest one in the room doesn’t always have the best ideas. And upper management (sorry not sorry) doesn’t always know best!
- The chain meeting addiction. Ever been in a meeting without a purpose? A meeting for the sake of having one. Just to seem “busy”. On average we waste 31 hours on unproductive meetings very months. That’s a whopping four days. Four days that you could have spent with your family or used to actually get s**t done.
The simple truth is we don’t have time to waste. We have quite an urgent global agenda when it comes to taking action on climate change and other sustainability challenges. Companies don’t only have the responsibility to take action but they also ought to do so if they want to stay in business over the next couple of years or even decades. Laws and regulations are rapidly changing, consumers are demanding sustainable products, resources are becoming scarce and supply chain disruptions are increasingly frequent.
It’s pretty clear that taking action on sustainability rapidly and efficiently makes sense for both your business and humanity. So spending so much of our time on busy work seems to be the last thing we should do. Business needs to move fast, think ahead, learn fast and iterate. That’s why workshopping makes so much sense. It’s all about time optimization and resources efficiency for the benefit of your business and the rest of humanity. This is why we decided to fully double down on our “Workshopper skills”. A workshopper is “a problem solving and decision-making expert that can guide a team through any structured step-by-step process that ensures solid outcomes”.
The Principles Of The Workshopping Method
The principles of workshopping are very similar to the principles of running a Design Sprint. With one major difference, you can apply them to any collaborative problem-solving process.
- Together Alone. Sitting in a room full of bean bags and whiteboards whilst screaming ideas at each other might feel exciting and creative but it’s rarely efficient or productive. With the together alone technique you are thinking and working through steps together whilst frequently holding the space to think about something alone without being distracted or influenced by the loudest voice in the room. These voices are not only influencing everyone but also often lead to other voices going unheard.
- Everything is anonymous. We take out the bias by focussing decisions on the value of an idea, not who suggested it. Too afraid to not vote for your executives idea? No worries! Feeling silly for voting for the fresh idea suggested by the junior LCA analyist who joined the company two weeks ago. No worries!
- The future counts double. This is how we have always done it doesn’t hold weight anymore. Business as usual is either already dead in your industry or it will die very soon. We are living in a rapidly changing world and the only way to survive is to embrace the fact that the only constant is change.
How Workshopping Can Accelerate Sustainable Change In Business
The real challenge of accelerating the sustainable transition isn’t coming up with novel ideas and building technical solutions about the hard and non-technical work of changing people’s behaviour. Changing the way we do business and creating and implementing future-proof solutions will be a lot easier once we change the way we work from dreadful meetings to solution-oriented workshops. And we don’t have to stop at accelerating innovation processes at The Green Sprint we apply the workshop method to any process that future-proofs business decreases negative impact or increases positive impact. Just to name a few:
- Brainstorm new ways to optimize resource efficiency
- Explore potential impact business models
- Get a better understanding of what sustainability means for the team
- Redesign more sustainable office space
- Align on the company’s mission and vision
- Write up a high-level roadmap to a net-zero business
- Create a better understanding of the scope 1,2 and 3 impacts of the business
- Map the supply chain and identify impact opportunities
- Scope “low-hanging” impact opportunities
Are you curious about the workshopping method? We are offering free Impact Scoping workshops to individuals and teams working in commercial consumer good businesses, who are looking to accelerate sustainable change in their business. In just an hour you will have a clearer picture of the impact potential area’s of your business and a solid idea of how the workshopping method works. Are you ready to turn your team into an impact-driven force of problem-solvers and sustainable decision-making experts?
Hope to welcome you to a workshop soon!
Co-Founder & Workshopper