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Before joining Inventium, I used to think I knew how to facilitate an innovation workshop. I have since learnt that in my previous life as an Innovation Manager for a global organisation, I was conducting crimes against creativity!

At Inventium, I have become an expert in the science behind creativity, and how to design and facilitate innovation workshops that produce meaningful outputs for organisations. My journey from rookie to rockstar has been invaluable, and I’d love to share some of my key facilitation learnings with you.

Innovation facilitation is a lot more than just facilitating the workshop. Just like a best-practice innovation process, there are some important stages to go through before jumping into idea generation.

1. FOCUS – understand what the strategic imperative of your workshop is. This can involve exploratory research to uncover the biggest customer opportunities to take into your workshop. If you haven’t done this type of research before, you can check out Dr Shelley Logan’s blog post on how to do an environmental scan. The output of this stage should be a specific challenge that participants can’t wait to start solving.

2. SELECT – be deliberate about who you invite to the workshop. This will allow you to create a dynamic group of idea generation participants. When it comes to creative thinking, there are certain personality aspects that are more useful than others. You can read more on what some of these are in the ‘Annual Review of Psychology’ abstract.

3. PREPARE – source stimulus that will provoke new and exciting thoughts in participants’ brains, helping them to come up with ideas to solve the challenge. This creative thinking principle is illustrated brilliantly by the late Steve Jobs, in his Stanford Commencement speech in 2005. Listen out for his “connecting the dots” story (0:35 – 5:16).

Once you have done the stages above, you can turn your attention to your facilitation on the day.

If you have any questions about how to increase your impact and become an expert innovation facilitator, or if have an interesting story to share, you can find me here: @fasttrackjudy or here: [email protected].