The Perfect Innovation Workshop for Your Organization


February 27, 2024

Think about being in a race. If you stop moving, you’re left behind. That’s business for you – it’s like pedaling up a steep hill. Stop for a moment, and you might find yourself sliding backwards.

Getting creative with ideas isn’t something you can just turn on like a light switch. It takes real thinking, knowing what you’re after, and a good plan to make it happen

That’s where innovation workshops come in. They’re a timeout from your regular routine, a chance to step back and look at everything with a fresh set of eyes. It’s all about giving your everyday work a boost with some clever thinking.

Want to know how to make sure your innovation workshop is a launchpad for real change?

Quick Takeaways

  • Get clear on what you want your innovation workshop to achieve and make sure it fits with what your team or company really needs. 
  • Pick a small group for a cozy, deep-talk kind of workshop, or go big for lots of ideas and broad topics. Just make sure it fits what you’re trying to do. 
  • Find a workshop leader who’s more of a conversation starter than a lecture giver, someone who really gets the group engaged and learning by doing.
  • Keep the workshop buzz going with follow-up materials like articles or newsletters.

1. What’s your innovation workshop really about?

When you’re gearing up for an innovation workshop, the first thing you need to nail down is your main focus. What is it that you really want to get out of this workshop?

Imagine you’re planning a road trip. Before you even think about what snacks to pack or which roads to take, you need to know your destination. That’s your objective.

graphic shows mountain with red flag on top representing an objective for an innovation workshop

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Maybe you want to come up with some cool new product ideas. Or you might want to find ways to get everyone thinking more creatively. Or perhaps you’re looking to get better at tackling problems. The key is being crystal clear about what you want to achieve by the end of this journey.

This step is about making sure your workshop is laser-focused on what matters most. Ask yourself what makes your team tick and what your business really needs. A workshop with a clear focus can transform everyday thoughts into big wins. It’ll make sure that your team’s creative energy is spot on with what your organization needs.

2. Picking the right number of people for your session

graphic shows people sitting around an office table for a workshop

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Alt-text: graphic shows people sitting around an office table for a workshop

A great innovation workshop is all about the environment. If you’re aiming for a deep-dive into a specific area, where you want everyone to come out with solid results, go for a smaller group. It’s like having a close-knit dinner party where everyone gets a chance to chat and share ideas.

Small workshops are great when you have a particular problem to solve or a specific skill you really want people to grasp. They’re also perfect if you need to spend time figuring out how to actually put plans into action, especially if you have a mix of different roles in the room.

Larger workshops can still be interactive and engaging, but they need a different approach. If your goal is broader, like covering a big topic or exploring lots of ideas, a big group works well. Just remember, in a large workshop, you probably won’t hear from everyone. Hands-on learning can still happen, but it’s more about breaking into smaller groups within the workshop.

Also, think about whether your workshop is in person or online. In a virtual setting, it can be tougher for people to feel connected, especially in a large group. It’s important to design it in a way that everyone still feels part of the action.

3. Layer the learning with a workshop series

For real in-depth learning, think about running a series of workshops. It’s like reading a good book – you don’t do it all in one sitting. You take it chapter by chapter. 

When you pack too much information into a short time, like trying to squeeze a year’s worth of learning into just one week, it’s overwhelming. People can’t soak up that much, that fast. With a series of workshops, you spread out the learning. This way, everyone has the time to really understand, talk about, and use what they’re learning, step by step.

These series workshops are also great for sharing experiences. When people come back after trying out what they’ve learned, they bring real stories of success and challenges. Hearing these stories from others in the same boat really helps the lessons stick. It makes the whole learning process more effective.

4. Finding the right innovation speaker for your event

Not every top-notch innovation workshop needs a speaker. Sometimes, your team’s all you need. But, if you’re thinking of bringing in some outside expertise, it’s really important to choose the right person

Look for someone with a solid track record in running workshops. The key is to find speakers who understand their role goes beyond just presenting content. They should know how to inspire learning through discussion, interaction and real-life experiences, not just lecturing.

Steer clear of anyone who leans on reading from slides. This leads to a bored audience, making the experience a giant waste of time. The best leaders keep everyone on their toes and engaged. They turn the workshop into a real hands-on experience where everyone is part of the action, not just sitting back and listening.

To nail down the perfect leader for your workshop, here are a few things to consider:

  • Check out their experience in facilitating similar events
  • Look for reviews or feedback from other people they’ve done workshops for. What were the lasting outcomes?
  • Notice their style in any available demo sessions or videos
  • Make sure they have a balance of teaching and interactive skills

The right speaker turns a good workshop into a great one. They make sure everyone leaves with not just a few notes, but with real, usable insights that they can put into practice right away.

5. Keep the momentum going with follow-up materials

When picking a workshop, think about what happens next. Check if the innovation workshop offers things like articles or newsletters to reinforce what you learn ‘in class’ and keep the momentum going. This extra material is gold for keeping everyone thinking and applying what they learned.

graphic shows key components of a innovation workshop for organizations

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Alt-text: graphic shows key components of a innovation workshop for organizations

And remember, the best leaders don’t just pack up and leave. They instill curiosity that lasts so you’re motivated to think about your own situations, have conversations as a team, and always hone your skills and thinking. It’s about finding those workshops that don’t just end with a ‘goodbye.’ They give you and your team a treasure trove to dig into later, making sure the learning sticks and keeps evolving.

Your path to a winning innovation workshop

The perfect innovation workshop starts with setting clear goals, creating the right environment, and offering depth, while the right leader brings the experience to life. 

From pinpointing your goals to choosing the right speaker, each step is a building block towards a great workshop. Keep these pointers in mind, and you’re well on your way to turning everyday ideas into groundbreaking innovations for your organization.

Ready to unlock your next great idea? As the world’s leading Innovation Architect, I can help. Read more on my blog page now, or email me today to learn how to nurture creative thinking.

About Carla

Carla Johnson Innovation Creativity Speaker Author

Carla Johnson helps leaders who are often paralyzed by traditional thinking. They suffer from slow growth, an eroding competitive advantage, low employee engagement, and depleted investor confidence. Their teams lack purpose and progress and constantly battle a resistance to change and new ideas.

As the world’s leading innovation architect, Carla’s spent 20 years helping leaders shatter limits and discover undiscovered possibilities. Through years of research, she’s developed a simple, scalable 5-step process that teaches people how to consistently produce inspired ideas that lead to uncommon outcomes.