What I learnt while giving an innovation workshop

[As seen on LinkedIn]

A few weeks ago, I was giving a workshop on innovation and creativity. The client wanted to foster an intrapreneurial way of thinking with their staff and asked for an interactive session. The workshop was held at a hotel on a sunny Friday morning.

At 8:30 am, employees from a client of mine started to walk in. Different departments, ages and backgrounds. All struggling to wake up. From their mannerisms, you could tell the varying motives as to why they were there.

Some were there because they had to. Others wanted to win brownie points. A ‘few’ were generally interested in the topic.

The event started and it was clear that a lecture style ‘workshop’ was expected. They were wrong.

Bored audience

What I did was try to bring ‘start up’ culture in the room. I made them pitch, talked about pivoting ideas, explained the concept of an MVP. I gave examples of awesome startups that had brilliant ideas and execution. I explained how most had mediocre ideas that became brilliant over time. I explained lean thinking and approach.

The atmosphere in the room changed. They were excited. Even the Facebook-obsessed few at the back of the room were interested in what their colleagues had to say. They started to challenge each other. They got up to pitch ideas. Most importantly, they got excited.

This was a revelation for me.

Creativity, innovation, startups, thinking outside the box. They are achievable for anyone. All you need is to be excited for a long (long) period of time, and that eventually becomes a passion.

This means that every company can become innovative, no matter who your employees are.

Knowing that, the next question I asked was, should they? Should businesses challenge the way they do things and be innovative? Should processes change to allow for creativity and not just efficiency. Should companies think motivation, rather than just KPIs.

An easy answer for most, yet so few companies adopt it. Fear or knowledge? This is the next question I need to answer.

Got thoughts on the subject? Leave a comment below!

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