My colleague and friend Marija once joked that I’m a master Yoda of creating and facilitating workshops. My ego liked the title, so I’ve adopted it, but I wanted to reflect on what makes me the Master Yoda in that area and how you can become one too.
It’s pretty simple. Yes, I am a certified facilitator, a teacher by study. I have been running workshops since I was 17, BUT what truly makes a difference for me are Design Thinking, Storytelling, and focus on creating an experience in the broadest possible sense.
I see workshops as a Product and a problem waiting to be solved.
As with any other Product problem, I start by first BEING CURIOUS. The questions floating around me during this stage are: What is the true challenge or problem that I’m trying to solve with a workshop? Whom do I need to involve and why? What do I already know that can help me?
If I wanted to apply the double diamond (just the shape of it) over my thinking, this is where I’d go both wide and narrow.
Once I’m clear on the problem to solve during the workshop, I move on to RESEARCH. I go back to my existing resources and scour the internet for insights into how others solve this problem. There is no need to discover hot water again. I search for proven approaches to have an impact, especially those I’ve already tried before.
Back to double diamond visualization … this is where we go wide again. I bring in as much insight as possible and continue going wide when I enter an IDEATION stage.
This is where my mind goes truly wild. I let it think of all the good, bad, and worst approaches for the workshop. At this stage, I’ll often resort to storytelling and create small stories (those for 6-year-olds just focused on the topic my workshop is about). For example, one time, I volunteered to develop a workshop to create a vision and plan for a quarter, and I wrote a story about a time traveler that traveled from the future. He gave us hints into how the future will look at the company and asked us to follow a few fun steps and create a vision that would guide us towards these or even better results in the future). I honestly don’t know how I come up with these stories. I’ll blame it on grandpa, who was a fantastic storyteller in my early years, but it can be anything that gets people in the mood. You can use videos, photos, music, or even fun games.
Now it’s time to go narrower again in our diamond. I’m usually ready to DESIGN the WORKSHOP. Once done, I get a second opinion on the structure, materials, tools, and participants. Basically, I TEST my CONCEPT, ITERATE if necessary, and it’s ready!
As for the tools that I use … I’m a massive lover of Miro, so it’s no wonder most of my workshops these days are made in Miro. For workshops facilitated in real life, I use different materials to make it fun and engaging if I’m facilitating a workshop in real life. In the workshop with the time traveler, Marija helped me create many props that helped us immerse ourselves in the time traveler’s story. It was tons of work, but the workshop was a success! Not only have we managed to create our mini vision for our agile team, but we also had a detailed plan for achieving that while having fun.
That’s it. What do you think? Easy? Not easy? How do you do it?