Today, more and more organizations are using collaborative workshops to foster innovation, develop products and services, and improve processes. A collaborative workshop brings different teams together to interact, think, brainstorm, come up with answers, take decisions, and/or create plans. Collaborative workshops create value through shared perspectives. Recording workshops and getting them documented by a business transcription service provider will ensure that the information can be reviewed when required.
Uses of Collaborative Workshops
Businesses can use collaboration workshops for various purposes:
- Problem solving – analyze the root cause of a problem and improve processes or work strategies
- Team building – team collaboration and problem solving
- Access to new ideas – increases access to the latent knowledge stored within employees, partners, customers
- Brainstorming – to develop brand name ideas and product concepts
- Marketing – strategic market assessment and development of marketing strategies
- Project planning – to develop strategies for successful project management
- Product development – reduce product/service development time
- Decision making – deciding priorities, strategy, and vision by exploring and evaluating alternatives
Backed with methodology and facilitation, collaborative workshops can streamline decision-making by involving key stakeholders, motivate teams, lead to faster, better decisions, and increase efficiency.
Bringing Together Differing Perspectives improves Project Quality
Most organizations have multiple business units with different functions (design, development, finance, marketing, etc), workflows, and agendas. Collaborative workshops allow these units to come together for creating products or services to meet tight deadlines. Bringing teams with diverse backgrounds and skillsets together provides a better understanding on how others visualize a problem. When specialists work together, it can lead to creative solutions.
Collaborative teams are the solution to many of the complex tasks that modern businesses face. Harvard Business Review explains how this works for the BBC – when the BBC covers the World Cup or the Olympics, it brings together a large team of researchers, writers, producers, cameramen, and technicians. Though they may not have met before, these specialists collaborate in a high pressure environment to record the action – with “no retakes”.
Collaborative Workshops vs. Meetings
In a conventional meeting attendees share their own points to find a solution to a specific problem. There is a definite agenda and limited time for discussion, so that time may run out without arriving at a decision.
However, collaborative workshops have an edge over meetings in that they bring together multi-talented groups of people. By promoting creativity and innovative, good can result in an effective way for solving a problem.
Running a Collaborative Workshop
Collaborative workshops are useful in many situations. However, before you start planning one, you need to know that it is the right choice. In some circumstances, such as identifying project goals, getting individual views and collating the results could be a better option, according to an article published in PLOS Computational Biology. The article offers useful tips on running a collaborative workshop:
- Plan the agenda: Collaborative workshops can run from 2-3 hours to a full day. Agenda is important to ensure time is spent appropriately on relevant activities. Don’t allow time-keeping to inhibit creativity.
- Choose the right participants: Consider diversity in experience, opinions, seniority, and interest when choosing the participants. Put colleagues in different groups so that they are exposed to new perspectives which will fuel creative thinking.
- Identify activities to achieve your goals: Determine what information you need to capture and organize activities to attain these specific goals. When participants are informed of your goals, they will engage more effectively.
- Brief facilitators: Interactive workshops have facilitators and moderators. Facilitators should have at least a basic understanding of the concepts being discussed. They should be briefed about the aims of the scheduled activities and encouraged to be impartial coordinators.
- Think about the logistics and recording outcomes: Have the room for the workshop ready in advance. Make arrangements for the necessary audio-visual equipment, seating, breaks between activities and refreshments. Recording and transcribing video summaries of the groups can help clarify the information presented. Companies usually rely on transcription outsourcing companies for such documentation. You will need to get participants’ consent for video footage or photographs.
Collaborative workshops bring together people and teams to analyze and find solutions to complex/core problems. Conducted effectively collaborative workshops can deliver bottom-line outcomes and create a more productive workplace.