Bigger than usual workshop event


I am working for a European ID consultancy and are dealing with an unusual request from one of our US clients. They are putting together a global conference and want us to perform a design workshop with all the participants during the course of on afternoon. We’ve done several ideation/design workshops with the client, that have been both fun and have yielded good results in terms of concrete concepts to move forward with.

Here is the rub; there will be 92 participants at the conference and they must all participate in the workshop. Furthermore, our client expects concrete concepts to come out of it! To make things harder, we have no information about the venue and we know that we will not have the man power needed to split the exercise up into smaller groups.

Any ideas? :neutral_face:

Even with auditorium seating, it is possible to break up people into groups. For 92 people, I’d say 10-12 groups would be fine.

You can start with the big group to get the big ideas. You can even get the big ideas before conference by doing a survey sent to the 92.

Get 10-12 big ideas and let the smaller groups drill deeper into the individual ideas. Have someone do something (anything, magic tricks if necessary) while your group analyzes the work of the small groups and report findings back to the large group.

I have seen this with conferences with over 500 people. I have personally done the same thing with groups up to 100 people. You have to scramble, but you will get a few worthwhile nuggets.

And the hardest part is distracting the 92 while you pour over their small group data. Best if it is overnight. If not, have them go on a field trip at the venue. Worst case, analyze their data over lunch. Tight timeframe, but not impossible.

Thanks, that’s really helpful! I definitely believe that we need to do some pre-work and have some well-defined challenges for the different teams to work on. Regarding the analysis of he data, I am thinking of having the teams perform this themselves in the form of some simple evaluation/scoring/analysis either on their own work or that of a different team. This will lead to a small number of ideas “making the cut” to then be presented by the teams to the larger group.

Depending on the type of analysis that needs to be done, I will warn against one team critiqueing another team’s work. No matter how well intentioned, this will only come off at best as of little consequence and at worst, vindictive. Especially if the critiqueing team’s own work was sub par. You do not want to create any animosity in a workshop. You won’t ever get hired by that company again. I saw it happen once. The critiqueing team’s idea didn’t make the cut, so they independently decided to rip on all of the other ideas. Ackward was a complete understatement.

The analysis should really be done by a neutral third party, you. This also gives the benefit to your company of showcasing your skills.

But if you are just plain lacking the resources, your best bet is to keep the ideas and analysis completely anonymous. The critiqueing teams do not know the authors of the ideas and the authors of the ideas do not know the critiqueing teams. But since these people work with each other, that may prove difficult to do.

Or as you said, have the teams self critique.