How to Make Meetings Productive
Despite the accessibility of information today, building relationships, turning information into knowledge, and taking collaborative decisions still demands meetings. Traditional workshops and meetings often use tired old approaches - too many 'talking heads', too much 'telling rather than listening and sharing', and too many 'flip-charts and Post-It notes'. These formats often fail to engage or excite participants!
Getting real value from a brainstorm, project discussion, seminar, or 'virtual event' depends on defining outcomes, selecting the right design and tools, good knowledge-sharing and analysis, and proper reporting and action-planning. In practice, meetings often fail because organisations simply 'sleep-walk' through these stages. Nor has the recent explosion of online collaboration platforms helped significantly; such initiatives, while welcome, are often poorly-run.
How Does Brain-Pool Help?
Brain-Pool Workshops dramatically improve the productivity of meetings:
- We use innovative technology to capture information more quickly and fully than is possible in traditional meetings.
- Workshops can be 'real' or 'virtual' - using Distance Brain-Pool via the internet to involve dispersed people.
- Our 'deliberative' approach enables participants to work together to articulate, debate and co-create ideas.
- Participants can readily review (on screen) the contributions made by others, review their own positions, and add further 'builds' or comments - creating a 'snowball of learning'.
- We prepare a distilled synthesis and a crisp set of recommendations based on all the inputs.
Our complete service covers design, facilitation, analysis and reporting. We assemble all the skills required, relieving clients of a substantial burden of expertise and time internally. We run each Workshop as a partnership project. The Workshop experience is described below.
What are the Benefits?
Brain-Pool Workshops transform not only the meeting 'experience' but also the outputs and follow-up action. The focus on co-creation, combined with the structure, tools and innovative technology which we employ, distinguishes our services from those provided by subject-matter experts, individual facilitators, or 'big-name' consulting firms. We deliver a step-change in extracting value from collaborative working. The multiple benefits which Brain-Pool Workshops offer compared with traditional approaches include:
- All talking the same language - shared understanding of key concepts and terms
- All contributions are captured simultaneously - dramatically saving time
- Equal 'air-time' for all - not 'who shouts loudest'
- Everyone can contribute - without having to catch the Chair's eye
- Contributions made anonymously - greater honesty
- Enhanced dialogue on presentations - multiple comments and questions can be logged
- Assessment - inputs categorised and rated within the workshop
- Real deliberation - inputs reviewed, built upon, categorised and assessed in the workshop
- Parallel syndicate sessions - but without the need for break-out rooms
- Highly focused and stimulating - through use of structure and tools
- Guided by independent, impartial, expert facilitators and analysts
- Inputs can be labelled - for later analysis by interest or stakeholder area
- Transparency - Verbatim output is available at the end of the session
Applications for Brain-Pool
Brain-Pool Workshops provide a unique and powerful approach to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing organisations today. The intense deliberation, capture of inputs, and provision of a sound basis for action, are key benefits at any stage in a programme of work - just as useful in getting the team together to create a plan for a programme of Workshops as in supporting the Workshops themselves.
Areas in which we have successfully applied Brain-Pool Workshops, often as part of a wider programme of support, include:
- Roadmapping, Horizon-Scanning, Foresight, Future Planning, and Visioning - focusing on trends, impacts, and strategies.
- Decision-Making - transforming the quality of strategic decisions and buy-in to new approaches.
- Managing Projects - ensuring buy-in and effective learning at kick-start, review and closure stages.
- Innovation - going beyond brainstorming to generate, develop and assess creative ideas.
- Supply Chains - enabling collaboration to raise standards, improve productivity and innovate.
- Learning Lessons - sharing and learning from past experience in future operations.
- Identifying and Sharing Good Practice - collaboratively determining and promoting what 'works'.
- Networking - forging Networks among people from diverse functions, locations and cultures.
- Engaging Stakeholders - capturing contributions from up to 100 participants at a time; enabling everyone to deliberate on each other's ideas; providing independent facilitation and analysis; ensuring impartiality and transparency for participants; and co-creating valuable outputs for the sponsors.
- 'Breaking the mould' - providing a distinct and different approach to revitalise the traditional formula for any conference or meeting.