A Workshop Canapé

In week one of the first edition of our Workshop Creator program, we sent out a few thought starters to our cohort of participants.

One of these was a brief slide deck on Audience and Topic Ideation.

It was one small asset before the main program started; a tiny canapé before the appetizers and entree.

We knew it mattered, but as the program unfolded, we realised this little canapé deserved its own place on the menu.

A key part of our workshop creation journey is the design phase, and a key part of the design phase is that canapé – now a very tasty appetiser – on Design Thinking Essentials.

Design Thinking has many courses and workshops of its own, but for the work in our workshop kitchen we can reduce it down to its two essential ingredients, two questions:

Who’s it for?
What’s it for
?

The ‘Who’ tends to get people pretty animated – we see new target audiences emerge, network thinking starts to happen, views on psychographics rather than just demographics.

Are the people in our workshops Novices, Practitioners, or Experts?
What do they already know?
What are they not voicing?
Where may they be frustrated, confused, nervous?

A common error is in making a workshop for just about everyone – thinking through the ‘Who’ helps us avoid this trap.


However, the ‘What’ is just as important to consider.

There are many purposes workshops can have: alignment; decision making; prototyping; ideation; even failing.

This is a good start point, but we can go deeper.

One question that can take us into new frontiers is ‘What will happen?’.

What will happen to them?
What will happen to their work?
What will happen to their team?
Their community?
Their mindset?

And then, turning it back on ourselves, what’s it for… for us?

Now, workshops are definitely about them – our audience – rather than us. But this question can be helpful to us as well. If we’re careful with it, we can discover something new.

Is it for me to position as an authority?

Is it a gateway drug to something more?

A portal to new opportunities?

How about a way to access – and play – the game inside the game?

To avoid the traps of being the everything – or the everyone – store; we just need to remember who and what it’s for.

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