Creating belonging at work
A workshop that utilizes vulnerability for authentic storytelling
The team: With the combination of account, Graphic Design, Interaction Design, Hospitality, and Engineering, this project was seamlessly interdisciplinary. Our shared backgrounds as women in the workforce, created the optimum opportunity for designing an experience that ultimately represented our own experiences, as well as delivered on the coalitions’ mission and offering.
The Ask: A coalition of leaders with different values and priorities hired us to help them unify over a shared go-to-market approach and value proposition. They requested an additional final deliverable in the form of a video documenting the workshop to share with key coalition stakeholders.
The Client: A startup coalition created by four unique companies with the goal of redefining the back-to-work experience for families with an emphasis on breastfeeding moms.
The Process: Throughout the workshop preparation period, we consistently collaborated with our clients by sending facilitation guides, and walking them through our proposal early and often. It gave the coalition a strong sense of what we were planning to do, and built their confidence in us dramatically. They were really impressed with the amount of thought we’d put into the workshop, and the design we’d applied to communicate the feeling we were hoping to evoke. We held a single worksession with them prior to the event to gather feedback and ensure that our activities would foster the outcome they intended. By including them in the process, we were able to refine the deliverables, and deliver on what they needed rather than just what they had initially asked for.
What we learned: When talking amongst ourselves, and with our clients, we realized that the offering we were working towards, was deeply personal and important. Therefore, as coalition leaders, our clients would have to feel comfortable and confident sharing their own stories. For many of the workshop participants, it was their first opportunity to interact and really get to know each other so we needed to create a space that felt safe.
This had an immediate impact on the workshop itself, as we realized that some of the activities we’d designed were worth spending more time on to support the team in understanding the true power of their coalition.
In particular, our Partner Strengths and Synergies exercise provided a gentle yet powerful way for the partner organizations to acknowledge each other’s strengths and also share ways they thought they might best be able to serve the coalition’s mission. With different values and priorities, the coalition hired us to help them unify over a shared go-to-market approach and value proposition. They requested an additional final deliverable in the form of a video documenting the workshop to share with key coalition stakeholders. O
The Outcome: Because the team also represented the end users, we created a space where they could be open and vulnerable, utilizing their own experiences to create a campaign for the new offering. We were able to not only help our clients craft a launch strategy and value prop, but also, share their own experiences in order to grow stronger as a team, and champion/celebrate each founders strengths. With the output of our workshop, the coalition has a foundation upon which to move forward with their messaging and marketing, and they understand how to lean on each other’s strengths as they continue to evolve their go-to-market strategy and incorporate additional organizations into their coalition. Also, upon delivery of the video, Medela immediately asked if it could be shared externally.
We delivered a one-day workshop resulting in the desired artifacts, filmed it, and produced a video to be used for socialization, including the composition of a new piece of music to serve as the score for the video. Supporting the workshop and video were a collection of custom-designed and produced frameworks and content collection materials which supported the arc of the conversation for the workshop, recorded the coalition’s work, and served as visually stimulating backdrops for the video. During planning, we also delivered a comprehensive workshop facilitator’s guide, which was designed to communicate the activities included in the workshop, the stimuli and how they would support the activities, and the mood and tone for the video to be produced. Following the workshop, as we synthesized the work the team did on their positioning statement, we also isolated and refined three guiding principles for the coalition.
Thoughtful structuring of workshop activities to help the participants learn more about each other and preemptively address topics that might prove contentious or bring up negative feelings. The first half of the workshop was designed to open everyone to the conversation and dream up possible futures for the coalition, the second to build the foundation upon which their joint vision of the future could grow.
Production quality of the workshop materials to have the workshop feel 100% custom designed for the participants.
Support for our own work, completed in isolated bursts of collaboration, though a new framework, “Today will be successful if we…” We also incorporated this into the workshop.
It all started when…
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