Innovation in action: The value of an external perspective

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As part of my onboarding process, I was invited to take part in a co-creation session with a client. It was my third day as Studio Manager, and I was still learning all about The Moment’s culture and team, the work we do, and how we lead clients through their innovation journey. The goal of the co-creation session was to help the client’s team better understand their stakeholders and how to involve them in the innovation process moving forward. During my first workshop as an observer, I closely monitored the co-creation process and I had the opportunity to witness the work first-hand. As someone who is entirely new to innovation work, I thought I would share some insights and observations of how The Moment’s Innovation Designers deliver thoughtful and productive working sessions.

Innovation for non-innovators

Overall, I was very much impressed with both the process and the outcome of this session. It was a pleasure supporting my colleagues in facilitating a large group of people and working with them toward a common goal.

It is challenging to work with many stakeholders and it can get chaotic sometimes. My colleagues designed and delivered an organized session with specific outcomes in mind, and a thoughtful experience for the participants to engage and contribute meaningfully. During the working session, there was a large and diverse group of people tasked with generating solutions to the problem at hand. Having many people in one room, with a lot of brain power, can often lead to power struggles or confusion. However, I found the session was set up in a precise way to allow participants to easily provide their ideas and thoughts that ultimately led to a successful experience.

My talented colleagues used various frameworks and tools to facilitate the session: it was properly timed, engaging and fun, extremely well organized and, overall, the people who attended the session felt well looked after. The Innovation Designers set up the session to allow space for creativity and encouraged people to share their ideas in pursuit of a common goal.

What makes a session “Momenty”?

The art of running a Momenty session starts with passion and preparation: The Moment Innovation Designers are definitely good hosts, always keeping the session informal and building a safe space in which everyone feels enabled to share and participate. In any co-creation session, the Innovation Designers aim to eliminate possible tensions and anxiety, which prevents participants from being 100% present and engaged. For example, at the beginning of every session, we open with specific questions such as “what is preventing you from bringing your best self forward today?” This serves as an icebreaker, but also helps participants feel more relaxed, present, and ready for the meeting ahead.

Momenteers are also always prepared. The room is set up with everything needed to have a successful session: colourful post-its, pens, posters, tape, name badges, frameworks, and anything else you could possibly need — all ready to go before the meeting starts.

The value of visual design

Another observation I made during my first session was the importance of using visual aids in facilitating the co-creation session. Visual tools are essential for the innovation process: The Innovation Designers tell stories, share experiences, and introduce ideas to the client using all kinds of visual aids such as images, cards, drawings, and data visualizations (graphs, tables, etc.). The Innovation Designers don’t just tell clients how things are, they illustrate a story to help facilitate their learning. It’s a way of teaching and helping to establish a deeper understanding of the materials at hand.

I was in charge of capturing and documenting all stages of the session (for internal use). I photographed people who were engaged in conversations and participating in activities. I also documented all of the information generated during the session: lots of post-it notes, information displayed on whiteboards and walls, and anything else that was written down or shared. Proper capture is also part of a great “momenty” session. This is a very important stage in the process; following the session, our team will take all the information, break it down and synthesize it to make sense of the trends, ideas, and outcomes, which will be shared with the client at a later date. Taking part in capturing all of the physical documents allowed me to see the benefit of using visual aids to surface different viewpoints and ideas, all while following a guided process.

A co-creation session with people in mind

As a result of the Innovation Designers’ work, our clients were actively participating in the conversation (all of them!) They were eager to write down their ideas and share them with others. Participants were responding to stimuli from the Innovation Designers, who were letting people do the work by guiding them without imposition or steering their thoughts in any one direction. The Moment team truly helped to empower the clients to think through the problem at hand and develop their own solutions in a unique way.

Halfway through the session, participants were deeply involved — you could feel the creativity and passion vibrating throughout the room. The fun factor was definitely present; the session was enjoyable and never boring. I could tell from overhearing various comments right after the session that people were definitely carrying home with them new ideas, concepts, and a brand new level of involvement in their work and the innovation process.

As I grow into my role as Studio Manager, I’m looking forward to participating in more co-creation sessions. I love to see the Innovation Designers bring their talent to surfacing innovation in myriad ways, and feel the energy of new clients when they become engaged in the work.