BLOG The WS Flow

A colleague asked me for advice. She is planning a three-days regional workshop with a small group of 12 colleagues working in the field of health. After clarifying the purpose we talked about the workshop design. She had a clear idea what to do and a vague idea about how to do it.

This was a good starting point for our joint reflection. We asked questions as:

  • How should the workshop be opened, with an (external) input or a first conversation?
  • What kind of input is necessary to boost deep reflection?
  • When is the right moment for an input? And who is the right person to make an input that truly inspires?
  • Who brings which expertise to the table? At what moment will this knowledge be unlocked? And how?
  • What will the group create together during the workshop?
  • At the end of the workshop, when colleagues leave, what will they carry with them, in their minds, in their hearts and in their hands?

From bits and pieces to the whole story

After talking about possible methods like World Café or Knowledge Café, Flip Chart Chat, Poster Presentations, and Speed Geeking, we took a step back to see the whole workshop arch, from beginning to end.

Seeing the workshop as a story – or even as a little drama – is helpful for workshop design. A workshop that:

  • Makes sense, is logic and builds up a tension;
  • Is flowing and guides the group’s conversation;
  • Is broad at beginning, connecting people and ideas;
  • Is narrowing down toward the end bringing reflections and conversations to a conclusion;
  • Leads to action

What are your key insights on workshop design?