Welcome to the Games
'Collaborative consumer workshop'. 'Interactive workshop-style debrief'. 'Co-creation workshopping'. Carol Wale thought such terms sounded great, but what do they mean?
What really makes a workshop a workshop and not just a glorified focus group with a few exercises thrown in? When I signed up to the AQRs Welcome to the Games I was hoping to find out. Ive run a few workshops before, both client and consumer, but what I wanted from the course was to come away armed with a fresh tool kit of tricks and tips and a better understanding of what makes a workshop really work.
Kate and Iain were excellent hosts. With workshops being the name of the game, it was only fitting to run the training course itself in a workshop format. And what was great about the way Kate and Iain engaged us was that theyd get us doing things throughout the day, then stop and get us to reflect on why we were asked to do those things. We were never allowed to rest on our laurels. Whether it was walking round the room shaking hands with everyone or choosing your favourite smelly pen, we were constantly moved around, energised and engaged, the first rule when it comes to running a successful workshop.
The venue didnt go unnoticed either. A lavishly decorated quirky set of rooms in Londons Art House, Islington (with an excellent breakfast spread on arrival and equally delicious lunch). Second rule of workshopping — stay out of the board room. If you want an inspiring and creative session, you need an inspiring and creative space. And one that gives people permission to shake off their day job and get stuck in.
The course took us through a step-by-step process, from Purpose through to Practicalities (the 7Ps) to running our own workshops, with a perfect balance of theory and practice. The latter half culminated in us planning and running our very own session. We were not only given the knowledge and confidence to facilitate but also great insight into how it feels to be a participant ourselves.
Id highly recommend the course to anyone working in research, whether that be agency or client side. I came away with lots of great ideas and cant wait to put some of them into practice!
Insight Director, Relish Research
This article was first published in InBrief magazine, August 2017
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2017