People have a very different experience at our meetings and workshops. Back-to-back activities make sure they engage with each other: Discussing, thinking, listening, questioning and generating ideas and solutions. It’s impossible to be passive while attending one of our events.
What kind of events? Our signature workshop, the Sandpit, is a 5-day immersive workshop designed to address a serious, complex challenge. We also run innovation labs, hack-a-thons, boot camps,
all-hands meetings, innovation strategy sessions, team building workshops and creative collaborative skill training.
We stir the pot with interactive agenda designs that provoke people’s thinking so they can create meaningful solutions to real problems and feel emboldened to make them happen. And we always give people a tool kit, exposing them to new and different ways of working with each other, which often changes how they work, moving forward.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders it created, have created a new normal of working out of our homes and meeting with each other over the internet.
But it really wasn’t so new to us. The team at Knowinnovation – our parent organization – had already been using virtual tools to facilitate on-line workshops for scientists. Originally, it was about our carbon footprint, but soon we saw that people who couldn’t travel or take several days off to attend an in-person event could still participate and contribute their expertise in our on-line workshops. These virtual events created opportunities for inclusion.
Participants and clients have found our virtual workshops to be as productive as many in-person events. Sure, it’s hard to recreate the serendipity that comes from striking up a conversation at breakfast, or falling into a spontaneous conversation at the break table. But we’ve found ways to keep our virtual workshops super interactive and engaging; these are not passive events, like webinars. At the end of the event, people tell us their time was well spent and that they’ve come up with concrete outcomes.
Click here to learn more about our virtual facilitation capabilities.
Participants, from a diverse range of disciplines and perspectives, come together in a creative, free-thinking environment — away from their every day routines and responsibilities — and are invited to immerse themselves deeply in a collaborative process around an important challenge. The Sandpit (aka an Ideas Lab) is usually a 5-day residential program that follows a relatively structured process.
Typically, 20 to 35 participants are invited, from different organizations and areas of expertise. Over the course of the week, the group works to deepen their shared understanding of the designated challenge, to redefine the problems within the challenge and to generate novel project ideas that are peer reviewed on the spot. On the last day, groups vie for funding with final project presentations.
The genesis of the term Hack-a-thon comes from the world of coding: inviting a group of programmers together to code with the aim of mitigating a problem or inventing something cool. Time pressure is a key aspect; it’s often a 24-hour event with a strict end point.
A Hack-a-thon can be a bit less structured than a Sandpit, allowing for groups to self-moderate within a specified time frame and then presenting their work. Again this varies, depending on the challenge at hand, the size of the facilitation team and the design of the event.
Sandpits and Hack-a-thons were developed with the primary goal of creating a more engaging and effective way to solve a problem. Both provide value by building an ecosystem in situations where some infrastructure might exist, but its components are dormant, unconnected or pursuing other objectives. The goal is to bring the mix of players together connect them to each other. Once they collide, new thinking emerges, as does a sense of commitment to taking action on any project ideas that are generated.
We believe that leadership isn’t something you teach, but rather it’s something that emerges when individuals are given the chance to explore their own capacity for bringing people and ideas to action. Leadership manifests in many different ways: pointing the way with a vision, stepping up as the first follower, or serving the needs of others so that they maximize their performance. Our workshops are designed to help participants explore different leadership contexts and along the way, discover their own personal and authentic leadership style. Learn more about our leadership workshops here.
We believe that leadership isn’t something you teach, but rather it’s something that emerges when individuals are given the chance to explore their own capacity for bringing people and ideas to action. Leadership manifests in many different ways: pointing the way with a vision, stepping up as the first follower, or serving the needs of others so that they maximize their performance. Our workshops are designed to help participants explore different leadership contexts and along the way, discover their own personal and authentic leadership style.