Ideation Workshops: How to Cultivate a Culture of Innovation

ideation workshop

Most of the time, your business’s marketing strategy will be created by your marketing team. It’s basically their entire job description.

But that doesn’t mean other people can’t or shouldn’t take a crack at it from time to time. In fact, by allowing everyone from your newest intern to your longest-tenured employee to share their creative marketing ideas, you’re mining a previously untapped resource.

Sam from sales, Carrie from customer service and Max from maintenance might not be the first people you think to ask for marketing input. But the different perspectives they see your business from can add a breath of fresh air to your next campaign.

It’s time for a creative ideation workshop!

What Is an Ideation Workshop?

Very few people hear the word “workshop” and think “How fun!” But done correctly, an ideation workshop can be exactly that — and productive to boot.

An ideation workshop (or ideation session) is a dedicated block of time in which you get a group of employees together and share ideas (good and bad) without the fear of judgement or ridicule.

Ideation workshops can be held in the office, but they’re best done outside of the workplace. It’s a lot easier to think outside of the box when you’re not staring at the same four walls you see 40 hours or more each week. The more unique the setting, the better!

Although we’ve all had the phrase “quality not quantity” drilled into our heads since grade school, an ideation workshop is the exact opposite. You want as many ideas as possible, no matter how crazy or impossible they may seem at the time.

When making your invite list, think about diversity. While you should certainly include people from as many different departments as possible, you should also concentrate on their personalities, hobbies and other interests outside of work.

A married mother of three who tends to keep to herself at the work has a vastly different perspective than a single twenty-something who’s the life of every office party. And they’re each bringing their own viewpoints to the table.

It should be noted that an ideation workshop is not about making decisions. It’s about finding as many creative solutions as possible. The time for selecting from those ideas is later.

Tips for a Successful Ideation Workshop

  • Appoint a Moderator. This person’s job is to facilitate the workshop, make everyone feel comfortable, keep things on topic and ensure everyone’s voice is heard.
  • Have a Focus. Although an ideation workshop is about ideas, not solutions, you should have a primary focus. “How can we improve our marketing?” is a bit too broad. “How can we get more people to sign up for our email lists?” is much better.
  • Pick Your Ideation Techniques. From storyboarding to bodystorming to trying to think of the absolute worst idea ever, ideation techniques help get the creative juices flowing. Choose two or three to incorporate in your meeting. (Here’s a good list to get you started.)
  • Keep It Small. You want to invite enough people to generate plenty of different ideas, but if you invite too many, you run the risk of people clamming up or talking over each other. Eight to 10 people per workshop is ideal.
  • Have Fun! An ideation workshop shouldn’t feel like a Monday morning meeting. If you want to generate creative ideas, you need to ensure that your attendees are enjoying themselves. A fun setting, comfy seating and plenty of refreshments will help everyone relax.

Ideation Workshops Take Your Marketing to the Next Level!

Marketers market, but they’re certainly not the only people in your business who have great ideas. By allowing other people to have a voice, you’re ensuring that your brand will never grow stale!

Are you having ideation issues? Mischa Communications can help solve them! Let’s throw some suggestions around.