More songs about buildings and food. Post-JLL workshop notes

2016-04-30 17.26.58 copy (1)It was great to have the chance to spend Saturday (like Saturday 9 April) in an all-day workshop for JLL, based on the Future of Work. Like the 9 April session, it was run with a strong affiliation to TEDx Sydney. The event was held at Sydney Work Club, which was an added bonus.

Our team was tasked with developing a 2016 to 2050 persona for Louise Tran, an unmarried 29 year old CEO of a $200m company providing ‘virtual education’ services (while pulling down only $100k annually, which seemed a pretty low income, at least compared to some of the other personas!)

Our team pitched an AI, designed to help Louise work out who she was (from a values perspective) and to help her prioritise as a community leader. This in the context of a Collaborative Economic Model that removed the need for Louise to work competitively for food and shelter and allowed her to focus on what she is great at (in 2050). In that model, workers and their families could buy or lease city buildings which would be both home and work (banks would structure suitable enabling financial products (!), workers could crowd-source the funds, governments could issue innovation grants, etc.)

There was a Friday night scene setting session with an inspiring video (that buffered out, in the end) from the World Economic Forum.

Team 1 was great, and overall I found the experience better than last month’s session.

So, some notes on what I liked better and ideas that might add even more value:

Even with a great crew, I think there’s a degree of luck with facilitators and their ‘fit’ for the team. Saturday worked particularly well as I felt Anthony had more experience and was prepared to trust the team to come through.

One thing I noticed was that anchor/ facilitator had to yell quite a lot (luckily Gauri has an excellent ‘mummy voice’) to get the teams to re-gather between activities. This was a problem with the Vivant session on 9 April too. The teams farthest from the facilitator are often still deep in conversation 2-3 minutes after the facilitator calls time. Better AV and more coordination is required, I think. They had the AV at the Vivant session but the sound was patchy and I know Mel and I missed some instructions that left us bonding over the importance of education rather than honing our responses for an ideation session

This idea of managing the physical space reminded me that Florence Guild has hired a new Community Manager with a theatre background, which led to some theatre and participation-related thoughts. I think it’s possible – and constructive – for organisers to think more about participants’ reasons for being there. Like 9 April, we were looking at the best part of 50 professional people there, unpaid, with a desire to help, make things better, learn, etc. There was a lot of talk about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and this same thinking could be applied to add value to all participants.

Are the ‘public’ participants just the brain fodder, or the audience, or is it more complicated? The latter, I suspect and so some things to think about might be:

  • Actively encourage participants to share their details (if they want to), perhaps via an app (I suggested TEDx ‘TINDER’ on 9 April and it was noted something like that is planned for 25 April). Or just a wall to pin your business card, or a speed dating 30 second intro, or a shared list of names and roles (for those who want to).
  • It was a great idea to have an artist elaborate on the team persona sketches. With more artists, this could be done in closer to real-time (maybe one artist between two teams). Or, maybe have different skills-sets available to teams, so mind-mappers, cultural anthropologists, story-teller types, actors, and others to get people thinking differently.
  • For example, the showcase session at the end of both workshops might have been (even) better with an actor, or director, or comedian helping the teams organise and present. I suspect there are some improv and other techniques that wouldn’t just enhance the delivery, they’d be more fun and add to the experience (and learning) of participants.
  • There is a part of me that still wonders whether the necessary teamwork results (through ‘groupthink’) in some really good ideas ending up ‘on the cutting room floor’. I don’t know if the post it notes are reviewed later, but maybe there is an approach to rescuing some of these ‘orphaned’ ideas (maybe a prize for the best idea that didn’t make it to the showcases). TEDx Sydney has a similar approach in having ‘public’ speaker pitch their ideas on the main stage
  • Follow up. It would be cool to get an email (or something) that gave some idea that the workshops made a difference. Knowing you were part of a team that helped change minds would be a big part of the self actualisation/ peer recognition ‘needs’ people feel in the participating.

No carping, it’s just that the novelty of these things will wear off and it’s always looking for ways to improve.