We’ve just completed the work surrounding the design and delivery of a Sales Conference for a major company in Ireland. We had a wonderful time designing and delivering the conference and hope to return later in the year for another piece of work.
Our theme at the conference was navigating constraints to sales in a highly constrained business environment. We have written on the subject of constraints and creativity before. We had been hired to work through an ambitious sales plan for 2014 – 2015 and, after some initial diagnostic work, we came up with the idea of mazes, puzzles and games as a design principle for the event, since the client’s sales environment is itself complex, full of quicker or slower routes to sales and there are some ‘dead ends’, which are like a maze:
In the event, we devised a number of ‘kinaesthetic puzzles’ to get people engaged and prepared for the business challenges. The main experiences consisted of the design and testing of some puzzles / games / mazes made by participants, intended to teach other teams about particular constraints in a very powerful way and offer a forum for collective creative thinking and learning. I’m pleased to say that our unique brand of ‘serious fun’ was well received:
“The feedback from all of our team has been fantastic with many quotes of ‘the best conference ever’ ringing down the phone lines for the days following“
We also provided a toolkit of creativity strategies to supplement the team’s natural capabilities in this area. One such skill is the concept of ‘combination’ as a spur to creating products and services that offer sustainable and hard to copy advantages. This was introduced via a live seminar on the subject using rock music. Here’s a short extract from the “Riffs and Myths of Creativity” seminar:
- As Einstein said “You can’t solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it”. Serious problems can sometimes be made worse by applying serious thinking to them.
- By changing the frame of reference, sometimes you change the ease in which a problem can be tackled. This can be done in a variety of ways.
- Good design thinking takes the client’s issue / problem / opportunity and then designs an intervention which models the topic, allowing space for new thinking, rather than ‘starting with the intervention and fitting the client’s topic to it. It’s a best-fit rather than a template approach to dealing with complex topics.
- Even the most reserved people can be encouraged to play if it is serious play rather than just playfulness for it’s own sake. That said, this often works best if assisted by skilled and experienced facilitators.
Finally, here’s the song which inspired the title of this blog and a piece from the Irish legendary blues master Rory Gallagher for no particular reason other than it’s great:
About the Author: Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock – Keynote events with a difference and Human Dynamics – Business and organisation development, training and coaching. Contact via firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 7725 927585. Check out our online Leadership programme for FREE via The Music of Business Online.