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Purpose

The Kick-off workshop is the formal start of an iteration in the Business Design project. The purpose is to align on common goals and other organizational issues defined in the Project Charter. It is also a good opportunity for the sponsor to connect with the team and motivate them with inspiring words on the reason behind why this project has been set up and why it is important for the future of the company (either in person or with a short video message). The sponsor should let the team know what channels work well for direct and fast communication throughout the project (e.g. SMS, WhatsApp, Slack, E-Mail, PAs and other proxies are not what the team needs). In addition, we spend some time to discuss the Guiding Principles of Business Design and define our "code of conduct" for the teamwork, which includes:

  • Expected behaviour
  • Communication rules 
  • "Las Vegas Rule" ("what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas")
  • "Sticky Notes Exercise"
Make clear to the entire team that nobody is allowed to disclose intermediary results of the project to anybody in the organization without permission of both the sponsor and the innovation manager.

The Kick-off workshop is also important to prepare the upcoming Discover phase with questions the team should explore and gain insights as much as possible to create better solutions for the sponsor's problem. We usually include the following Discover areas and define activities by using our Discover Cards:

  1. Today's business model
  2. Practices & processes
  3. Customers & users
  4. Competitive landscape
  5. Market structure & dynamics
  6. Data & resources
  7. Technological capabilities
  8. Rules & regulations

At the end of the workshop, we always define clear tasks and assign them to the members of the project team. Weekly status calls help to keep track of the team's activities.

Duration

1 full day + preparation and documentation

Participants

  • Innovation manager
  • Innovation experts
  • Sponsor (in the morning only)
  • Business Design coach
Note: The innovation manager and innovation experts should attend a training before they join a kick-of workshop.

Preparation

  • Project Charter completed and aligned with innovation manager and sponsor
  • Short "get-to-know" calls with all team members
  • Team members invited, travels and accommodations arranged
  • Availability of sponsor during Kick-off workshop checked and short visit scheduled (15min.) / alternatively: A short video message from the sponsor is recorded and uploaded to the Project Workspace 
  • Agenda for the workshop defined and aligned with innovation manager
  • Room & catering booked and organized
  • All tools & materials prepared and printed

We usually don't send the agenda to the participants prior to the workshop. We only tell them when we start and end and what preparation is required from their side.

Documentation

Signs of Success

We consider the Kick-off Workshop as a success...

  • ...if the project team and sponsor agreed on the project charter (in best case, let them sign it)
  • ...if the team got the impression that they will be working on a meaningful challenge worth solving for the sponsor
  • ...if the project team has a very clear idea on what to do next in the Discover phase (tasks on an Action Plan)
  • ...if the project team is fully committed to work on the tasks assigned to them and see a reason why this is important
  • ...if the coach is fully accepted and respected by the team as an methodological expert

Q & A

  • What if the sponsor can't make it to the workshop? Well, this should be the exception but the least the sponsor can do then is to send you a short video of his / her message. Upload the video to the Project Workspace and show it during the workshop.
  • What if we collect 100+ Discover questions? It seems you need to discover a lot and your team is not too deep into the topic. Focus on some Discover areas and not all of them. Usually, the world of customers and users, technologies as well as the competitive landscape are a good starting point.
  • How can I tell team members that the next couple weeks will be special? Tell them that Business Design projects require passion and extra effort (> 2 days per week) over the next couple of weeks. We need that and we expect that. Team members will leave their comfort zone from time to time and will be confronted with personal conflicts and disputes. Be clear about that right from the beginning. 
  • What if some team members tell you that they are not able to work on the tasks because they are too busy? The availability of the team members should have been addressed before the workshop when you were about to prepare the Project Charter. Schedule 1-on-1 with the team members and review their calendars for the next two weeks. There are always possibilities to postpone or cancel other activities.
  • What are "communication rules"? We usually define how and when we communicate results of the project to people outside of the team. It is very important that this happens in a controlled manner. Moreover, we define how we communicate in the team especially between workshops (e.g. preferred time and channels).

Example Agenda

TimeActivitiesFormat*Stakeholders
08:30 - 09:00Arrival and "Good Morning Coffee"BAll
09:00 - 09:30

Welcome and introduction

  • "Why the h*ll are you here?"
  • Purpose of the workshop
  • Agenda
PInnovation manager & Coach
09:30 - 10:00Short sponsor's motivational speech incl. Q&ADSponsor
10:00 - 11:00Recap of Business Design process, roles & "code of conduct"DCoach
11:00 - 12:00

Alignment on Project Charter

  • Motivation
  • Objectives
  • Problem / solution (optional)
  • Stakeholders & roles
  • Schedule & dates for workshops
DAll
12:30 - 13:30Lunch breakBAll
13:30 - 14:00Introduction to Discover phaseDCoach
14:00 - 16:00Collection and prioritization of Discover questionsTAll
16:00 - 17:00Task managementTAll
17:00 - 17:30

Wrap-up and farewell

  • Today's (personal) highlights
  • Reflection of teamwork
  • Short summary of output
  • Outlook 
DCoach

* P = Presentation | D = Discussion | B = Break | T = Teamwork

Music Playlist


Tools & Materials

Room & Infrastructure

  • 1x Empty wall: > 420 x 200cm 
  • 1x Empty wall: > 220 x 90 cm
  • Chairs or cube seats
  • 1x Low-distance projector for Project Workspace and sponsor's presentation
  • 1x Table for catering
  • Hot & cold drinks, snacks or finger food

Example Layout

Room Layout Kick-off Workshop


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