THREE DAYS OF WORKSHOPS IN KOREA ... WHEREVER YOU ARE! WITH A LITTLE CREATIVITY
Preparation, relating and rhythm. Here's how we’ve managed a workshop with 40 people in 4 Countries over a distance spanning 8 time zones.
What we’re experiencing leads us to radically review many collaboration activities that, till just a few weeks prior, we’d have carried out differently. Hence the second series of three days within an "elbow-to-elbow” workshop set “for co-design and change management, planned for the CoCo community launch of Swarovski’s Korea branch has transformed into an outlook for ne(x)tworking: five much shorter yet highly interactive digital sessions that involved about forty people in four Countries (Korea, Japan, Italy and Switzerland) - each at home or within isolated office spaces.
Focus on the relationship to overcome obstacles
We won’t speak about the technology used (anyone out there still in doubt about the flexibility and potential of today's remote communication software?), but we’ve overcome the biggest obstacle: consolidation of an empathetic relationship that could render collaboration effective, efficient and motivational among the teams over a distance of thousands of kilometres and covering eight different time zones.
Yes indeed. Because when you’re after aligning, training, informing, preparing and motivating an entire organization towards strategic change in any form of communication and relationship from, to and among stores within a retail network like that of Korea, then nothing can be left to chance. Here’s why the physical workshops experience, already widely-tested in other countries around the world, has been redesigned to maintain meeting aims (the ‘why’) and contents (the ‘what’) as the only fixed points while totally redefining modalities (the ‘I like’).
A few more challenges...
To obtain the expected behavioral changes, certainly the excellent technology available suffices little in having us overcome linguistic difficulties – which, within a physical context, are reduced to the para-verbal – scaling any effort down to remaining fully reactive to such differing time zones (our sunrise borders their late evening following a day at the office). We know, too, how much digital mediation can itself be a source of further stress for facilitators who, besides concentrating on content, must divide their attention between laptops and added screens, potentially imperfect data connections, multimedia content management of every form and gravity, sharing and telematic control. Thanks to painstaking preparation, the workshops were deemed very effective - and even most pleasant besides.
It can be done!
The ingredients allowing for any convincing result are essentially two:
- An approach based upon what’s best for all participants, experiencewise - facilitators and designers included - that doesn’t mimic the face-to-face experience yet goes still further
- Research and commit the right energies to the relational and emotional interaction aspects among all participants
Here are some of the aspects that help us make a difference in these situations and, as such, should be taken into account.
- Webcams powered on to capture any doubts and feedback in real time and a second screen for the director/facilitator that’s always trained upon the face of each interlocutor.
- The right programming between top-down moments, dynamic and with due rhythm, which includes successive slides and which can oscillate between the playful and the didactic as, mobile in hand, all can put themselves to the test by way of a colorful quiz.
- But also -and above all- some pre and post workshop chit-chat moments during which the emotional bridges built during previous meetings can get re-connected.