Doing, not talking

Throughout May and June, the theme is: Doing, not talking.

Image: _sarchi cc

Last month, I was at the Business Design Summit in Berlin. The two-day event brought together 11 leading authors and business experts, plus practitioners, to share their latest tools for strategy and innovation. And it demonstrated that the best way, by far, to encourage people to work better together is to do things that help them work better together.

From the event website:

 “Whether building new businesses or re-inventing existing ones, all leaders need practical strategies to navigate today’s ruthless business environment. You need tools, not talk.”

The Business Design Summit was a new type of conference. Attendees were taken through a range of talks, exercises and workshops which enabled them to learn new and actionable techniques. And many of the tools, at their heart, were around facilitating collaboration and better conversations:

  • I’ve discussed before how the Business Model Canvas encourages people to get out of their seats in meetings and participate.
  • Lisa Kay Solomon’s upcoming book “Designing Strategic Conversations” looks at the importance of designing meeting experiences to help teams to solve open-ended problems.
  • Dave Gray  – co-author of Gamestorming, a book which presents a range and workshop techniques to help teams innovate – presented the Culture Map to help teams and organisations to get a better understanding of their culture to reinforce, strengthen or change where needed.
  • Stefano Mastrigiacomo’s soon-to-come tool, Coopilot, enables teams to keep projects on track.

These practical tools can be introduced to teams, taking them beyond just talking about why they need to work together more effectively, to actually doing it.  Until people experience what it feels like, it’s just theory to them.  The handbook which accompanied the Business Design Summit contains a quote from Buckminster Fuller:

“If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking”.

I’ve seen first-hand the effect of immersing individuals and teams in experiences to make the case for collaboration – subtly introducing new ways of running meetings with good facilitation, productive kick-off workshops and experimenting with event formats.  And so, my posts for the next couple of months will explore these methods. As much as possible, I’ll try to share tools we’ve developed, or create new ones that you can use in your work.

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