Five-Step Framework for Effective Collaborative Design

Your conference strategy should include a plan to inject fresh content or experiences each year as part of an ongoing improvement process.

There are a million ways to make these improvement plans. Some work and many don’t.

Working with one of our clients, we devised a simple framework to help develop innovative plans for meaningful and lasting change. This isn’t about tweaking schedules, adjusting formats or adding activations at your event. The framework puts the participant at the center and includes principles of design collaboration to help your team innovate and strive for continuous improvement.

Design Collaboration Framework

  1. Identify the attendee experience we want to improve.
  2. Emotional connection – List several attributes of how you want your attendees to feel as they live through the experience.
  3. Metaphor – describe the experience you want to create by linking to a highly regarded consumer experience.
  4. Obstacles – Identify potential challenges that could get in the way of successful implementation.
  5. Plan – Develop tactics to make this experience come alive.

Framework Applied

Here’s a real-life example of how this framework can be applied to your conferences:

  1. The opportunity might be to create a more welcoming and wow arrival experience
  2. The feeling you want to create is inclusion, anticipation and appreciation
  3. A model for this might be the arrival experience at a Nike store
  4. The challenge is sustaining and developing this concept throughout the event
  5. The tactics could be:
    • to train and deploy a staff and volunteer team to greet, wayfind and facilitate at the arrival points
    • to facilitate remote registration areas to make it easier for attendees to register
    • to create daily surprise and delight moments in public spaces, perhaps a musician one day, water or coffee stations, or a street team giving out small gifts that are locally sourced

Collaboration is Key

It’s most effective to have teams of three or four each work on these independently. The emotional connection and the metaphor identification can really help boost creativity and innovation.

For change management, embrace the model of try-learn-adapt and give major changes a couple of years to develop.

What are your barriers for change management and design collaboration?

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