Training and Development Solutions recently facilitated half-day workshops focused on innovation and team building for groups of managers and employees at a mid-size East Bay design and distribution company. Each “Fostering Innovation” workshop featured a “Build a Bike” component, during which small teams were formed to assemble new bikes out of the box and deliver short presentations on each team’s experience and takeaways.
The first half of the workshops focused on creating a mindset of innovation by developing such qualities as trust, curiosity, confidence and tolerance of diversity. Creative thinking methods were explored, including brainstorming, asking questions and developing checklists, to demonstrate the basic process of innovation – generating an idea, testing the idea, determining feasibility and implementing the idea. A key element of the workshops was a brainstorming session, during which participants generated a list of ideas for management on how production and operations could be improved.
The workshop also included a discussion on how to encourage vs. discourage conversations, which is essential not only to foster innovation but also to promote teamwork and cooperation among workers. Encouraging conversations that generate ideas and promote teamwork helps create an environment in which employees have the opportunity to add value for the company and the customer.
During the “Build a Bike” segment of the workshop, each team assigned a leader, assembled their bike, and prepared and delivered a presentation on what worked, what they might do differently, and what they learned about team building and innovation. All teams agreed that the experience helped them develop their communication, planning, decision-making and leadership skills, while having a great deal of fun!