While remote workshops are here in a big way right now, there was already a growing trend for them well before COVID-19. We’ve been running workshops both in person and from remote (currently e.g. on how to apply design thinking to change) for years, and the past months have pushed us further to master the art of the remote workshop.
As service designers, we tend to see everything as a journey, and remote workshops are no exceptions. Here are our key learnings for better workshops, organized around the key moments along the journey. We hope they’ll be helpful to you.
In the past months, we’ve made a drastic change to digital, mastering working from home (read our previous article on remote work here), and we expect this to not go away entirely. To us, it seems that digital and remote work is here to stay.
The new tools, such as Miro and Mural, further enable us to collaborate closely, while being far apart, and we must be both creative and opportunistic in creating these new experiences, remembering to select the tools considering the people and objectives first.
In our experience, especially over the past couple of months, we’ve come to notice an interesting polarized paradigm: either the participants to a remote workshop zone out easier than in a face-to-face situation, or alternatively, they focus and engage even more. In our remote workshops, we strive to ensure that the human connection and everything that comes with it, such as the gestures, expressions, engagement, are not lost, even as we find new, increasingly digital ways to work together.
In many ways, workshops are just the tip of the iceberg. They are an element of a wider set of activities for knowledge sharing, convergence/divergent thinking and thus we need to broaden our notion of a typical workshop.
Illustrations by Magda Al-Hashmi