A major actor of France's defense industry called upon us to animate its yearly gathering dedicated to innovation and entrepreneurship. The goal was, first, to encourage participants to get acquainted in a half-relaxed, half-studious atmosphere, and then to conduct an in-depth co-construction workshop. In order to address the main theme "Developing and strengthening entrepreneurship in our organisation", we were able to combine the Socializer and the Workshop to increase interactions and foster new ideas.
For the Socializer, we chose a simple format with two themes, Serious and Fun, in random mode. We planned 4 rounds so that everyone could discuss with a dozen other participants and carry out a dozen challenges in roughly fifteen minutes.
The Serious challenges enabled everyone to have a better understanding of each other's viewpoint and sense what they could achieve together. The Fun challenges were meant to explore the cultural background of everyone to think out of the box later on, including during the following Workshop.
☞ A statue was built in your honour, what was its posture?
☞ If you could crossbreed 2 animals, which ones would it be?
☞ What is the most useless superpower you can think of? What would you do with it?
☞ If you were an explorer, who would you be and why?
☞ Which celebrity (dead or alive) would you like to have dinner with?
☞ The person standing to your left gives you a superpower, what would you do with it?
☞ Every participant describes one inspiring entrepreneur.
☞ What's your greatest failure? What have you learned from it?
☞ What do you like the most when working for our innovation group?
☞ How could you persuade a collaborator to join this program?
☞ Find a common trait that could define your small group.
☞ Picture animals symbolizing the past, present and future of our organisation's innovation.
This collaborative session helped us verify two key-functions of the Socializer: the icebreaker & the energizer.
The Socializer boosts encounters: As we have already mentioned in our article on networking, an organisation's collective intelligence needs people who know each other well so that ideas can circulate as smoothly and freely as possible. The Socializer helps you avoid all the usual biases linked to coffee-machine talks and afterwork drinks by encouraging participants to interact more and address sensitive issues with tact.
The Socializer establishes a fitting state of mind: An ideation's success often depends on a session's goal and the participants' state of mind. By linking challenges together, we were able to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere with an unconventional twist prompted by the quirky metaphors on superpowers, explorers and animal features. And some challenges, a bit like teasers, kick-started debates that were planned for later.
The Socializer fosters participants' creativity: Like a warm-up session, the socializer session earmarked a short time for everyone to sharpen their arguments and try out a few ideas before diving at the heart of the issue with the co-construction workshop. As a result, we received twice as many ideas as we initially expected and noticed that discussions were even livelier than usual.