Decision by Design:
A Rough Time Line for the DesignShop®
James B. Smethurst
September 25, 1997
For most participants, a DesignShop®
event lasts for three days, from beginning to end, but for the sponsors
and for the design team from MG Taylor, the DesignShop process can extend
over a period that may extend to a month or two. This process remains
reasonably flexible, but we have found that the following time line serves
as an effective guide to how the process should work.
A small nucleus of the principal stakeholders from the DesignShop customer
comprises the Sponsor Team.
These sponsors will work with the facilitators
to design the event, but they will also be active participants in the
DesignShop event itself. The Sponsor Team works for the facilitators.
This sounds counterintuitive, but the facilitators must be afforded the
best opportunity and resources to produce a design requisite to the challenge.
The KreW will support the event; writing the assignments, handling logistics,
documenting the DesignShop event, producing work products, maintaining
the environment as an information factory.
The process outlined below follows the work of the sponsor team from
its introduction to MG Taylor through the DesignShop event to the wrap-up
session after the event during which the facilitation team and the sponsor
team can design appropriate next steps.
The Discovery Session is normally the first official contact between MG
Taylor and the prospective client. Held in an MG Taylor environment (a
Management Center, Navigation Center facility, or knOwhere®
Store) well before the event itself, this session allows both MG Taylor
and the client to learn about each other and to explore how a DesignShop
event might be of value. We call this "playing S'poze."
The session also acts an an introduction to some of MG Taylor's environments
and processes. A small KreW of Knowledge
Workers document the session and produce a work product that is usually
distributed to the participants as they leave. By the end of this session,
MG Taylor and the client have normally agreed either to proceed with a
DesignShop event or to look for other ways to address the client's challenges.
The Sponsor Session, again
held in an MG Taylor environment, takes place between two weeks and a
month before the scheduled event. The purpose of this session is to create
a preliminary design for the DesignShop event. Again, both the facilitators
and the sponsors must learn from each other. The sponsors will participate
in MG Taylor's design process and the learn its rules of engagement--the
rules for participants that we have found best facilitate a successful
event. Logistics are finalized along with the participant list. The facilitation
team must learn just enough about the client, the client's conditions
and the client's vision to be able to design an event. Too much knowledge
will restrict the facilitation team's ability to design "out of the
box." Too little knowledge will move the DesignShop's content in
the wrong direction. What the facilitation team needs to learn during
this session is the general nature of the client and the problems that
the client faces. This session can last from a half-day to a full day.
The Walk-thru takes place the day before the DesignShop event begins.
The sponsors, facilitators, and often the entire KreW revisit the design
from the Sponsor Session. Does the design still accomplish what it was
intended to accomplish? Have any conditions changed in the days since
the Sponsor Session that would affect this design? The design of the event
is recreated in light of any changes in condition
or vision. After the Walk-thru, the KreW, facilitators and sponsors
finish last minute preparations for the event.
During the DesignShop event itself, either before participants arrive
in the morning or after they leave in the evening, the sponsors and facilitators
will circle-up to discuss the
process and to make any design adjustments that might be required. By
maintaining contact throughout the event, facilitators and sponsors can
ensure that they capitalize on any opportunities that arise during the
event, or adjust the focus of the event should conditions suddenly change.
Sponsor Wrap-up and Work Product Delivery
The day after the DesignShop event ends and the participants leave, the
sponsor team will meet again with the facilitators. The group debriefs
the event and finalizes what kinds of work products the client would like
to receive. The group decides what further work needs to be done, and
what the particular next steps should be. Within a few days the work products,
usually including a Journal,
will be delivered.
For more on the role of sponsors, see the Guidelines
for DesignShop Sponsors and Participants
copyright © 1997, MG Taylor Corporation.
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