umpStart is a full-day, interactive workshop for organizations which need to propel themselves into change — whether that’s to improve stakeholder engagement, use new technologies like smartphones and social media, or solve a real problem. Based on the Open Space meeting format, it can be done with groups from 15 to 2000.
his format works best when the work to be done is complex, the people and ideas involved are diverse, the passion for resolution (and potential for conflict) are high, and the time to get it done was yesterday. It’s been called passion bounded by responsibility, the energy of a good coffee break, intentional self-organization, spirit at work, chaos and creativity, evolution in organization, and a simple, powerful way to get people and organizations moving — when and where it’s needed most. And, while it’s known for its apparent lack of structure and welcoming of surprises, it turns out that this format is actually very structured — but that structure is so perfectly fit to the people and the work at hand, that it goes unnoticed in its proper role of supporting (not blocking) best work.
- The Theme Question: First, we’ll work together to develop exactly the right Theme Question — a short summary of what the group will be working to accomplish on the JumpStart day. (One sample theme: “How do we use new technology to provide more responsive and customized service to our customers?”)
- Deep-Dive Research: We’ll conduct a deep-dive into research in your industry to provide you with a rich look at how other organizations (competitors, partners, suppliers, etc.) are using today’s technologies.
- Invitations: We will mail (yes, real postal mail!) a professionally designed and printed invitation to each attendee. This generates intrigue, curiosity, and anticipation among the group.
JumpStart is best conducted in two ballrooms off-site, away from people’s offices and the usual interruptions. The venue should permit taping flipboard paper to the walls. Here are the four components to the day.
- Ideas and Insights: In the first hour, we’ll introduce the day’s format and present the research we’ve uncovered. This is a fast-paced, information-rich session which is designed to spark ideas to carry into the next sessions.
- Open Space: Most of the day is spent in a series of self-organized groups. Led by the facilitator, attendees themselves will create short hour-long meetings based on ideas, questions, or opportunities related to the Theme Question that they personally are passionate about and are willing to take real responsibility for. This powerful process has been used by thousands of groups in the past and creates real engagement among the groups. Their work is posted on flipboard paper around the room for others to read through the course of the day.
- Priorities and People: Now that the group has created a wealth of forward-looking ideas and opportunities, we need to put these into an order by priority. Employing a simple “sticky-dot voting” method, the group will quickly identify the issues which should be put forward immediately. As well, participants will get the opportunity to attach themselves to specific ideas for later follow-up, providing the organization with a ready-made list of teams already enthusiastic about the projects’ success.
- Risks and Rewards: Using a fun and fast exercise, the final session of the day will identify the top risks which could derail the work done in the day, as well as the key conditions which will provide the strongest possibility for success.
- Book of Proceedings: Just days after the JumpStart workshop, participants will receive a complete Book of Proceedings — an e-book containing all the information created by the groups, organized by the priorities set during the day, as well as a list of teams and photographs showing how the day unfolded.