Finding an innovative way to solve a problem is a big business these days. Many start-ups launch their activities by developing an innovative product or service. Applying innovative thinking, however, can be a challenge for many businesses. That is why innovation-based events are so popular amongst start-ups these days. These events are a great way to gain fresh insights into how you can apply innovation to your own business. This article will uncover 3 of such events and how they can help you discover the best ideas and think differently – ultimately leading to success with your own venture.
(Figure 1: A typical offline hackathon may look like this)
Hackathon is a structured event that brings people together to solve a particular problem. The aim of a hackathon is to get the best solution for the problem. They usually last 24 to 72 hours and are competitive in nature. Hackathons are highly productive in nature and allow companies to access the best talents and ideas. In addition, hackathons create a great environment to network, learn and share ideas.
Hackathons can be organised online or offline. Each format has its own advantages and disadvantages, but here are 10 steps to take:
- Define the tasks of the hackathon and the target audience
- Choose the format of the event (online/offline) and budget
- Present case study for the task and source for expert help if needed
- Bring in experts, jury, winners of other hackathons, sponsors, and information partners
- Organise promotional campaigns with the participation of sponsors
- Prepare the conditions: schedule, site, necessary equipment, food, masterclasses, and mentoring sessions, prizes, the mechanics of pitches, and participation of teams in the hackathon, prepare for unforeseen situations
- Encourage teams to participate
- Conduct a hackathon and choose the winners
- Make reports and highlight the results of the hackathon in the media
- Organise the implementation of solutions and cooperate with companies
Products from hackathons can vary from developing usable software, brainstorming a list of innovative ideas, to editing a specific type of content.
2. World Cafe
World Cafe, also known as Knowledge Cafe, is a structured event for knowledge sharing. Groups of people will discuss a topic at several small tables like those in a café. The aim of World Cafe is to facilitate discussion to shift people’s conceptions and encourage collective action. Conversation and participation are key processes for this event.
(Figure 2: A typical world cafe event would look like this)
A World Café event starts off with a general keynote address. Then, a facilitator provides open-ended questions around that topic or puts forward a problem that needs solving.
Attendees would then break into small groups and discuss. The group discusses the problem or topic. After their short discussion, one person stays behind while the pod moves on to the next table, so that person can infect the next group with their ideas.
World cafe events can be done externally or internally within a company. Slido has done it internally by diving their team into groups of five. In 6-minute rounds, each member explained an issue he or she was struggling with and collected tips and advice from the others. One group member took notes so everyone could leave with actionable steps. Through this sharing, they realised they are not alone in facing certain hurdles.
3. Fishbowl conversations
Fishbowl event is a form of dialogue-based activity that can be used when discussing topics within large groups. A big advantage of this activity is that it allows the entire group to participate in a conversation. Similarly, through this activity, you get to see perspectives that challenge views and thinking.
(Figure 3: How a typical fishbowl conversation event would look like)
Source: College of the Holy Cross
Seats are arranged in a circle with an inner ring of four to five seats inside. Those in the inner ring would discuss the topic. The surrounding larger circle are audience members who may just observe or dip into the debate by taking turns sitting in the inner active ring in order to gain speaking rights. Any member of the audience can, at any time, occupy the empty chair and join the fishbowl panel. When this happens, an existing member of the fishbowl must voluntarily leave the fishbowl and free the chair.
The discussion continues with participants frequently entering and leaving the panel until the time is up. The moderator then summarises the discussion.
Regardless of your industry, you can use innovation-based events to help you think differently and ultimately succeed. The above events can be modified to suit your company’s needs and goals. Ultimately, these innovation-based events help to foster creative thinking and cultivate new ideas for your organisation’s success.