So picture a scenario that goes something like this: you and your team have identified some new weaknesses/opportunities (depending on if you are the glass half-full or empty kinda person) within your organization. You have a few meetings (that last way too long) and you come up with some ideas.
Generally there are two kinds of ideas that come out of meetings: the same ol’ stuff you’ve been talking about for years or some really great ideas that are never given the time or support to succeed. This cycle continues (a series of meetings) until there is a more pressing problem and everyone’s attention turns elsewhere, forgetting any progress that was just made.
Not too hard to imagine, right? But there’s good news. Turns out, beyond new logos or another trifold brochure, designers may be the perfect people to help you design a better meeting. At Moonlight we call it creative facilitation. Creative facilitation is a way to solve both simple or complex problems using methodologies borrowed from the design process. The idea of ‘design thinking’ and how it can be applied to other areas outside of ‘design’ is not new, but hiring a designer as a facilitator to help approach problem solving in a more strategic, design-driven way is on the rise.
But pay someone for a meeting? Why? We’re glad you asked.
Top 9 Reasons to work with a creative facilitator to help solve business problems
- Designers are natural innovators. Designers are accustomed to pushing beyond ‘what we already know’ and often propelled by original thinking. It’s why we became designers in the first place.
- Designers are innately collaborative. Years of design school and client meetings have taught us to play nice with others, even when someone tells you that coffee bean you just drew may look like a butt. We don’t cry over said critique, designers turn those doubts into motivation.
- Designers craft entire experiences. Remember those ‘meetings’ we mentioned above? We’ve sat through some boring ones, and we don’t know about you but they don’t generally get our creative juices flowing. Good facilitators will organize an experience that not only takes you out of the ‘normal’ meeting atmosphere, but also engages the audience with planned, productive exercises.
- Designers frame the focus with a fresh perspective. Its hard to find new solutions when you keep asking the same exact questions. Designers are skilled at ‘asking better questions’ and redefining problems to get at the deeper root.
- Designers can synthesize on the fly. Our creative muscles are trained in this design process because we practice it. Like yoga, the flute or iceskating, we too begin to develop a sort of ‘muscle memory’ and at some point we stop having to consciously think about the process, but just let it take over. Designers can typically move from the abstract to the exact quite fluidly, whereas more analytical thinkers find this to be an uncomfortable leap.
- Designers use human-centered approaches. This just means that we really give precedence to the real wants, needs, perspectives and expectations of the people using the output of our work.
- Designers think ahead. We’re not sure if this is a benefit from the torture of an extra long critique or the byproduct of being perpetual innovators, but designers are always thinking beyond what is immediately in front of them – the next thing. This ability can help a creative facilitator steer the conversation away from potential disaster and/or leverage breakthrough moments of creativity.
- Designers must be objective. Allowing someone from your organization’s leadership team to facilitate a problem-solving/idea-generating workshop usually sets a different tone and atmosphere than the one necessary for the creative process. Self-doubt and idea-doubt run rampant with someone ‘in power’ present. Having a neutral party can also help to pivot the conversation of naysayers (every group has one) without the risk of ‘taking sides’ or becoming personal (and this is very important).
- Designers know how to make a good map. One of the biggest mistakes organizations make when trying to accomplish something like this is lack of follow-through. One of the most important components of each workshop is the debrief. This report synthesizes raw data, documents appropriate outcomes and creates a strategic roadmap to actualize the ideas developed.
Sounds great right? We think so too. At Moonlight, we love this process as much as our clients do. We pride ourselves on creating solutions that don’t just look nice, but help solve your biggest business headache as well.
Ready to get started?
Shoot us a message and let’s set a date for a meeting you won’t dread (we promise, we’ll bring the coffee).