An Absolute Blast
After a very long pandemic and working remotely, I was finally having my first in-person work meeting in 18 months. On Nov 18, 2021, not only was I was going to be meeting colleagues whom I had known online for over a year, but we were all getting business headshots and participating in a photoshoot. This all made me nervous, and I was in desperate need of a haircut.
After a snip and a pep-talk, I bravely went to the meeting with a readied smile on my face. Turns out we were all anxious about meeting each other, but it was easy connecting with this fantastic group of people and ended up being one of the best constructive brainstorming meetings I have had the pleasure of participating in.
The credit of the success of this meeting entirely goes to Steph Grimbly. Her leadership skills and love of fun is infectious and inspiring. She arrived with a smorgasbord of candy, snacks, and drinks – letting us break the ice while debating the best snack combos. (Hello popcorn and peanut M&M’s!) With this thoughtful act, Steph created a friendly space, bringing a room of strangers together as a team, and set the stage for the challenge we were going to be presented with.
The challenge: to come up with a snappy sound bite for New Territory’s marketing in 2022. A very daunting task for 6 graduate students and researchers, but we were more than well equipped for the challenge. Our team of business fellows have been trained in the craft of Design Thinking, and we were going to use this technique to look at our own company and clients.
In our team design challenge, we had the wonderful opportunity to implement design thinking in person using a flip board and colourful post-it notes! Each large flip board page had a prompt, and we were given 5 minutes to brainstorm and write down all the value propositions and outcomes of services offered by New Territory, building a collage of colourful ideas. After all the ideas were on the pages, we began the process of design thinking.
At first, the ideas from the team all seemed disconnected and were heavily based on our own assumptions. This is where one of the key aspects of design thinking comes into play: put yourself in the user’s shoes. At this stage, we really challenged the
ideas being made by the group to ensure that we were keeping the user’s viewpoint in mind. We rearranged the board multiple times, finding new themes until a narrative began to emerge, one that saw New Territory not from our eyes, but from the viewpoint of our clients. When we distilled down these themes, we were able to find key insights into our clients’ needs and empathize with their problems.
At this point I will remind you that our goal was to come up with a tasty sound bite for New Territory. A sound bite’s goal is to evoke your company’s identity and communicate the value you offer to your customers. To identify that value and how it’s important to your clients, we needed to go through the post-it exercise. Using design thinking we were able to create a sound bite that perfectly empathized with our clients and showed how our services could truly provide meaningful solutions to their problems. I won’t spoil the sound bite reveal, but we were all extremely proud of what we came up with.
What we accomplished as a group in 3 hours I would not have thought possible, and it’s all thanks to the wonderful and talented team of business fellows and the amazing leadership of Steph Grimbly (along with the power of design thinking). At the end of the meeting, I felt inspired and invigorated by the discoveries we made and how well we connected as a team.
Honestly, there’s very few meetings that you walk out of and wish you could jump right back into, and I had so much fun that I’m already excited for the next meeting.
Review: 5/5 – an absolute blast