Currently I’m in Shanghai. I’m here to workshop with the Imagination team in the Shanghai office. We are working on the first stage of an Asian expression of one of our key experiences.
Workshopping is tiring. I think it’s because you have to concentrate so hard consistently often for longer hours than one would normally be working.
I’ve also been shopping in the local markets, which is far from work!
But I think there are principles from shopping in Shanghai’s markets that are incredibly important when you are running a workshop.
- Don’t go in there if you don’t know what you want – You want to spend unfeasible amounts of money on ‘bargains’? The quickest way is to have little idea what you want. It means you get attracted by the shiny shiny eye-candy and end up spending far more than you really meant to, or come away with fr more ‘stuff’ than you really wanted.In a workshop, not knowing what your final objectives are is also a recipe for spending unfeasible amounts of money and time. It’s so easy to follow ideas dowm rabbit holes and realise to late that you have missed fundamental outcomes.Make up your mind what you want – construct the experience to get it.
- Stick to your budget – Bargaining for some chinese pyjamas in the local market the most valuable tool I had was that I knew how much I wanted to spend. And how much I ought to be paying. Without a budget in mind when you try and bargain in China you are likely to end up paying far more than you really need, or paying a price you aren’t happy with. And there’s nothing worse than paying over the odds in a bargaining situation.The same is true for running a workshop. There is a time budget. It’s tempting to go over on it, to allow the creatives to keep ideating, just because they want to. But the end result is that you get poorer ideas (boundaries drive better creative) and that you run out of time to do all the work you need to do. That results in late nights and panic.
- Don’t be too rigid – After I bought my chinese pyjamas (at a very attractive price of course) the slightly scary booth owner grabbed my arm and manhandled me towards her scarves. I didn’t really need a new scarf but I did already have what I wanted, at the price I wanted and so what the hell?Ladies and gentleman, I am the proud owner of 2 lovely, soft scarves I intend to use as presents for my family at such a good price that the booth owner was practically crying ( I kid you not) as she insisted I pay double their real value. Don’t worry, I caught the flash of her smile when I handed over the money. She knew I’d paid that little bit over the odds so she was happy, and I really liked the scarves.And workshops? Sometimes they take strange and wonderful turn and you owe it to the team to break with your carefully planned structure and follow that rabbit. You never know what fantastic creative ideas you might unearth.