Guidelines for DesignShop® KreW

Chip Saltsman

from an E-mail dated 01/30/1997

(published 02/01/1997)

The MG Taylor network has compiled lists of general guidelines for Knowledge Workers who are serving as KreW at DesignShop events many times in its history. This is the most recent version based on experience in one of our newer Management Centers, the Accelerated Solution Center (ASE), operated by Ernst & Young.

Bryan Coffman's additional comments and musings are found in maroon italics.

  • To "facilitate" means "to make easy". Our job as knowledge facilitators is to make it easy for the participants to concentrate all their attention and energies on a complex set of challenges, problems and decisions. We are placing them in a highly interactive and creative environment, removing all distractions and barriers to creativity, challenging them to think "outside the box", and driving them towards conclusions.

  • Our intent is to produce a Work Product that is finished when we leave and is highly useful. This is usually, but not always the case. Several types of products are possible outcomes of a DesignShop event or workshop. If a chronological Journal is one of the products, it's usually completed and shipped to the client within a few days of the close of the event. Other short term work products that the client may require for briefings, internal communications, or as summaries are also produced on this short schedule. Another class of work products may take a week or more to complete. These products are more finely designed and researched, and usually help push the client into new territory. The team that completes this type of work product may work remotely and collaborate by e-mail and telephone.

  • Be sensitive that you are guests in someone else's shop. We believe in and value what we do, even if it looks unconventional. Experience before you judge. Allow yourself to be facilitated. Understand that this will probably be an intense experience.

  • Go with the flow. This doesn't mean, however, that you should not steer! You may be called upon to do things that others consider menial or unimportant. We consider them vital to the success of the event. There are no menial tasks if they are done to facilitate the client.

  • Look farther than your task. Be cognizant of all that is going on around you. Be curious. Play 'Spoze with new ideas that challenge you or seem foreign.

  • No one will assign you work to be done although they may ask you; no one is your "boss". Many people on the KreW will help you understand the nature of the work and can teach you whatever you need to know, but it is your responsibility to step up to the work. We all choose to be here.

  • Be invisible. Avoid things like disruptive noise, side conversations, running. You can take walks outside if you need to decompress. Even little things like the crunching noise as you eat potato chips or the click of a camera shutter is very noticeable at the wrong time. Every minute you are in the center you should be on and focused. This is not a difficult or stressful demand, but one of natural, unselfed awareness.

  • Be ready for rapid shifts in what you thought was the scheduled agenda.

  • We have no hierarchy or privileged classes at the ASE, Management Center environment or knOwhere store. We are one team working together to make magic happen.

  • There are lots of ways to collect data. Also, be alert to the underlying "why" of the data you're collecting. There's also only one opportunity to collect data--the present--and then it's gone. Choose to capture something or choose not to, but be deliberate about your decision and its consequences for the future of the participants and their ideas.

  • You may need to roll up your sleeves and help us design. Knowledge Workers participate in all phases of the creative process: Scan, Focus and Act.

  • You will get lots of questions or requests from participants or other KreW members. We try to get an answer back in 5 minutes on ANY request. If you don"t know, flag another knowledge worker for help.

  • We arrive 90 minutes before the participants. We generally stay long after they leave. We put in long hours. Keep an eye on each other's energy. Take care of each other.

  • Resist the temptation to converse with the participants. We do not want to draw their attention away from their work. Especially do not converse with participants about how the DesignShop process is going or seems to them. That would be a real disservice to the event. We want the participants "in the game" the whole time, not to step back to the sidelines.

  • You will be exposed to important proprietary information. It must stay proprietary.

  • Dress is casual/business casual. Be comfortable. Wear comfortable shoes. Work in the center is fun. Enjoy!

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