Guidelines for DesignShop® Sponsors and Participants

Chip Saltsman

from an E-mail dated 01/30/1997

(published 02/01/1997)

Editor's Note: Sponsors are participants who work with the facilitators and knowledge workers before the DesignShop event to plan the event. This includes designing the days, finding the right participants to attend, making sure that the participants understand the rules of the game that have proven time and again to lead to successful events. The list that follows is in evolution and will probably change frequently.

Notes by Bryan Coffman are italicized in maroon.

  • The Sponsors co-design the event with the facilitation team (which consists of facilitators and knowledge workers). They work to define all the things that are in or out of the realm of possible solutions. In this way the Sponsors are representing the participants in the design of the event.

  • Sponsors play like participants during the event; they do not observe.

  • The facilitation team is free to generate the journal and work products, given guidance from the Sponsors. Stakeholders are welcome to stay and work with the facilitation team to completion of these products.

  • All participants are committed to attending the session from beginning to end. Participants who leave and then return during a session lose valuable context, disrupt the performance of their team members who stay, and may derail valuable solutions. Teams don't win games by letting their players arbitrarily leave the field.

  • Participants must be people with "skin in the game", who play with gusto because they have a critical need for the outcome of the DesignShop process. They must be people who can implement what they design, without needing to obtain an "OK" from someone who is not present.

  • Bring participants from as broad a cross-section of the organization as possible. Participants from up and down the value chain and the hierarchy will add considerable value to the crafting of the problem and the solution.

  • Honor the environment and spirit of "time out of time". Keep the environment a safe place to design and take risks. What happens here stays here.

  • Design for outcomes.

  • No visitors. Everyone present is either participating or a knowledge worker on the KreW (facilitation team).

  • The facilitators will keep the Sponsors in the loop on changes to the design during the event, if at all possible. The Sponsors must trust that the facilitators know what they are doing and will not degrade the design.

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