Getting Sparks to Fly

This is the first of a series of posts about our “Ignite Better Solutions” innovation session.

Part One: Getting Sparks to Fly

At 8:30am on Wednesday 24th February in London’s beautiful Dartmouth House, Dawson Walker gathered with our partners Writing for Leaders, Emma West Consulting and Hedron for a half day workshop, covering topics including facilitating, leadership and cultural change management. We led our workshop “Ignite Better Solutions” to a crowd of enthusiastic communications professionals joining us from companies across multiple industry sectors.

In the perfect setting of a house that had transformed itself time and again from private family home to military hospital to war supplies store, our session explored how organisations can use innovation and generational differences within their workforce to get ahead of the game. As well as encouraging delegates to share their experiences of innovation across company culture, products and services, we also thought about the way that different generations might communicate with each other and interact with organisations.

Delegates took a trip down memory lane as we reviewed the events and cultural influences that have shaped different generations’ behaviour, reflecting on sociologists’ findings and their own experiences to assess to what extent generational stereotyping was accurate. We invited our participants to match events and icons such as the Pea Soupers, the dot com crash and Tamagotchi toys to life size cut-outs, chosen to represent Generations Z, Y, X and Baby Boomers.

Our final activity centred around role-play, where delegates were each assigned a generation persona and put into teams. Each team was asked to tackle a business challenge by working together whilst still in character.

Whilst the room was often filled with laughter, delegates also reported that stepping into another person’s shoes was not an easy task and that different generational groups could be more receptive to certain strategies than to others. They also left with an increased awareness of the potential of all generations to help find solutions, making it ever important to recognise that value can be added at any age. After all, if Louis Braille invented Braille Reading aged 15 and Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals aged 78, there’s still time for us all.

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