Raj Krishnan is a Digital Transformation Advisor at Microsoft, based in Chicago. Raj drives change programs to help build a company’s digital business as well as guiding organizations through the process of reimagining and transforming customer engagements, employee experiences, business models and operations. As part of his job, Raj designs and runs workshops with different groups. Here, we explore how Klaxoon helps him with that.
The challenge: run efficient Design Thinking workshops
Raj discovered Klaxoon 2 years ago, after exploring ways to run Design Thinking workshops. He found it to be so useful that it quickly became his favorite platform for more than 30 workshop sessions. Today, he uses it extensively to plan and facilitate his workshops – for which he has his own methodology. Raj uses a lot of Klaxoon templates to work on Value Stream Mapping, Design Thinking, Horizon Mapping Challenges, Opportunities and Challenges and stakeholder mapping.
Raj uses the principles of Design Thinking methods when he is working with teams on experienced-based issues. His focus is on strategy rather than on the product, although he believes it is possible to use the same methodology for both. Typically, Raj works with teams who are not sure about how to get started, so his job is to give them the right methodology to get everyone’s feedback, and then prioritize it.
The solution: use Klaxoon’s Session to create reusable activities
Raj uses Session for each of his workshops, and creates multiple activities (mostly Boards) which he can then share and use during the workshop. Because Raj has his own methodology, he prefers to compose a Session, and then create templates that he can reuse. This works out to be an effective way to save time, and he likes to use features such as color codes, dimensions and categories to make the visuals really stand out.
Over the course of 2 to 3 weeks, Raj helps his sales team to have business conversations that are not just technical. The outcome agreed at the start of these sessions it to come up with a plan, and create a matrix for final outcomes and prioritization.
During this time, he holds from 2 to 4 workshops that participants can join from anywhere, each workshop being an hour and a half-length. Raj uses one unique Meeting, and it’s all 100% remote. The goal of these sessions is to reach consensus in order to hold a customer workshop to identify their needs and prioritize solutions. Raj lets participants ideate and gives them the opportunity to talk to develop an horizon map.
Breaking it down
Each program begins with an icebreaker. He starts by showing people how to use Klaxoon, introducing them to categories, dimensions and color labels so that the participants understand there is more to it than just sharing ideas. For this workshop in particular, Raj asks participants to answer the following question: “If you were not doing what you are doing now, what would you do?”
Next, he tries to identify opportunities and challenges. Looking at data, process, infrastructure etc., he asks the team to share ideas to refine and prioritize opportunities and challenges. During a 5-minute period, everyone is encouraged to send ideas and then add them a color code and categories.
With opportunities and challenges being identified, it’s time for a Value Chain analysis, in which Raj helps the team to identify the interactions between various players in the process. He uses quick connectors to link the ideas as they come in. From here, the participants are usually ready for a Solution Alignment, so he copies and pastes in green the challenges and in blue, the participants share all the solutions they have in mind.
To prioritize solutions and actions (Impact Prioritization), Raj uses the Importance and Difficulty matrix, and everyone takes the time to move each solution to the right place in the matrix.
The final stage of the workshop is about filling up the Horizon Planning.
The results: engaging and empowering workshops for both on-site and remote teams
Raj believes the benefits of Klaxoon make it worth using even in a hybrid context – with a screen and seating in the room as well as for remote participants. In a hybrid setup, the methodology would remain the same, but with even more interactivity and participation from live discussions. Raj says that the visuals are great, but there is also a lot of value to be found in having people in the room.
He is a fan of the way Klaxoon allows people who are more introverted to express themselves, and as a facilitator, it has given him a structure for the way he approaches his customer workshops and the way he involves the participants.
Another major benefit is the way that everything created in Klaxoon can be shared and reused – particularly with templates and activities. Raj says this makes it easy for him to scale and duplicate, and he doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel each time with brand new templates. This saves an enormous amount of time.
Working this way with Klaxoon also makes it much easier to work in a way that doesn’t involve a hierarchy. Participants feel they can be more open and instead of dictating what they should be doing, it’s possible to give participants the autonomy to figure it out by themselves, with the right tools and structure to support them and encourage idea sharing. After each workshop, it is possible to download a spreadsheet which details who has and has not actively been involved in the discussions, but Raj says that for most of the sessions, getting them off to a positive start with an icebreaker and setting expectations results in 100% of the participants contributing.
Raj is clear about the fact that Klaxoon has changed the way that he works, and he believes that having the right tools like this is really an enabler, so it’s important that everyone finds the right tools for them. More than that, Raj also believes that using Klaxoon has helped him to become a better listener, which is one of the most important assets of any facilitator.