Typical D³ project approach
The ‘playground’ for change will be clarified and all relevant content will be gathered and analyzed. First solution ideas need to be developed
All decision makers, experts and stakeholders participate in the D³ WS. Aligned solutions, priorities and decisions are the results.
Communication and mobilization of a larger group starts. Immediate implementation begins.
What is a D³ Workshop?
A D³ WS is a core element or intervention in any transformation project. It will be applied when complex solutions need to be developed or decisions need to be taken which require a larger group of people to be involved to secure implementation.
The methodology is highly interactive and all participants will take part in the work and contribute to the outcome. However, it is not a democratic process. The responsibility for decision making remains with the participating designated top-managers.
20 to 100 participants (custom group size upon agreement)
A D³ WS is customized to the specific project context. A dedicated design will be individually elaborated. It follows a proven process, called ‘SCAN-FOCUS-ACT’. This work process will be described below in more detail. The workshop takes place in a creative environment that is designed and optimized for large group work.
What are the results of a D³ Workshop?
Alignment and commitment
A D³ WS is a highly productive process where work iterations reveal only at the end the most robust solutions up for final decision making. The playground is open for all participants and a transparent discussion of intermediate results leads to a high degree of acceptance. Finally the participants are very motivated to start implementation.
During a D³ WS all relevant stakeholders (decision makers, experts, multipliers) get involved and work simultaneously on the solutions. The complexity of the topic will be understood by all together and solution development happens jointly right there. There are no sequential alignment exercises over weeks that would leave room for hidden agendas. Also implementation will be further accelerated since potential resistance is already minimized, because all key stakeholders were involved during the concept phase. This is also called ‘real time change management’.
A D³ WS requires a thorough preparation. Facts and knowledge about the topic which are available in a written format must be consolidated and prepared so that participants can work with them. Also, the experience and implicit know-how which exist in the company, need to be brought to the workshop by selecting the right employees for participation. These are the most relevant ingredients to guarantee the quality of the results.
The participation of all relevant experts/ functions (i.e. business, IT, controlling, HR, etc.) leads to robust assessments of benefits and investments for proposed solutions. Decisions will be taken based not only on desired outcomes but also on plausibility assessments. Executives will set the right and most reasonable priorities.
What kind of projects qualify best for the D³ approach?
Whenever a project targets for significant change the D³ Methodology can bring significant value. A high degree of complexity with many dependencies and various stakeholders’ interests are a good indicator for running a D³ WS. The beauty of the methodology is, that there is no real limit to the number of participants. Experience shows that the power of the process starts to make a real difference compared to classical workshops as of approx. 20 participants and reaches the best productivity with a size of about 60 – 80 participants.
Alignment sessions at executive board level/ small leadership groups.
Development of target pictures, strategies and transformation roadmaps.
Harmonization of any processes on a global or regional level.
New collaboration models within the organization, including governance model.
Selection of technology and alignment between business and IT (i.e. on digital topics).
Development of complex roll-outs or release plans (i.e. on global label).
Multi stakeholder challenges
Diverse and independent organizations looking for alignment (i.e. all players in the health care arena).
Post merger integration
Harmonization of business models, governance, roles and responsibilities.
How does a D³ Workshop work?
A D³ WS could last typically 2-3 days based on the scope of work and the number of participants. It will be very intense days for all people involved and it requires their undivided attention. It is an incubator model.
Prerequisites for a successful D³ WS
- A playground which is big enough to discuss and shape important topics and that is seriously open for change. All participants contribute to the solutions. There are no predetermined answers. A clear guideline describing ingoing decisions or no-go-areas is legitimate and it is possibly helpful.
- A thorough content preparation covering most relevant facts and knowledge about the scope of work.
- A selection of the right participants like decision makers, experts, multipliers or even critics will bring experience and practical know-how to the table, that possibly cannot be found elsewhere.
- All participants work full time in the workshop. There are no observers or people coming late or leaving early.
Functional elements as big mobile whiteboards, which also serve as room dividers for setting up break out areas. They can be adjusted flexibly and speedily depending on the situation.
Creative elements to inspire participants and to allow changing perspectives and roles. This way new ideas can be generated even in deadlocked situations.
Technical elements to support effective working i.e. with music, video, media technology.
The work process
The Work process follows a proven sequence described by the headline ‘SCAN-FOCUS-ACT’.
The SCAN-Phase ensures, that all participants understand the full complexity of the scope. A lot of know-how and experience is shared across the participants. Changing perspectives and further interactive work modules allow all participants to gain a common understanding of the challenges at hand. It is also important to invest in team building and generate trust.
The FOCUS-Phase must resolve the identified issues. This happens iteratively along some working rounds with changing teams on various tasks and topics. Scenarios will be developed, tested, rejected, adapted, merged and finally described as concrete proposal for decision making.
The ACT-Phase typically starts with a discussion in the large group. It is important to understand rather the indent of the group. Solutions will be finally assessed, prioritized and decisions will be made by the attending top-managers. All participants take part in the commitment and responsibility driving immediate planning activities.
The facilitation team
The Facilitation team supports the participants along the work process:
- Visualization of important intermediate results or remarkable discussions – we call this ‘Scribing’
- Providing all necessary material and content to the teams and their tasks
- Organizing and steering a seamless workflow for the whole group
- Documenting work results and also capturing photos from the teamwork, presenters, mood of the group etc. and transferring the work into a usable documented format
- Creating a video (on demand) which covers results as well as work process elements to facilitate communication thereafter to all other employees
How is the preparation of a D³ Workshop organized?
The project team gathers recorded knowledge and data (internally and externally) around the scope. Secured data and resilient information will be assembled based on its relevance in a ‘Factbook’. All participants need to read this upfront. All further important information which are rather ‘Ideas’ by nature will either be used as input directly into the workshop or background knowledge that will be available onsite.
It is important that all participants get engaged with the topic upfront and that all required information is instantly available during the D³ WS. The development of solutions typically does not start from scratch within a D³ WS. First ideas are already outlined at the preparation phase. It is essential that these first drafts arrive at a level of maturity which stimulates creative discussions while leaving enough room for even bigger changes.
How will the results of the D³ Workshop get implemented?
Crucial for success is a fast cascade of communication around the outcome and what happens next. The sponsors need to lead this from their desk. All participants of the D³ WS become ambassadors of the transformation and take on an active communication role as well. As a clear signal to the organization, that we are serious about the implementation, will be that the allocation of resources happens fast according to the decisions made. The monitoring of agreed activities and responsibilities needs to remain transparent and requires regular communication. With all this positive spirit, it is also important to clarify that real obstruction is not without consequences though.
The Executive D³ Workshop as a special format
The group of executives needs to gain a sound and mutual alignment as well as wanting to remain among themselves. This is where a D³ WS makes sense even in a smaller group of participants. A typical group size ranges from 6 -15 participants and an Executive D³ WS lasts mostly 1,5 – 2 days. The methodology is comparable to the classical D³ WS, however it often requires more flexibility with regard to the agenda. The workshop will be prepared usually by running interviews with all participants and collecting relevant facts will be assembled in a condensed format.
In many cases strategic guidelines, top priorities or focus areas up for further investigation or activities are the desired results. Sometimes, the outcome of an Executive D³ WS serves as input to following a classic D³ WS. A larger group will work out detailed solutions and action plans to be conclusively decided upon then. As an additional benefit the executives get a hands-on experience with the D³ Methodology. So, they know what can be expected and understand how content preparation and process facilitation works hand-in-hand.