Don’t let current constraints stop you from progressing the work | The Garage Group

Don’t let current constraints stop you from progressing the work

We’re learning more every day as it relates to driving innovation forward in this virtual world. This week we ran a one day Jobs to be Done work session virtually. 

We were originally going to do this together in person with the client team, but the current climate called for a quick pivot. 

Jobs to be Done Session Objective: We’ve been partnering with this insurance company team for a few months to help them build internal capability for applying entrepreneurial approaches, while also developing consumer rooted Jobs to be Done that would serve as the foundational fuel to their innovation pipeline. Before the work session, the TGG team had conducted a Digital Ethnography and identified opportunity spaces and pain points across three segments. During the work session, the team was going to ground themselves in those pain points, translate them into Jobs to be Done, and begin to prioritize and size the Jobs.

As the TGG team was rescoping the session, we thought through how the key enablers to achieve the outcomes, regardless of the digital vs. in-person experience. We’ll continue to share our learnings as we test and learn how to be a strong innovation leader in this time of uncertainty. Here are a few specific to this recent session: 

Know your Audience: If you’re leading a collaborative session in a virtual way, it is a lot harder to “read the room” and get a gauge of how the team is fairing. Get to know the team you’re working with and collaborate with them to build the session so that their team is in the best position to thrive. Do they have young children or are taking care of a family member and need more breaks? What is their best learning/ collaboration style? These are important things to understand to make sure you’re setting the team up for success. The number of people in the session is also important. If you have a smaller team (4-6 people) you might be able to work continuously as one team throughout the session. But if you have a larger group, building in times where you break people into small groups throughout might be most conducive. 

Trust your teammate: If you’re leading a session with a teammate, building trust is more important than ever. There might be decisions made and pivots taken along the way, and in a virtual setting, it isn’t as easy to connect as the session is taking place. 

Devote time towards ensuring the team can use the new tools: We introduced tools such as Zoom, Slack, and Miro to enable this session. Even if people have used the tools before, it will be important to acclimate everyone to them and make sure they are all setup before the real work gets started as not to delay progress or shut people down in frustration. People are coming from different backgrounds and have different levels of technological understanding. 

Perhaps conduct a night-before-session virtual “tech setup” happy hour and practice using the tool via a few fun, team building activities. This enables the team to get right to it at the beginning of the time dedicated toward the objective and not let tech setup get in the way.

When digital, allow more time than you would normally to get the work done: It is a lot harder on your body physically if you’re working at your computer all day vs. standing up and working actively around a room. Our team built-in more breaks than normal, but still needed even more than we’d planned. Depending on how the team processes, and how new the material is, you also want to leave more time than you would in an in-person context to get through the work. Leave more time than normal for questions and external processing.  

Be flexible about the how but laser-focused on the outcome: Our team walked through a few potential scenarios to start to mentally prepare for the pivots that could take place during the session. While the scenarios themselves weren’t exactly the ones that played out, even starting to think through the variety of ways the work could get done enabled us to be quicker on our feet when diverting from the original agenda. 

Assessing the desired outcome and how to create the conditions to achieve it, will likely require you to leverage multiple platforms (Keynote, Zoom, Miro, Slack, etc.). There is no silver bullet single solution, and just like when planning physical sessions, it is important to ask yourself what is the objective, and how will I help the team achieve it? Those questions occur when designing the overall session, but also apply with each individual building block of time. 

Don’t let current constraints and frustrations keep you from pushing forward. What needs to be true?

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