Collaborative workshops are highly valuable. Unlike your regularly scheduled team meetings, workshops allow different cross-departmental employees to come together and share their unique perspectives on an issue. Workshops also aim to ensure all participants are actively involved and include activities or frameworks to help encourage brainstorming and find solutions.
In a previous post on ways to prepare for the future, we explain why workshops are a great option. Now, we’ll share with you two marketing workshop activities, complete with downloadable templates, that you can conduct in-house to facilitate this type of strategic thinking.
Moonshot thinking is an activity that challenges our current way of thinking and opens our minds to the what-ifs in the world.
Perhaps the most well-known example of a “moonshot” is President John F Kennedy’s declaration at Rice University in 1962: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard”. He said this not knowing how it was going to be done, but he inspired action to make this dream into a reality and set a deadline for it. A great example of a current moonshot (or Mars-shot?) is SpaceX. Their ultimate goal is to enable “people to live on other planets” and despite not knowing the specifics of how to get to that vision, they’re taking the first step by tackling the cost-efficient transport of humans in space.
The purpose of Moonshot thinking in the context of a business is to help an organization keep its eyes on the horizon and prepare itself as much as possible for the future. By encouraging an “anything is possible” mentality, it frames problems as solvable challenges. Therefore, it’s not only a very useful and fun exercise for any team thinking strategically but also a great way to brainstorm potential growth opportunities.
There are many different ways to approach moonshot thinking, but here is our favorite framework by the Young Entrepreneur Council. Although it’s something that you can do on your own, it is far more productive to do as a team activity, leveraging the diversity of viewpoints a group can bring together.
Moonshot thinking steps:
- Zoom out: Try to visualize the bigger picture when it comes to your business. What does your organization stand for today? Why does it stand for this? Why does it do what it does? What is its big hairy audacious goal?
- Now change the picture: Push the boundaries of your imagination and imagine a future where anything is possible. Does the reason why your business exists still hold up? What if a natural resource you used was no more? What technological innovations have transformed the marketing landscape?
- Submerge yourself: What does your business look like in this world? How does it operate? How has it managed to reach its big hairy audacious goal? Imagine how your business has adapted to survive in this new world.
- Paving the way to success: We like to add this step to help the rubber hit the road. By reverse-engineering the ideas and radical solutions formed during the exercise, what can you do today to get your organization pointing in the right direction? What technology do you need to invest in and what projects should be killed off to get you there?
Pick a diverse selection of your brightest minds to try moonshot thinking and see what mind-altering visions and solutions are created. Plus, encourage participants to go on tangents, get excited, and build onto other’s ideas. Following the philosophy of saying “yes, and” instead of “yes, but” will go far here.
This activity is a great way to anticipate future opportunities to keep your business ahead of the curve. Time Warp, for marketing purposes, involves taking an aspect of marketing as it is today, combines it with emerging technology and then projects the predicted outcome.
This activity was how we imagined our three predictions for marketing in 2024. For example, we took eCommerce as it’s done today, combined it with the idea that 3D printers will soon be commercially available to the average consumer and imagined the result. We have provided a Time Warp worksheet which you can download below. If you’re curious about what technological innovations are coming around the corner here’s a list to help you:
- Superior AI, including speech and gesture recognition.
- More cost-effective virtual and augmented reality software and technology.
- Advanced robotics for all types of service delivery (e.g. drones).
- Biometrics for security.
- 5G network becoming readily available.
- Blockchain, not just for currency, but for anything with transactional security.
We would love to hear about the fascinating results that are generated from any of your brainstorming workshops. So grab some of your best thinkers in the office and give these workshop activities a go.