Idea sessions for a corporate customer forum

We worked with the customer forums team at a large technology company to design and facilitate ideation sessions at their customer forums in Rome, Palm Springs and Amsterdam.
  • Company
    Global Technology Company
  • Industry
    Cloud computing
    Rome, Amsterdam, Palm Springs

The Brief

Our client wished to bring a more creative, collaborative approach to some of their customer forums and meetings.These events enable valued customers to gain product updates and build relationships with executives, and provide valuable insights into customer needs and pain points.

There was a desire to push for more strategic insight from customers, to reveal their mid- to long-term ambitions, problems and opportunities that may inform the development of future products and services. Gaining this insight could be achieved through collaborative, workshop-style ideation sessions that help customers stretch their thinking and uncover useful observations.

The Approach

We asked all the customers to gather at the front of the room, and to position themselves along an imaginary line according to different feelings, opinions and viewpoints, including:

  • Stand at one end if you're expecting a calm 2019, and at the other if you think next year will be turbulent.
  • Stand at one end if you can clearly see the future, at the other if the outlook is decidedly fuzzy to you.

For each question we asked the group to comment on where they were standing and why. This activity served as a useful icebreaker by getting everyone standing up and slightly out of their comfort zone. It presented a novel way of looking at the variety of situations and outlooks experienced by customers.

The next session invited participants to come together and share their key challenges and ideas, and also to network together. Small groups discussed:

  • What are your key challenges at the moment?
  • What would your people like to be able to do, but can’t?
  • What excites or concerns you about the next few years?

Participants were then invited to come forward and pick a topic, and were invited to lead a discussion with others who were interested in the same topic.

Allowing customers to spend time talking about their key challenges together enabled them to share experiences and compare these against those of their peers. They were also able to think strategically about their business and its future goals.

A final session aimed to dig deeper, by asking participants to identify any knowledge gaps, or answers they would like to have to important questions. What were they still curious about?

The Outcome

The events delivered a good outcome for both our client and their customers.

Customers were able to:

  • Build a close relationship with the client, seeing them as a trusted partner who values their business and listens to their input
  • Think strategically about their business challenges, so they have new and useful insights to take back to their colleagues
  • Develop peer relationships where they can learn best practices, compare approaches and build a network for future knowledge sharing
  • Build a sense of team spirit by co-creating and collaborating during workshop activities
  • View the client as a thought-leader and strategic thinker, open in its approach and willingness to solve problems in partnership with customers

The client was able to:

  • Build close relationships with customers, showing them they are listening
  • Gain useful insights on current and future problems experienced by customers
  • Float new ideas and prototypes to an engaged, early adopter audience
  • Engage in joint ideation and co-creation with customers, enabling a more reliable approach to innovation and product development
  • Tap into customer networks - encouraging referrals through insightful questions such as: “Who else do you know who might be experiencing this problem?”
  • Take a proactive approach to error reporting and product refinement, by helping customers reveal their frustrations and perceived limitations
"The sessions were excellent and really varied the conversation.”
Client Sponsor

Tools & Techniques

We used the following approaches in this project

Facilitated Brainstorms

Generate ideas, solve problems and explore opportunities with our high-energy brainstorms. We’ll create a safe space for experimentation and risk taking to reveal your team’s creative brilliance.
Learn more
Facilitated Brainstorms

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We work on many kinds of projects, for a wide variety of clients, with groups of any size. Get in touch today and find out how we can help.

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