I recently facilitated a 2 day brainstorming and ideation session for the marketing team of a major pet care brand.

This particular division sells their products predominately through vets.

The aim of the workshop was to generate some breakthrough new product, communication and growth ideas.

With this in mind I set the group a pre-work exercise.

My hope was that it would challenge and stretch participants and perhaps we could obtain some new ideas that we could borrow, adapt or use immediately.


The pre-work instructions we gave participants is set out below:

Each participant will be given an experience at random (from the list below) to explore. 
These are all outside the pet care category which will help us all to open up our thinking. 
The requirement for each person is to generate at least 3 new ideas that we could borrow, adapt or learn. 
These ideas should be given (in writing) before the workshop. We can then collate these and bring them on the day.
Each participant should be ready to present their ideas on the day in 5 minutes or less.
The experiences are 
  1. Hair salon
  2. Restaurant e.g. Waiter helping select a meal or bottle of wine
  3. Pharmacist
  4. Dentist
  5. Doctor’s Surgery
  6. Pharmacist
  7. Gym e.g. Asking a fitness instructor for advice
  8. Accountant or financial advisor
  9. Bottle shop e.g. What wine will I select
  10. Travel agent e.g. Where should I go?
In each of these cases the consumer/customer is placed in a situation where their purchase decision can be influenced.
We started the brainstorming session by having each participant discussing their experiences with a partner then with the larger group.
What was exciting was that not only did the participants willingly do the pre-work but they saw value in it and expanded their range of potential ideas.
As you can imagine as an experienced strategic planning facilitator I am a big fan of well thought out pre-work before any brainstorming, ideation or strategy sessions.
The pros of pre-work:
– it engages participants before before the session.
– The- pre-work can open up and expand their thinking
– Participants can learn from other categories
– It can be fun and interesting.
The cons of pre-work:
– It takes some time and effort

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