As soon as you enter in the iLab, you can feel the benefits of using its facilities: the different rooms (some surrounded by walls where everything can be used as a whiteboard - including the tables, other with windows where you can see the sea, projectors, anonymous brainstorming software, etc.).
There are many different activities that can be done, such as playing, building things, role play, music, sound.. and different type of techniques to stimulate creative thinking.
David explained to me the different ways in which businesses can use these facilities, as it is completely flexible, and he can build sessions according to the specific needs of the business and the individuals.
David showed me very good ideas about how to use the venue in Southend, such as for "away days", with the benefits of staff having not only a very innovative session, but also a nice day to enjoy going later for dinner around the beach.
I challenged him (just a bit :-)) asking him about how they deal with "Groupthink" and the issues that usually occur among staff when doing activities such as brainstorming and I learnt how he deals with all these issues by doing a very good preparation, knowing about the group, their motivations, and choosing the activities that can be more engaging and appropriate.
David also explained to me that one of the benefits of these sessions is that all the ideas are recorded in different ways (depending if they come from the software or from the walls, etc.) and given to the company.
Among the benefits of using the anonymous brainstorming software is that staff can write ideas anonymously, read all the ideas, add other ideas and comments and vote them in many different ways. David explained to me a very practical way in which ideas can be voted according to two criteria: how easy to be implemented and how much impact can have. Using green-amber-red colours ideas can be voted and shortlisted in such a way that it is easy to find out which are the ideas that can be implemented easily and have a high impact, so the benefits of the session can be very quickly obtained, as well as the other ideas that are very important to implement but might need more time and/or resources.
It seems to me that these facilities are a great opportunity for businesses and that they can be used for strategic thinking as well as to ensure innovation, by having periodical sessions in which new products, services, marketing ideas, business models can be generated.
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