Virtual Seminar

A Practical Approach to Better Project Kickoffs

February 2011 90 minutes

  • Make them a critical jumping-off point for your design process
  • Know where planning research, like asking the hard questions of your stakeholders can reveal the hopes and fears of your project
  • Understand how integrating good facilitation into projects from the start will better manage the dynamics that can derail your process
  • Recognize what kickoff meeting tools & techniques are effective at producing actionable outcomes
Topics:

Get ready for the most productive kickoff meetings you've ever had!

Done right, your team members will leave your kickoff meetings inspired and full of ideas to explore. It’s true! Your kickoff meetings can be engaging, relevant, and productive.

Kevin Hoffman, User Experience Director at Happy Cog, has been thinking quite a bit about this challenge. After having one too many expensive and unproductive kickoffs, Happy Cog reinvented its project definition process around full-day, interactive activities and collaborative design exercises.

Kevin will answer the question “are meetings toxic?” He’ll explain why they might be, and what you can do about it.

He’ll show you how to identify business strategy, company culture, and project risks before you even shake your client's hand for the first time. Through lessons learned, he’ll share how this research helps team members realize the relationship between the project goals and the brand of the organization.

You’ll understand how to start projects with increased energy, clarity, and hold. Believe it or not, there’s value to a pre-kickoff meeting, too! You avoid the impression that decisions are being made before everyone in the larger group has a chance to make their voice heard. With the entire team on the same page from the get go, you’ll take advantage of those opportunities unique to kickoff meetings.

Kevin says:


The quality of the ideas is somewhat less important. You’ve established ownership of the intended end result. This collaborative process lays the foundation for a professional bond that will sustain the team through the challenges of the project.

You see, good meetings don’t necessarily come from positive chemistry between attendees, charismatic leadership, or magic. They are the result of work, and require planning and strategic thinking, just like any other aspect of what you do.

Kevin will share examples of how a design studio kickoff activity works and the activities you can use to understand and explore the hard problems of the design challenge. And there’s no reason to limit your kickoff meeting to a single activity. Kevin will walk you through the strategy behind Happy Cog's kickoff processes for clients like Zappos.com and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

You’ll leave this seminar excited that kickoff meetings are a part of your design process. You’ll have the tools to build dynamic kickoff meetings that are as actionable as they are enjoyable.

  • Make them a critical jumping-off point for your design process

  • Know where planning research, like asking the hard questions of your stakeholders can reveal the hopes and fears of your project

  • Understand how integrating good facilitation into projects from the start will better manage the dynamics that can derail your process

  • Recognize what kickoff meeting tools & techniques are effective at producing actionable outcomes