015 – How to use workshops as solution development tool – with Wouter Smeets


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In episode 015, I talk to Wouter Smeets, a rocket scientist, former innovation manager and (co-) founder of two companies, Glimpse and Prototype You, Wouter has worked on human-machine interaction and now focuses on human-human interaction to help individuals to pursue their dreams and change-makers to realise their vision of a better world. In this episode, Wouter shares how we can use workshops as a framework to apply innovation principles for solution development. 

Don’t miss the part when Wouter praises the role of facilitators and emphasizes their importance in the solution development process! This will give you the right arguments at hand to get the budget and deliver workshops that work. 

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Questions and Answers


[1:49] I tend to say that workshop design and facilitation is no “rocket science”. What is your view as a rocket scientist? 

[2:43] What’s your journey from being an innovation manager to becoming a founder?

[7:03] What have you learned from your time working on human-machine interaction for the work on human-human interaction that you are doing today? 

[9:35] What makes the use of templates on workshops so powerful?

[11:47] How do you make sure that the groups solve the right problem?

[16:26] Can templates be too narrow in the sense that they don’t leave enough room for creativity?

[20:41] How do you deal with the situation when participants rank all ideas high in importance and urgency? 

[23:14] How do you prioritize ideas?

[28:51] Who needs to be in the workshop room to drive solution development?

[30:32] What is so important about the facilitator?

[32:52] How do you make sure that the decision maker [aka workshop sponsor] doesn’t invite “yes-sayers” to the workshop? 

[34:28] Who decides on the way to vote (whether it’s democratic or the leader who decides)? And, how do groups react to different scenarios?

[36:59] How do we know that the group arrived in developing “the” solution? 

[39:47] When you run several workshops to develop the solution, what is the responsibility of the facilitator that the group does “their homework” in following up?

[42:20] What information must be present on the final template to make sure the team can work on the next steps?

[45:06] Do you have a better way of reading the room and guiding the group than gut-feeling? 


Links and Connection



Connect to Wouter


on LinkedIn