[Image: Virtual breakout groups collaborated using an interactive template that was completed on a shared screen and reported back to the full group]
Our client, a Fortune 100 company, needed to develop a three-year Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) strategy. Their goal was to engage approximately 100 representatives from North America, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East, and Asia Pacific in shaping the D&I vision and priorities. This inclusive approach needed to be successfully carried out entirely via virtual workshops.
As facilitators and collaboration designers, our objectives were to make these virtual workshops meaningful, interactive, visually engaging, and technically seamless.
We designed a series of four 90-minute virtual workshops, each with a clearly defined objective:
- Share findings from enterprise-wide D&I research and surface opportunities
- Share global performance standards for inclusion and help participants learn what inclusive behaviors look like in practice
- Determine how to address the needs of managers and where to focus for greatest impact
- Identify strategic priorities based on previous session insights
Each virtual workshop was designed to maximize engagement and interactivity:
- Workshops provided a “plenary” experience with facilitated dialogue, compelling presentations, and real-time visual notes (digital graphic facilitation)
- Participants were assigned to 6-person virtual breakout groups. Each team was provided with a customized assignment in the form of an interactive template which could be completed on a shared screen and reported back to the full group
- Discussion was complemented by the ability of participants to provide rapid feedback through group polls and typed comments and questions
- Output from the breakout and plenary sessions was synthesized post-workshop and promptly circulated back to the group. Actions were clearly defined for participants.
Successfully shifting to a virtual setting required careful attention to logistics:
- The workshops were professionally facilitated and supported
- Each workshop was run multiple times to accommodate time zone differences and limit the size of the participant group
- Guidelines for successful participation in virtual meetings were circulated in advance
- Participants joined the workshops 15-minutes in advance to familiarize themselves with the virtual platform
- Our client was able to engage a broad set of voices in the strategic planning process without having to rely on in-person meetings
- The virtual model was highly-scalable; the leaders who participated were able to leverage the process and the interactive templates to onboard their own teams around D&I efforts