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Consulting Workshop Series 101: Tools to Generating Effective and Innovative Ideas

Whether the focus is a strategy, operations, tax, finance, HR, or IT, management consulting firms have become a staple of corporate life. From defining strategic directions to simply serving as an additional pair of hands for outsourced work, management consultants have become inextricably linked to the success of most large organizations.

However, festering underneath the myriad consulting offerings, methodologies, and tools, management consulting firms are exposed to vulnerabilities that are unraveling the consulting business model. It is the same kind of dramatic disruption that is affecting other companies and other industries.

An industry becomes susceptible to disruption when it becomes entrenched in its longstanding solutions and financial structures. Management consulting firms are not immune to the dynamics of disruption. In an industry where the basis of competition becomes efficiency versus innovation and new solutions, disruption is just around the horizon. While many consultants and consulting firms have established practices advising clients on strategies to leverage disruptive trends and technologies, only a few apply these to themselves.

In today’s business environment, management consulting firms must be ready to address client challenges and needs that will transform their business by 10 or 100 times. Tools and methods must be scaled up to ensure applicability to the widest possible audience globally.

The Consulting Workshop Series 101 provides a good understanding of the 10 methods of conducting Workshops that are custom designed to fit specific workshop objectives. Different methods are developed for the purpose of providing organizations the most appropriate tool necessary to support organizations to achieve their strategic goals and targets.

The Importance of Mastering Consulting Workshops

Consulting Workshops are tools used to maximize performance, align strategies, and actualize potentials of organizations. Management consulting firms leverage workshops as an effective way to rapidly reach decisions within client organizations.

Workshops usually last 1 to 5 days. They are typically used to gather stakeholders who normally don’t cross paths–e.g. stakeholders from different departments, different business units, and/or different regions. Within the workshop, the consulting firm plays the role of both facilitator and external subject matter expert.

The 10 Primary Workshop Methods

The 10 Primary Workshop Methods promote the conduct of a consulting workshop that is strategic and systematic to achieve its purpose and objectives.

  1. Charrette. The primary objective of Charrette is to generate consensus among diverse groups of people and form an action plan.
  1. Citizens Jury. The Citizens Jury method leads participants to come up with a decision that is representative of average citizens who has been well informed on the issue.
  1. Consensus Conference. Its primary objective is to come up with a consensus and a decision on a controversial topic.
  1. Delphi. Delphi is a method that exposes all opinions and options regarding a complex issue.
  1. Expert Panel. The Expert Panel synthesizes a variety of inputs on a specialized topic and produces recommendations.
  1. Focus Group. The primary aim of the Focus Group is to expose different group opinions on an issue and why these are held.
  1. PAME. PAME is Participatory Assessment, Monitoring, and Evaluation. PAME is basically used for evaluating and learning.
  1. Planning Cells. In Planning Cells, participants are made to learn about and choose between multiple options regarding an urgent and important action. In the end, an action plan is developed.
  1. Scenarios. Scenarios are used for planning and preparing for an uncertain future. This is basically vision-building.
  1. World Café. World Café is a consulting workshop method that is used for generating and sharing ideas.

Each method of conducting workshop differs in terms of objective, topics, participants, and time. Understanding the differences and purpose of the Consulting Workshop Series Methods will allow organizations to conduct the workshop with the greatest impact where one is desperately needed.

Interested in gaining more understanding of the 10 Primary Workshop Methods? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Consulting Workshop Series here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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About Joseph Robinson

Joseph Robinson is the Vice President of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is the marketplace for best practices in business management. Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. The documents at Flevy (https://flevy.com) are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and Accenture. Most were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with 20+ years of experience. Flevy covers 200+ management topics, ranging from Digital Transformation to Growth Strategy to Lean Management. You can peruse a full list of management topics available on Flevy here. Prior to Flevy, Joseph worked as an Associate at BCG and holds an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT. You can connect with Joseph on LinkedIn here.

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