We had a long running working relationship with OTP, a major Hungarian bank. With their new HQ building already under construction, they were planning to move around a large number of divisions and people.
The new HQ would be able to house the workstations currently situated in 5 different buildings throughout the city. Upon completion of the construction, about 5000 people will be moved into the new building.
Our Client wanted help with designing what features the new spaces would need to have and invited us on a tender for the opportunity.
What we have realized very early on, that what the Client wanted is not entirely feasible. With construction already underway, whatever we came up with in regard of the building will be too late to implement.
What we have seen though was an opportunity to modernize, not just the physical space but also the way their employees were interacting with it and each other. We offered to facilitate a comprehensive research campaign, performed by joint teams, to explore what can be improved, and how.
With this approach we managed to rise above our competition and won the job.
I participated in the early phase of the campaign, in which our main goal was to onboard major stakeholders, representatives of the various divisions.
As part of a 5 man research team, I have designed, moderated, and evaluated workshop activities.
The people we wanted to gather information from were mostly from middle and upper management roles, busy in general, most of them used to more traditional brainstorming meetings.
We've anticipated some of them feeling uncomfortable being questioned about internal affairs by people outside their organization.
Our first step was to educate. We introduced them to the various methodologies we were planning to use and explained why we use them.
We began with simple exercises aimed at generating a lot of topics. We wanted to make sure that differences in their position within the organization does not prevent anyone from contributing.
For this reason the initial activities were centered around private tasks (e.g. “write down some things that you would change”). After sharing the early ideas with the room, we had them organize their ideas by affinity. We soon could identify common topics, and form groups around their shared interests.
After the second workshop we had over a hundred topics and ideas we could tackle, each one capable of becoming a multi-month project in it’s own right. Using the documented groupings, we continued to sort, merge, and rephrase the various ideas with our team until we got down the number of topics to a manageable level.
After that we converted the topics into an easy to share format by appending a category, a description and relationships to other topics where applicable.
We organized our next workshop with the goal of further narrowing our focus. Tackling all the issues and ideas were of course not viable within the timeframe, so we wanted to find out which topic do the leaders feel the most strongly about.
We gave them a limited budget to spend on the issues presented, and encouraged discussion by asking them to negotiate and convince others to pool resources.
By the end of the last workshop in the intro phase, we could get them to agree on the 8 most important areas further research should focus on, out of the hundred plus we started with.