What’s Wrong With Traditional Innovation Approaches?

Innovation workshops used to be about taking time to collaborate with colleagues and using your brain in ways you don’t normally get to. The exciting chance to be part of creating the next “big thing”. Inspiring. Fun. Rewarding. 

Or that was the idea at least, because at some point, workshops rapidly started happening three times a week, from dusk till dawn. Now, large cohorts of people tend to be enlisted to create ideas, that you worry you will never see again, let alone will ever make it to market. Distracting. Repetitive. Unfulfilling.

Sound familiar?

As facilitators, we have noticed your “we’re doing this again” faces, phones hidden behind worksheets, lagging energy and flagging attention, making delivering great results more and more challenging.

At Butterfly, we are known for our energetic, creative and results driven 1 and 2 day innovation workshops – but we decided it was time to pause and think about the change we were seeing and feeling.

So what went wrong with the traditional approach…

  • Too many objectives leading to no clear focus
  • Too many people – workshops are becoming more about influencing
  • Not the right mix of people
  • They are designed for extroverts and dismissive of other styles of learning and contributing
  • They can be inefficient, leading to diminishing returns over time
  • Too often they end up delivering crazy or impossible ideas, that are not fit for purpose

In order to develop bigger, better ideas, ideas that you will feel proud of, ideas that will go on to be successes – innovation workshops need to change.

A year ago at Butterfly we did exactly that… and killed off one day (don’t even mention 2 days!) innovation workshops. We’ve taken a nimbler, iterative approach with our Helix philosophy and are thrilled with the results. What could you be doing differently?


Bianca Meek, Director