How to Host a Customer Co-Design Event

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When you invite customers to spend time with you to help co-design your next-gen products, services, or customer experience, you want them to be comfortable and at ease. Any event planner knows that creating an enjoyable meeting or memorable event requires a lot of attention to detail. What we’ve learned, in over 25 years of running these sessions, is that even GREAT event planners don’t know all the details you’ll need to be on top of to ensure a high-quality, smooth-running brainstorming session.

What Are the Subtle Differences that Make a Difference in a Well-Planned Customer Co-Design Event?

Clients often comment that there are so many logistics to think about, in addition to all the big picture, substantive stuff they need to handle (like making sure your top execs actually participate and that they leave their Smartphones in their pockets!). So they don’t want to pay attention to these subtle, but important details:

1. Securing a sufficiently large room (or multiple rooms) with the venue. You need enough room so that all activities can be done comfortably and without too much running from room to room.

2. Overfeeding participants. Your customers and colleagues are there to generate and share ideas. Although you may want to wine and dine your customers and show them a good time, it’s hard to think when in the midst of a “food coma.”

3. Testing out all the A/V before customers arrive. For example, every venue has a different sound system. Many hotels and conference centers pipe in music to common areas as well as empty meeting rooms, but they often forget to turn off the sound within your meeting room. Trying to make a point over a Muzak version of “The Girl from Ipanema” is very disconcerting!

Each customer co-design technique you use will have its unique own preparation requirements. But any customer co-design session needs to be carefully orchestrated and structured so that the creativity can flow. This week, Ronni Marshak offers Part 2 of our Customer Scenario® Mapping Guidebook: the Logistics Checklist. Even if you are using different techniques to co-design with your customers, I believe you’ll find this checklist useful to make sure you haven’t neglected something that will make your both a memorable and a catalytic event for your customers, your partners, and your firm’s executives.

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