BRIF Summit in Almaty

The program in Kazakhstan was very intensive: business-game at the conference, presentations, meetings, working visits etc, but the crown on the top (at least for me) was the ‘summit’ I’ve done with the BRIF’s team – or int fact with the three teams compiling the Brif Group (the agency itself, TNS Central Asia, and Asia Direct).

The challenge was to combine a training and educational event with somewhat practical work for the teams. I decided to run the Future Probe program, somewhat similar to what we’ve done with the Itella-Connexions, only in this case the work should have been directed to one team (ok, three ones, but still connected to each other, and working together, as opposed to the CRM community of Itella).

We therefore started with identification of their status quo, both in terms of practices and activities, and of the values behind them. The format – creation of a creative team poster – was quite familiar to the participants, many of whom were experienced researchers and moderators of focus-groups.

The nest exercise was perhaps less familiar, but still intuitively clear: the teams had to image their future – first individually, and then combining it into a collective vision of the future.

This was somewhat similar to what we’ve done when we explored the future of Almaty, but in this case we had a bit more time for discussions and reflections. Oh, and no, it wasn’t just a cascade of exercises, I was also presenting some cases, and some tools etc.  But I did want to make this session much more interactive that an average ‘workshop’.

When the first top-of-mind ideas about the future had been expressed, we went further, and made a much more thorough examination of the future signals (here I directly used our tool, FuturoGlimpse ™, that combines exploration of both immediately relevant and apparently distant domains.)

At the end of this stage every team has ended up with a few ‘themes’, or ‘meta-trends’ that may have significant impact on their activities in the future (we also ended up finally having our lunch 🙂

The next part of the workshop was both very interesting and very difficult; the teams had to create their own ‘probes’ of the future, a range of concepts that would test these hypotheses about the possible futures. Every team had to create three of those, using the same inspiration (=’meta-trend’), but different formats.

It is here when the teams (at least some of them) were stack a bit:

But after a while, and thanks to joint creative potential of the guys (though here I have to admit there was only one more ‘guy’ in the audience besides me, the rest being ladies :), we have overcame the stackness, and move on with creation of a whole range of interesting ideas:

Every time I run these sessions I am amazed with how many ideas people may come, and how interesting they usually are!  This was not an exception, every team has produced at least  one very original ideas with which they could start experimenting already tomorrow in their own real practice.

Some of these ideas (‘probes’) related to the new methods and tools that could start developing, some I could call ‘new business models’, and some others could be described as ‘new organisational structures’:

And yet some other others… ok, may be we have to wait for the future to see how them will be called then:

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