Go on a roller coaster ride with me!

- Do-Hee An & Marijan Divkovic

What's really odd about roller coaster rides is the fact that it brings up good and bad feelings to our bodies and minds. Experiencing the acceleration and loosing control of our own senses is a lot of fun and can make us feel terrified at the same time. And even if we know that we might leave the roller coaster feeling queasy, we still do not want to miss out on this type of experience.

A very special roller coaster ride that I definitely wouldn't have liked  to miss, was the recent bpExperts innovation event which I attended together with some of my colleagues, a group of young professionals called icons - consulting by students and customers of bpExperts.

The goal of the event was to answer the following breakthrough question:
"How can social media help to represent bpExperts and its values in an authentic manner and promote the work at bpExperts as attractive and fulfilling."

To find answers to this question, we followed an ideation method called "Riding the creative roller coaster" by Nowhere. To let our creativity flow, this special type of roller coaster ride was conducted in the middle of Bavaria´s nowhere where no disturbances of big city traffic can be found, and life is rather simple. The method, location and the whole setting around the event already made me feel very curious. However, looking at the agenda and getting to know that the curves and loops of our roller coaster ride will be determined by three main stages - Onboarding, Unknown, and Illumination - made everything sound very mysterious.

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At the beginning, I quickly found out that the purpose of the onboarding was to familiarize the group with each other. We did a short personal introduction during which each person characterized oneself in three words. Those key words helped us to identify our individual strengths and to define our group´s secret sauce. The introduction triggered a vivid discussion about personal values and helped to create a strong bond between the participants right from the beginning. The discussion was a very interesting experience for myself as I have never thought a lot about my personal values. Therefore, this point triggered me to think about things that are important to me in my life.

Shortly after the opening round we dived into the deep unknown.  In small groups we discussed different topics under the theme 7 generation mapping. The discussion challenged us to view things from different perspectives and decades. My group focused on the topic: what makes an employer attractive - in the past, present and future.  The exercise gave us all the opportunity to answer a question based on what we know and experienced in the past and present and also to create a vision about future developments of the same.

The 7 generation mapping and the secret sauce were only two of the activities that we engaged in our first day. Another very remarkable activity was the evocative talk that was introduced to us during dinner. For this task we were supposed to prepare a short speech for the next morning related to anything we found interesting during the first day.  The speech itself was supposed to be short and the goal was to move the audience emotionally rather than to convince the listeners with arguments. The evocative talks, as I could see in the next morning, were a very emotional and moving experience for all participants. One speech that still stuck to my mind was a story of one participant explaining that he cannot work with people who completely disagree with his values and even break them. This triggered again an inner discussion in my head about my own values and what is important for me. The participant´s words helped me to understand my own disappointments at certain situations and people. I understood that I feel hurt and even betrayed when someone I trusted before hurts the values that I believe in.  

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The highlight of the event was reached when we did the iteration in pairs. After doing a long inspiring walk - the intuition walk - in the surrounding area, each of us started to draw something that should answer the breakthrough question. After creating and discussing the picture we were grouped in pairs and created a new one. We continued this task until we finally had one group picture where the ideas of everyone were involved. The final picture does not only show our common idea of how to present our company values in a social media campaign, but it is also a collection of all our individual and common values and visions of how to live and express those.

This exercise finally helped us to overcome the border between the known and the unknown and finally to reach illumination. The innovation event was definitely the most interesting roller coaster ride I have ever experienced. The combination of the method we used, the broad diversity of participants as well as the location that was in the middle of nowhere were very significant factors that nurtured creativity and helped us to come up with innovative ideas. As a follow up of the innovation event, we kicked off the bpExperts social media campaign which will be presented to you very soon!

Are you interested in experiencing a similiar roller coaster ride? bpExperts also supports other companies in organizing and conducting such events.