In an earlier blog post our managing director Karsten Palme reported about the Export Coaching Programme for the Kenyan tourism sector which is organized by the CBI (Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries), a Dutch public agency that belongs to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Within the scope of this project, we organized three workshop days in Nairobi at the beginning of June together with CBI trainer Banoyi Zuma and CBI expert Hans Bossert.
Banoyi contributed the methodology “Design Thinking”, a narrative mode to evoke bottom-up movements to help organizations to evolve for the future. My role was to give some insights into trends, consumer behavior & developments in the tourism industry in EU as well as opportunities, challenges, recommendations & best practice regarding cooperation in the tourism sector in general. Both those issues were tackled with a short impulse presentation that were followed by interactive group work elements to take a closer look at what this exactly means for Kenya and how the participants could go about working together.
The group work elements revealed a great deal of issues that were clustered into larger topics. Together with Banoyi, Hans and our CBI programme manager, we guided the participants through the three days arriving at four concrete new cooperative products and concluding with a concrete action plan.
I experience the tools and techniques that we apply always as some sort of epiphany. Taking the right steps at the right time and giving support when needed that are the crucial success factors of any training. Most of the techniques and tools we use are neither rocket science nor completely new to the world but there are still used rarely by a lot of trainers. Our participants were yet again really overwhelmed by the concrete outcomes that they were able to produce in just three days.
Especially interesting for me was the Design Thinking approach, I had heard about it before but never experienced it real life. A popular definition of Tim Brown, CEO at IDEO says that “Design Thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, possibilities of technology, and requirements for business success”. Design Thinking is based on five steps: emphasize, define, ideate, prototype and test. For example, for the step “emphasize” the participants needed to go out of our meeting room and question the hotel’s guests about what they expect from a holiday in Kenya. Most participants felt being totally out of their comfort zone but eventually they had a lot of fun and generated some new insights.
In the following steps, those insights were substantiated with different tools and techniques. At the prototyping step, participants had to transform their idea into a real model, by using all sorts of toys like Playmobil, for example. The whole Design Thinking methodology is totally activity focused and really gets the creative juices flowing. All in all I think that the combination of methodologies and techniques created a unique workshop design that I am looking forward to apply in the future.
The Kenyan CBI export programme will continue for another three years. Distant one-to-one coaching combined with onsite trainings will support the Kenyan tourism industry in recovering from their current crises with more innovative products and a stronger cooperation among the industry players.
We will keep you posted!
All the best,