Workshop Sessions to Help a Suffering Economy
Spa Ninja is a fully functioning SAAS (Software As A Service) product for wellness operators used by hundreds of spas in Bali. With COVID-19 hitting the region by storm, Bali’s spa industry is forced to pause their activities. As a business, Spa Ninja urgently need to rethink the business model in order to sustain and help the Balinese Wellness industry.
In June 2020, Agency of Things assisted them with conducting workshop session to explore potential pivot strategies for both Spa Ninja itself and the general Balinese wellness / hospitality industry, including hotels and spas. All within 2 days because we’re experts in fast-paced ideation.
When COVID-19 came into the picture, Bali’s wellness and hospitality industry stopped operating due to the physical nature of the service. Many hotels and spas were forced to (temporarily) layoff their employees. And since Yosiwa’s existence relied on the wellbeing of the hospitality and wellness industry, Spa Ninja committed to help these hotels and day spas to navigate and survive post-COVID situation.
This was when we felt the need to join them. As we also consider Bali as our playground, we couldn’t bear to see the economy suffer amidst the uncertainty brought by COVID. So we designed and facilitated few workshop series in which the goal was to help Spa Ninja deriving feature sets that directly help Balinese spa and hotels survive in short and long term.
Additionally, through the workshop we would like to introduce design thinking and creative problem solving methods to the Balinese hotel and spa operators. We hope this would help them to creatively and systematically brainstorm to solve their (day-to-day) problem.
We believe that everyone’s idea is valuable. We value collaborative problem solving approach by exploring ideas from multiple perspectives then evaluate them based on feasibility, complexity and needs.
Our approach to collaborative ideation was to host a product workshop to collect as many ideas as possible with stakeholders, industry experts and representatives from several hotel and spa establishments in Bali. The outcome of the workshop was a feature list that Spa Ninja can implement within short, medium and long term.
We believe that everyone’s idea is valuable
Prior to the workshop, we had worked with the founding team to be in touch with their clients and investigate the existing problems that the Balinese wellness and hospitality industry faced.
Afterwards, we asked them come up with trigger questions as a starting point to encourage ideas during the workshop. Then we had to decide who to invite as the workshop participants to achieve diverse and valuable insights. We decided to have these groups as the workshop participants:
– Spa Ninja team
– Experts from the tourism, hospitality, and wellness industries
– Representatives from balinese hotels and spas (Spa Ninja’s clients)
Since we were unable to physically host the workshop due to COVID-19 and participants are based in multiple regions, we used a remote collaborative tool to conduct the workshop.
The workshop was divided into 2 parts where it started with ideation followed by prioritisation. The goal of the ideation stage was to come up with as many ideas as possible within a short period to discuss and dissect – known as converging stage.
We aimed at generating 100+ ideas by the end of this stage. From all the ideas emerged in the first stage, we selected and prioritised based on feasibility, impact and timeline – known as a diverging stage.
We started with a warm up and ice breaking activities to ensure all participants were the in their most creative state of mind. This part of the activity can usually take up half of the workshop because we need to be sure by the time we reach the main ideation topic, participants are ready to come up with as many ideas as possible.
Some of the techniques used in this ideation stages were:
– Direct idea shoutouts
– Brain writing
– SCAMPER method
– Iconic figure/superhero ideation
We use the following tools during the session:
– Miro for collaborative workspace and sticky notes
– Google sheets as a backup tool in case Miro is too difficult to use
The workshop lasted for 2 hours and by the end of this first session and we managed to generate around 140 ideas in total.
In the second workshop session, we helped them converging the 140 ideas by using Walt Disney’s Creative strategy framework. In this framework, participants were assigned the following roles:
This role-playing method was very useful to assess ideas and only focused on the most feasible without completely abandoning the unrealistic ones. Unrealistic ideas are good, but we don’t need them immediately especially when the workshop goal was to come up with the most workable and impactful features.
Results & Learnings
In total, we spent about 4 hours to conduct the workshop and the participants came up with 3 winning ideas.
The workshop was proven beneficial for the Spa Ninja itself and their hotel and spa clients. Although there were certain limitations that enforced us to conduct this online, general remarks and feedbacks from the participants were all positive.
Because Balinese hospitality is known to be a rather traditional industry, they are not well exposed to creative methods of problem solving like the ones we introduced through this workshop. So it was a new experience for them, from which they can also learn and adapt few methods for their day-to-day problem solving use.
After the workshop, the team decided to further tinker with the 2nd Winning Idea about the digital masterclasses and experience.
Here are the learnings that we’ve experienced by designing and conducting this workshop:
– Being constantly engaged to a screen for a long time is tiring. Participants need to be allowed few short off-screen times every 30 minutes or so.
– Technical constraints can be a pain, especially when not everyone has high speed internet connection.
– Always prepare a backup tool that everybody is familiar with, e.g. shared excel sheet, google sheet, in case participants are unable to access the tools we use.
– Hosting an introductory session for the tool is essential before the workshop especially when running it with participants who are not familiar with the tool.
After the workshop, The Spa Ninja team decided to further tinker with the 2nd Winning Idea about the digital masterclasses and experience. They eventually developed an additional feature in Yosiwa to enable user to book an online experience with Balinese hotels and spas.
We’ll definitely hear back from them once they release this feature and got their first few months of traction. Until then, stay tune!