Last week our team met in person to kick-off our year, talk through the project plan and work on enhancements for our event, MuckFest MS. The meetings were a great success and part of the reason (beside the fact that we have a kickass team) is that we chose to follow a process and agreed on the building blocks.

In trying to enhance our event offering we set aside time to create participant profiles and brainstorm.

In creating participant profiles, the marketing team outlined our event demographics and we took this information to create a person. For example, a woman aged 30-34, married with kids turned into “Rachael” a team captain doing the event because her mom has MS.

From this profile we began to think through what features Rachael wants to see at the event or how we could market to her. This process, provides clarity. For example, Rachael probably had her kids see her get mucky at the event and she wants to be able to feed them. Which led us to the conclusion that we better have a few food trucks around so she has options for the kids.

From there we created three participant profiles for people who already come to the event and two profiles for a new audience we want to target to attend. Taking the time to go through this process now gives the team a shorthand to discuss the ways in which we enhance our participant experience in 2015.

The next step was to brainstorm ideas for enhancements. We’ve all been to a brainstorm but often the rules of brainstorming get immediately thrown out. What are these rules?

  • There are no dumb ideas
  • Don’t criticize other people’s ideas
  • Build on other people’s ideas
  • Reverse the thought of “quality over quantity”

Taking the time to agree on the ground rules and actually following them meant we were able to get so many more ideas by following the process. It’s hard not to say, “We don’t have the budget to build a 50 ft. high mountain of mud” but you hold your tongue and think of another idea. Especially because that one idea can lead you to another one that you may be able to implement like a “tower of trampolines” (which would give our risk management team pause) might turn into a series of trampolines built into the ground.

While we’re all at the start of a new year, I thought it’d serve as a good reminder to hear: process is easy to forget or throw out as soon as it gets boring or difficult. But if you stick with it you’ll get a better product. That’s exactly what happened to us!

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