In 4 days to a spontaneous webinar. Virtual Workshops

What we are used to at Merkle has become a new reality for many overnight: Remote Working. We've set up a lightning-fast webinar on how to achieve your business goals while working from home

Pirmin Wyss

When it became clear over two weeks ago that we would be working from home, it was not clear for how long we would be working without interacting with our colleagues face-to-face. But it was obvious that we would continue to work together a lot - remotely. Merkle employees are used to working virtually. But how do you protect yourself from total isolation? How do we stay productive when working from home in the long term? In the general rush to reorganize, more and more questions are being asked: Who can help where and when customers put projects on hold?

Many of our customers' IT systems still lag far behind the possibilities of today. How can they realize that collaboration should not be a luxury but a matter of course? The Merkle Plan: A webinar should show that working from home and workshops can be combined very well. With the focus on virtual workshops we seem to find a specific niche at the moment. How quickly can the topic be made easily digestible? We agree that it can be done in 4 days.

A rough storyline and numerous internal experience reports later, it is clear that the findings with virtual workshops are often very similar. First of all, the basic requirements for every home office must be fulfilled (headset!). Only then can the participants be gently introduced to new rules and (if possible) to a new tool. Everything else is then almost like in any conventional workshop.

Bild 1
Workshop in the home office. The cabinet is suitable for maximum 4-phase concepts.

The first draft of the content of the presentation is still hanging on my cupboard at this point. This is a big advantage for collection and overview, but less so for virtual collaboration. Therefore the content is included in a Google Slides presentation. With the constantly improving structure and first visualizations, more and more focal points and essential insights emerge. The idea of presenting the whole thing not as a presentation but directly from a workshop tool is also maturing. After a short evaluation we chose Miro, because of its extensive functions and our good experience with it in the past. However, the concern remains that the audience would rather declassify this form as a stunt than accept it as an optimal presentation tool. Nevertheless, we decide to stick with it because it allows us to show the simplicity of the tool and the possibilities of working together in a simple way. We then sharpen the content iteratively, right up to the last moment.

Day of the webinar: finally another good reason to shave and put on a shirt. That's what Michael thinks, too, and so we find ourselves in a webinar in a corporate consultant uniform with a light blue shirt without any agreement. Adjustments to my home office setup (goodbye to the llama poster) can't get us out of our heads either. Let's go and come out with that.

LIVE: During the presentation.


Developing and conducting this webinar in the home office felt very natural. I can't remember a time when I thought that I would be better off in our office at the Zurich train station. The topic itself is more topical than ever before. Nevertheless, it turns out that the real challenge of a virtual workshop lies in its content - just like any other workshop. The differences are small and with good preparation, many things can be simplified. The decision to present with Miro was also absolutely right. After all, it's often not the case that you can't use a certain tool, but that you don't even know that there is a simple solution for the current problem. And we were able to prove this without any problems.

Live mit Kindern
The youngest audience (probably during a Design Thinking Workshop).