What’s it like to be in a group of 7 strangers and telling them what your greatest fear is?

To be frank, it was quite liberating. Personal questions like this and other small group activities were used to break the ice at VisitoRs’ virtual reality (VR) ideation workshop last Friday here at InnovationLabs.Berlin. VisitoRs is a VR startup based in Berlin and focused primarily on developing VR experiences using co-creation methods. And those 7 strangers were not so strange at all. In fact, they were a mix of designers, scientists, software engineers and business folks all working towards the same objective: develop ideas for a VR game. How we did that turned out to be good, clean, user-centric fun.

The guiding principles behind VisitoRs’ workshops are, as stated, user-centric. Rather than copy-pasting your personal beliefs and experiences into product features, put yourself in the shoes of your users: Who are they? What keeps them up at night? What are their pain points in personal and professional life? After having a firm hold on who the user is, you can begin to build a sense for what their needs are and how to address them.

Before long, we had defined multiple users for VR experiences and were channeling ideas for storylines and product features. Once this creative environment was set, it spread like wildfire. One idea led to the next which led to the next and before you know it felt like we were striking intellectual gold! Every activity we engaged in took place in groups of two or more, so we were able to quickly become acquainted and feel comfortable expressing our eccentric, sometimes outlandish, ideas out loud. These sessions also act as a special networking event where you learn about a person from different angles than you would in a more civilised setting.

In a matter of hours we went from developing general customer personas to proposing complex, immersive VR experiences. Each group presented their story boards, collected feedback, and iterated upon the leading ideas. Soon, a working prototype will be developed from one. Pretty cool, right?

If you’ve never experienced this sort of workshop before, I would urge you to attend one as soon as possible. Make it one of your goals for the month. If you live in Berlin, then check out our Nano Labs workshop series where you can learn the methodology and experience the power of co-creation for yourself.

Until then,