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How Swarming Breaks Down Silos to Build Breakthrough Solutions

Chief Strategy Officer Dennis Hahn spoke with Dominic Monkhouse of The Melting Pot podcast about how our Swarming method pulls solutions from the very essence of a business using our secret sauce—enlisting a diversity of thought.

Silicon Valley Thinking in Action

Swarming is a method of co-creation unique to Liquid, and there’s a reason we talk so much about it. The Swarming method unleashes the power of simultaneous collaboration by bringing a variety of agency and client minds together to develop breakthrough solutions. Engaging a variety of stakeholders across an organization in real time allows us to break down the barriers of communication that exist in traditional business models. This leads to more diversity of thought and, ultimately, more innovative solutions. Swarming has worked for our clients again and again, not only as an in-person experience, but also as a Virtual Swarm Experience that we’ve developed in the last few months.

Our very own Dennis Hahn recently discussed the details of the Swarming method on The Melting Pot, a strategy and culture podcast for businesses and entrepreneurs. He and host Dominic Monkhouse delved into the power of co-creation at the core of the Swarm.

How We Developed Swarming

Swarming involves people at all levels of leadership so that organizations can attack a problem from multiple angles at once. “It’s very rapid, very agile,” Dennis says, “but it’s also structured in a way where we get to a real result.”

The initial Liquid workshop model wasn’t always so far-reaching. Swarming was incubated in defining brand strategy before it evolved into a broader method that could be used to solve all kinds of business problems—even the ones “you and the team aren’t experts in.” Because you’re actually facilitating the thought process, as long as the company has the answer somewhere, you will always get to it.

We quickly learned why this method was so effective. Businesses are full of people with untapped expertise, but it can be difficult to connect the right people, especially across departments, in the day-to-day rigors of work.

The Secret [Swarming] Sauce

Swarming uses both divergent and convergent thinking to quickly generate creative solutions to problems big and small. Divergent thinking happens when large groups are broken down to smaller units in order to work through multiple ideas in a short span of time. Once everyone’s thoughts have been shared, the groups come back together to share their best ideas to synthesize and improve on them.

The secret is in the tools that we’ve built, which are designed to drive outcomes, combined with the breadth of experience that each individual brings to the larger group. When you put people together who’d ordinarily be sitting in different parts of the organization, you get breakthrough thinking. You take down the silos and put everyone’s minds together.

“When you bring a group of diverse stakeholders together,” Dennis says, “they’re bound to come up with new things that no one person could have come up with or thought of [on their own].”

The innovative results aren’t the only benefits to a Swarm.

How Swarming Distributes Idea Ownership

“Normally, these challenges would be solved at a top level and then sold down on it,” Dennis says. Drawing ideas from across the company “helps the sell-through because you’re pulling it all the way through the organization.”

Isolated ideas are a much harder sell. But when “stakeholders across the enterprise are involved and contributing to the thinking and the problem solving, it now becomes an organizational issue, not just a departmental one.”

“That’s what we’ve seen as having the greatest success,” he explains.

When everyone can attest to the thinking behind the idea, everyone will be excited to execute their role in it. And if everyone’s excited, then the solution will be in good hands the whole way through.

Who Should Swarm?

If we learned anything from the sudden onset of the global pandemic, it’s the importance of adapting quickly to new and challenging situations. The most agile companies have a better chance of surviving.

Dennis argues that “companies that invest in this kind of thinking and in that kind of diversification are those that are better equipped to move quickly and adjust when things happen.”

Swarming meets the needs of every company because of its ability to bring many minds together and focus all kinds of expertise on a singular problem or opportunity.

Swarming meets the needs of every company because of its ability to bring many minds together and focus all kinds of expertise on a singular problem or opportunity. 

If you’re looking for ways to innovate to keep your business alive, give us a call. We’re excited to co-create with you. And if you’d like to hear more from Dennis, check out his episode of The Melting Pot.

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