The future of Workshop Butler. Part 1

Workshop Butler started several years ago as an internal project of Management 3.0 team to help it managing facilitators and workshops on a bigger scale than the then-current tool could allow. Through the years, it proved to be a reliable service helping other certification bodies like Lean Change Management to start and grow without worrying much about technical infrastructure.

As I kept working on the product (it called Teller that time), I realised it has a much bigger potential. After numerous interviews with training businesses I was convinced we were on the right track, the success was waiting for us just around the corner, so Workshop Butler as a separate business was born. Well, the path has happened to be longer than expected…

There are several options what a training business can do. Some of them organise and run workshops, coach people and companies. Others create new ideas, develop learning materials and find passionate trainers to teach students. No matter what path they follow, they are many things to do which are less fulfilling and creative. You need to update the list of upcoming workshops and trainers. You must process registrations and handle invoices. You have to give students additional information about the events and track licensing requests. The administrative side is mundane, time-consuming and yet essential for any successful training organisation.

As a result, Workshop Butler always had a clear purpose

free training businesses from administrative routine.

Every time I hear from a trainer or a training company that the product helped them saving this amount of hours or bringing them that number of thousands of euros, I’m thrilled. It’s what we’re doing it for, after all.

However, there is one key element that was missing from the very beginning - a big vision.

How do I see a bright future? What will Workshop Butler bring to a training market that is considerably better than many existing tools and services?

After all, workshops are not going anywhere in the next 10-15 years. In opposite, their number will increase as the best way to learn new skills and exchange experience with colleagues is through games and interactive exercises, the essence of any good workshop.

After two years and many mistakes, I also learned that a vision must be BIG and BOLD. Otherwise, it is useless when you bump into the next serious obstacle challenging you to change a direction or even give up. Luckily, I have one though I have never talked about it publicly because of the fear of being ridiculed.

It crystallised a while ago when I finally realised how interconnected a training market is. Training companies hire or invite trainers to run courses. Certification bodies and brands look for facilitators to share their vision and teach workshop participants. Trainers collaborate with trainers to experiment and bring more value to attendees. Students follow a learning path consisting of workshops from two and more brands. This interconnectedness is a source of creativity and inspiration for all players on the market. It’s also a source of complexity none of existing tools try to take into account.

Maybe, they are right? Perhaps, creating a product which serves only one type of training businesses is the best way to proceed?

It is one way but, according to our purpose, is not the best one. Many administrative tasks exist because training businesses use different non-interconnected tools which require the duplication of data: the same workshop descriptions on various websites to increase reach added manually; the same attendee data in different CRMs for post-workshop reach, invoice handling and certificate generation added manually; etc. If we want to free training businesses from administrative routine, we need something completely different.

And this is what Workshop Butler strives to be.

I see Workshop Butler as a platform making the collaboration between training businesses a bliss. Either it is a trainer-to-trainer collaboration with the purpose of workshop co-promotion, expertise and income sharing; or company-to-trainer collaboration; or certification body-to-certification body collaboration with the goal of creating a common learning path for students. It automates every step of the administrative process allowing businesses to concentrate on what really matters - giving people new knowledge that improves their lives.

Next week I’ll share what steps we plan to do in 2019 to make this vision a reality.