From 30 sq m to 80 – how Behrad Mirafshar’s workshops grew to fill the Spacebase Campus

When Behrad Mirafshar first stepped foot in our Skalitzer location in Kreuzberg, Berlin 6 months ago, it was to host a new, unique workshop in one of our smallest spaces. The bright meeting room fits up to eight people with a single table and is certainly an intimate venue for an event.

ATTEND: Behrad Mirafshar welcoming the workshop attendees

Last week, on the other hand, his ‘Customer Experience Design and Mapping’ workshop filled our main event space with over 50 participants. Behrad’s passion for educating and inspiring others has expanded and is taking on new shapes; he now runs five workshops for different target groups in Berlin. From free two hour tasters for new joiners to 4 day courses for companies, the workshops break down the complexities of customer experience design, share methods on how to coordinate teams and then put the attendees’ communication and creative skills to the test in small discussion groups.

Alongside his events Behrad works as the managing partner for the innovation powerhouse Bonanza Design, which helps corporate businesses and startups train and grow young problem solvers.

Happy attendees, happy workshop

So how do you double your attendance numbers in Berlin, a city which has an event or workshop for every night of the week?

We caught up with Behrad to get some of his top tips.

The driving force behind the workshops is undoubtedly the passion and personal meaning for Behrad. “We’re stepping into an unprecedented time, where we face problems such as the climate crisis, AI and a fourth industrial revolution,” said Behrad. “We need to train a generation of brave and creative problem solvers to lead multi-cultural teams and drive innovation.”

‘Learn by doing’

But success doesn’t come overnight. Which takes us to the second triumph of this workshop: Behrad tried and tested different ideas to curate the perfect workshop that engaged and inspired attendees. “It was a lot of trial and error. We held events that attracted only two people. But we had to do it to get what wasn’t working,” shared Behrad.

And what does work, is interactivity and accessibility. In last week’s workshop, the attendees were presented with a relevant problem, the current issue of reducing meat consumption – a topic which all of us consciously make a decision about, every day. With basic guidance from three facilitators and Behrad, the attendees split into six small groups to first discuss the challenge, then brainstorm their solutions. Using such an accessible issue that splits opinions (and sheds light on more controversial ones!) not only simulates a realistic problem-solving situation, but it also sparks exciting group dynamics

Behrad encourages attendees to ‘learn by doing’ and to actively solve problems, giving them a chance to practice integral professional skills that can be transferred to any workplace. “It’s all about creating value for your audience,” continued Behrad.

Meal planning with a twist

At Spacebase, we thrive off success stories like these. Since they began in summer 2019, Behrad’s Design Thinking and Innovation workshops now have over 850 members (and counting!) on Meetup, an online platform for finding and building communities, with new, inspiring events being added every week, including ‘Design for Diversity’ and ‘UX Level Up your design career’ workshops.

“Spacebase are amazing. A human based operation, which is very empathetic towards the needs of a growing business,” said Behrad. We couldn’t be happier that our variety of unique spaces on and off-campus are fulfilling our mission, to provide young businesses the flexibility and support to bloom. Behrad’s workshops have now gone above and beyond his initial expectation: “We always thought we could do something different, however we didn’t imagine the success we have today.”

Thinking of starting your own creative workshop adventure? Behrad’s golden rule is “don’t expect to get it in the first try, or even the tenth. And don’t rush to make money out of it. Building the brand is more important than making quick profits.”

The workshop filled the Spacebase Campus main event space

From the feedback of last week’s participants, a mix of professionals and creatives from Berlin’s thriving startup scene, this approach is one that will lead to plenty more success in the future – and we’re excited to be part of the story!

Feeling inspired by Behrad’s success story? Follow his ongoing projects at Bonanza Design and on Instagram @bonanzadesign. Then take a look on Spacebase for the ideal space in your city, from New York to London or here in Berlin, to turn your next big idea into a reality.

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