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1 Dupont Circle Northwest
Washington, DC, 20036
United States


The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise, founded in November 2012 and hosted by the Aspen Institute, is a collaborative effort of over 70 artisan businesses, artisan support organizations, corporations, government agencies, and other partners who are working together to promote the full potential of the global artisan sector.  

The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise was created to elevate the importance of the artisan sector, support and grow artisan businesses, and share best practices in a collaborative learning community. 

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Artisan Innovation Workshop


Inspiring solutions to strengthen artisan businesses

The Artisan Innovation Workshop is a collaborative series of activities to strengthen artisan businesses and help them reach their immense potential for growth in the global economy. Designed in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Office of Global Women's Issues, this workshop offers artisan businesses and artisan support organizations an opportunity to spend a day  mapping the artisan value chain and examining issues and opportunities for their organizations. 

This workshop is not just for artisans. It is for anyone seeking to strengthen artisan businesses, better understand issues impacting the artisan sector, or in search of new ways to improve livelihoods for artisans and the communities in which they work. The workshop uses human-centered design principles recommended in UNESCO's 2013 Creative Economy Report, including empathy building, story sharing, and co-creation techniques, to inspire collaboration and innovation across the artisan value chain. 


The Artisan Innovation Workshop includes four activities to spark conversation and generate ideas to strengthen artisan businesses:



Create a visual map of the distinct activities involved in the artisan value chain, from sourcing raw materials to selling a finished product.

~ 2 hours


Establish Empathy

View the journey map from the perspective of key stakeholders to understand their needs, motivations, and aspirations at each stage of the journey.

~ 1 hour

Activity 3

Business Insights

Identify and analyze a business's key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats at each stage of the journey.

~ 1 hour



Brainstorm ideas to address key business insights across the value chain. Participants create a list of ideas to be implemented after the workshop.

~ 2 hours



What are the benefits of facilitating a workshop?

This workshop will help you identify strengths, challenges, and opportunities for your business and help you identify ways to turn those insights into action and plans to strengthen your business. The Alliance will use the results from your workshop to collect and analyze data on the sector and highlight opportunities and solutions that can be replicated in other areas or scaled up to create more value for artisan businesses in the value chain. 

The Alliance will provide all the tools you need to facilitate

Artisan businesses and artisan support organizations can register to facilitate their own in-person workshop for their business or organization. The workshop website and Facilitator's Guide will be piloted in target countries beginning in early 2017. Sign up to facilitate below to register your interest in hosting a session for your business or organization. We will contact you when the workshop website launches.