Facilitating a brain storm is easy right?
Tell people to write ideas on stickies. Group them. Discuss. Dot-vote. Done.
Wrong! What I’ve seen too often is: Write. Group. Discuss one idea. Run out of time. Forget about follow-up.
You know you’ve failed at brain storming when… You need to make a decision right now, because the meeting is out of time.
Here’s three reasons brain storming fails:
🙊 Discussing ideas one by one means only one idea is improved at a time 📣 The loudest voice in the room dominates the discussion 📒 Cryptic messages on stickies mean ideas aren’t captured
Here’s a different technique called “brain writing” that I enjoy:
This can be on separate A4 sheets of paper. Or a shared (google) doc where everyone gets their own page.
Tell people to write down their ideas in full sentences. The ideas should be understood without any additional voice over by the writer.
Again, write in full sentences. The writing should stand on its own.
Clarify details. Provide extra reasons why it’s a great idea. Suggest how to overcome potential issues.
Repeat this until you’ve seen all sheets or are tired. Whatever comes first.
Have people read each others’ work and place dots (or emoji’s if digital) to show they find it an idea worth discussing further.
And then ask yourself. Do I really want to force in a decision making component in the remaining time?
Or should we end it here and schedule a follow-up for each of the most promising ideas?
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