Sunday, 20 December 2009

3 Steps to Workshop Heaven

A critical skill needed by groups is to be able to rationalise ideas generated by individuals into a set of key ideas that representing the group consensus. A simple technique is the Post_It “brainstorm”.

3 Step ProcessThe technique is seen as a bit “old hat” by some but maybe this is more of a “fashion statement” as it is still a powerful tool.

The technique has three simple steps. The first step involves individuals working on their own noting their ideas on Post-Its – one idea per Post-It. When ready they stick their Post-Its onto a flip chart and review them as a group. Duplicates are resolved and new ideas that arise are added as new Post-Its.


Step 2 For the second step, the group discussion widens with a view to cluster the ideas into common themes. The Post-Its are picked off and moved around to form collections of ideas. When happy, the group draw a boundary is drawn around these collections and label them.



Step 3The third step sees the themes transferred to a new flip chart where they are simply listed as key ideas. Typically there is a pause at this stage so that each group may feed back to the other groups and listen to feedback and suggestions.



Here a group can be seen working through all 3 stages.

Group with all stages

Follow on steps from this exercise might include:

  • Revisit the ideas and refine them
  • Select one of the key ideas and develop it using the same 3 stage process (a great role to give managers is to get them to select the key ideas they want developed further and then hand back to the work groups to resolve)
  • Take the key ideas and develop an action plan to implement each of them (again you could use the 3 stage process).

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Visualising the Workshop Plan

00 Plan as ListIt is of course common sense and good practice to brief workshop attendees on the plan for the day. This may take the form of a list of steps and is often presented as such.

However practical, a simple list is neither memorable nor suggestive of an overall approach.


To overcome these problems why not present the steps graphically and let the image reinforce how the workshop might flow. There are many metaphors to draw from (excuse the pun) – the example here combines several – a path to be followed, a goal to be achieved (scaling the peak) and a happy outcome (chequered flag and a new dawn!).

01 Workshop Routemap

This is left pinned up throughout the workshop and constantly referred to. As each step is completed it can be marked (in this example with green ticks) and the next step selected.

09 Progress on Routemap