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”.
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.
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.
The 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.
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).