Workshop activity 6: Solution ideas
Starting from the team-defined problem statement, the team is now ready to come up with ideas for tackling/solving the companies challenge. An effective method for coming up with many solution ideas quickly is brainstorming. Brainstorming solution ideas follows a few ground rules.
What you need
- Presentation slide with Brainstorming rules and task
- Large pieces of paper
- Post-it, sticky notes
Time: 20 min
Ask participants to come up with as many ideas as possible within a certain time frame (10 min) and adhering to a few rules, which are:
Say ideas aloud quickly and without thinking too much about it
Write or draw each idea on a separate note
Don’t judge or dismiss any ideas
Little ideas are just as good as big ideas
Aim for many ideas
Follow threads and themes
Add to other ideas
Let everyone in the team voice ideas
Stop when no new idea comes for a while
Next use LOLA inspiration cards (see resource page) or another random input source to come up with a further 10 solution ideas
Facilitate this activity by walking between groups and looking out for: ‘rule breakers’ (especially idea rejection); ideas not being noted down; missed opportunities to follow ideas; low energy; imbalanced groups.
If a table looks stuck, offer to sell them an idea (and show them how to come up with these ideas using a technique: theme of ideas; build on idea; random input; etc.), Make use of the Ideas in the Resources section.
Associated teacher activity:
The peer group holds an ideation session of 5 min. Use one of the HMW problem statements you came up with in ‘On the Day 6’. If you get stuck with this one, try another. Different problem statements can lead to different ideas.
Trainees reflect on the principles of brainstorming. Which rules did you break, and which did you stick to?
Peer group selects a random LOLA card and comes up with 10 more ideas.
Have a look at and discuss these additional, more structured Ideation resources (Ping Pong, Chain Reaction, Breathing)
There are as many methods for producing ideas, all with slightly different approaches and characteristics. Try some of these in your next workshop and evaluate them reflectively with your team.
Remember: group creativity is far easier to destroy than it is to create. Priming students with the right attitude, keeping things informal and relaxed, making sure no one judges ideas (yet), and a range of other details all matter.
What factors do you think are critical in fostering a suitable creative atmosphere in students? Try to list these based on your observations – for each factor, try to give an example of something you saw happen (e.g. a quiet student said an idea, a talkative student rejected it, the quiet student didn’t speak again).