Today, I want to talk about a technique that I absolutely love using in my workshops - Brainwriting. If you're not familiar with Brainwriting, it's a collaborative technique used to generate ideas and solutions from participants without the pressure of verbalizing them out loud. It's a great way to ensure that everyone has a chance to contribute and that all ideas are given equal consideration.
In this article, I'll be walking you through the step-by-step process of using Brainwriting, along with some tips and tricks that I've picked up along the way.
TLDR - What is Brainwriting?
- Brainwriting is a collaborative technique used to generate ideas and solutions from participants without the pressure of verbalizing them out loud.
- Participants write down their ideas on a sheet of paper and pass it around for others to build on.
- Brainwriting is ideal for generating a large number of ideas quickly and ensuring everyone has a chance to contribute.
- Use clear prompts, set time limits, and encourage building on existing ideas.
- Brainwriting is effective for sensitive topics and diverse groups.
- Brainwriting can generate over 100 ideas in 30 minutes.
How to facilitate Brainwriting?
Step 1. Set the stage
Introduce the concept of Brainwriting to your participants and explain how it works. Make sure everyone understands that the goal is to generate as many ideas as possible without any judgment or criticism.
Step 2. Distribute the Brainwriting sheets
These are usually sheets of paper with a prompt or question written at the top. Each participant should receive a sheet.
Step 3. Brainstorm ideas
Participants write down their ideas in silence for a set amount of time, usually five to ten minutes.
Step 4. Pass the sheets
Once the brainstorming time is up, participants pass their sheet to the person on their left or right.
Step 5. Build on existing ideas
The new recipient reads the previous ideas and builds on them by adding their own ideas.
Step 6. Repeat the process
After another set amount of time, the sheets are passed again, and the process is repeated.
Step 7. Collect and share ideas
After several rounds of Brainwriting, the facilitator collects all the sheets and compiles a list of ideas to share with the group.
When should you use Brainwriting?
Brainwriting is an excellent technique to use when you want to generate a large number of ideas quickly and ensure that everyone has a chance to contribute. It's particularly useful when dealing with sensitive topics or when you have a diverse group of participants who may not feel comfortable speaking up.
I recently facilitated a brainstorming session for an organization that was struggling with how to increase donations. Using Brainwriting, we were able to generate over 100 ideas in just 30 minutes. The process was incredibly effective in ensuring that everyone had a voice and that no idea was dismissed without consideration.
Tips and Tricks
- Use clear and concise prompts or questions to focus the brainstorming.
- Set a time limit for each round to keep the process moving.
- Encourage participants to build on existing ideas rather than starting from scratch.
- Remind participants to write legibly to ensure their ideas can be read by others.
- Consider using different colored pens or markers to differentiate between rounds.
- Always follow up with a group discussion to ensure all ideas are fully explored.
Overall, Brainwriting is a powerful technique for generating ideas in a collaborative and inclusive way. By using this process, you can create a safe space for everyone to contribute and ensure that all ideas are given equal consideration. Remember to follow the step-by-step process and use the tips and tricks I've shared to make the most out of your Brainwriting sessions.