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Warming Up

Start the session by worming up focusing on a problem which is not related to the problem at hand. In order to encourage people to surpass inhibitions, a possible exercise is "The Silly Cow": come up with a business model that includes a cow. They produce milk, eat grass, and make mooing sounds.

The idea is for people to see they are able to come up with innovative ideas even if in a context radically different from what they do on a daily basis. Moreover, if there are more senior (or power dynamics) in the team, it can help having them onboard showing there is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Brainstorming Rules

  • Stay focused
    • Define the problem early on. Never let the discussion wander too far from the true purpose of the brainstorming session
  • Enforce rules (Facilitators should enforce them)
    • "Defer judgement": There will be a time to prioritize ideas
    • "One conversation at a time": Avoid split focus in the group
    • "Go for quantity": Don't censor yourself based on preconceptions
    • "Be visual": Sometimes a drawing or schematic and be more useful than words
    • "Encourage wild ideas":
  • Think Visually
    • Sketch ideas in a way everyone can see
    • Using PostIt notes helps to move ideas around and see how they connect
  • Prepare
    • Prepare the participants with an immersion experience related to the problem at hand. Either by talking to customers, doing a field trip, etc.


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Aquiles Carattino
Aquiles Carattino
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