The Brainstorming Session -
Sticky Dot Example
A group of 135 engineers from the Federal Highway Administration were attending a week-long conference. The sessions were mostly lectures, so a facilitator suggested a brainstorming session and subsequent break-out group discussions as a mid-week activity. The purpose was to surface issues of importance to the engineers in attendance.
The facilitator conducted the brainstorming with the engineers while three volunteers wrote the topic ideas on three flip chart pads (a technique used to increase the speed of idea recording). The 30-minute brainstorming session resulted in a list of 156 possible topics for discussion, and the pages of ideas were hung on the ballroom wall.
The participants were each given a strip of five Avery Color Coding Labels (blue dots) and asked to place their five dots on the five topics of most interest.
They were given until 8:00 p.m. that night to place their dots.
That night, the facilitator reviewed the lists and found that the dots clearly clustered around 12 topics. Twelve tables were set up around the ballroom with placards that displayed each of the twelve topics. The next morning the group reassembled, were given instructions on how to approach the topics, then released into break-out groups to discuss and resolve them.
There was enormous energy, and at the end of the conference, the engineers rated this activity the most interesting of the week.
The dot prioritization method is a powerful way to narrow a long list of ideas quickly.
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