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ChangeWise Quick Read: Ideas Generation Silent Storming

When running an ideas generation workshop, it can often feel challenging to get the momentum going. You may also find that certain team members dominate the session since they feel more comfortable making suggestions in larger groups. If this sounds familiar, you might like to try the Silent Storming Technique.

This simple method involves the team generating as many ideas as possible in silence and is a really great way to encourage equal, creative participation from everyone.

Photo by Leon on Unsplash

Sounds great – how do I get started?

The good news is, you don’t need much to get started – just some Post-It notes, pens and a business issue or opportunity to explore!

Step 1:

Choose a room with adequate space for your team to move around comfortably. You will also need enough wall space to display your ideas.

Provide each team member with plenty of Post-It notes and pens. Explain that the objective is to think of as many ideas as possible regarding the business issue or opportunity, and capture them on Post-It notes before sticking them to a wall or flip-chart.

Step 2:

Make sure everyone understands the current business issue or opportunity you want to explore further, and why you need to generate ideas.

For example; we have mapped our current state process, identified the waste and designed our Lean future state – now we need to generate ideas that will help us move from our current process to our desired future state.

Step 3:

Make sure everyone understands the rules….

Do…..

  • We are aiming for quantity, not quality in the shortest time
  • There are no dumb ideas (because they may trigger other ideas)
  • Build-on ideas by expanding, modifying or adding
  • Add unconventional, imaginative ideas – these are very welcome!

Don’t…….

  • Judge or criticise other people’s ideas in preference to generating ideas – no ‘idea assassins!’
  • Praise or endorse good ideas during the silent storm
  • Stop and discuss until the silent storm is over
  • Over analyse or dwell on individual points
  • Paraphrase an individual’s idea when scribing
  • Allow any one person to dominate the session
  • Throw away any Post-Its if they are repetitions, as symbolically this will look like you have crushed an individual’s idea

⚠️ Important Point! The facilitator must monitor the activity to encourage participation and ensure all join in.

Step 4:

Set the timer and let the ideas flow! We recommend 5 minutes.

Photo by Nathália Rosa on Unsplash

⚠️ Important Point! You might find things start to slow down after 2-3 minutes – but it is important to keep the team storming until the time is up. This is because the best ideas often appear towards the end of the session.

Step 5:

Stop the clock! You can now organise and evaluate ideas – but only after the 5 minute session has finished.

We also recommend you keep all the Post-It notes, even if you transcribe ideas onto a flip chart.

In Summary

Silent Storming is a great way to get ideas flowing whilst encouraging equal, creative participation from everyone.

Want to know more? Get in touch with the ChangeWise team at info@changewise.co.uk

ChangeWise believes employee engagement is the foundation for successful Change. Training and coaching your people to use simple continuous improvement techniques will enable your organisation to continuously adapt and stay ahead in a constantly changing and challenging environment.

For updates and interesting Lean Change insights, connect with us on LinkedIn.

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