Idea Workshops for Any Topic or Challenge
Using 10-minute workshops to brainstorm lots of ideas
10-Minute Workshops focus on generating quantity over quality of ideas in only 10 minutes. Idea generation should be lightweight and fast, especially for things that shouldn’t take hours of discussion. That’s because 10-Minute Workshops force teams to think quickly, be brutal with their curation, and get less attached to specific ideas. Here’s an overview:
Workshop outcome: Curated list of solutions and ideas for a challenge
Time: 10 minutes per topic or challenge session
Materials needed: Block of square sticky notes per person, one sharpie per person, timer, and voting dots
Minimum participants: 3, including the facilitator
Maximum participants: 10, including the facilitator
Intro to the 10-minute workshop ideas
The only thing you need to start a 10-Minute Workshop is a topic. Since you can use this method to brainstorm almost anything, there are very few limitations.
As the facilitator of 10-Minute Workshops, brainstorm a “How Might We” (HMW) phrased challenge. Rephrase whatever challenge or topic you have in mind into something that is actionable.
So instead of the 10-Minute Workshop starting with something negative like: “We need to think of ways to fix this checkout flow,” you rephrase it into something that offers more opportunity, like: “How Might We (HMW) Improve the checkout flow.”
Step 1: Generate many ideas (5 minutes)
Once you have an HMW written and your team agrees on it, it’s time to start your 10-Minute Workshop!
Even though everyone will work toward the same goal, everyone will work toward it by themselves. Without discussion, without sharing, and completely anonymously.
Idea Generation is not about good ideas, it’s about having a lot of ideas – Quantity, NOT Quality! It’s important to repeat that to your team.
1. Give each team member a block of sticky notes and a sharpie
2. Tell each member to write as many ideas as they possibly can for the HMW challenge. One idea per Sticky note and with legible handwriting. Tell them that their ideas are going to be completely anonymous – so they shouldn’t feel worried about writing bad ideas. They must write a minimum of 15 ideas, but up to 20 is preferable. That might seem like a lot but remember the motto is “QUANTITY, not quality.”
3. Set the timer to 5 minutes and let everybody write ideas in silence.
4. BONUS Facilitation Tip: When you see any members getting stuck, encourage them to keep on writing, even if their ideas feel fizzy. By virtue, if putting pen to paper good ideas start emerging eventually.
5. Once the 5 minutes are up, tell everyone to stop what they are doing. Let’s imagine we were working on the challenge: “HMW Get people excited about NFTs” for a more visual example of this in action.
Step 2: Curate ideas (1 minute)
Each team member should now have a stack of ideas in front of them. Since we went for quantity over quality, over 50% of these ideas won’t even be usable. The next step will be the first pass at finding the most promising ideas:
1. Ask each member to choose their favourite 10 ideas.
2. Each member should now discard all their non-chosen ideas.
3. Once each member has chosen their 10, they should stick them up on a wall/whiteboard/whatever surface is available.
4. The participants should NOT group or arrange the sticky notes. In fact, mix them up as much as possible. Everyone’s favourite 10 ideas will be mixed together randomly on the same surface.
Step 3: Vote on ideas (3 minutes)
Figure out which ideas the team thinks are the most promising.
1. As the facilitator, remove any duplicated ideas from the surface. No discussion is required, just remove them.
2. Give each team member a strip of 10 voting dots.
3. Silently vote on the ideas they think are the most promising, reminding them of the HMW challenge. Participants can put as many dots as they like on one idea. They can vote on their own ideas. They cannot ask for further explanation of an idea, if it doesn’t make sense – skip it.
4. Participants must use all of their 10 dots in 3 minutes. Go with their gut feeling, rather than scrutinize every idea. Don’t overthink.
Step 4: Arrange ideas (1 minute)
The final part of a 10-Minute Workshop is simply about visualizing the results of the voting.
Reorganize the voted-on ideas on your surface so that the ideas with the most votes are at the top and the ideas with no votes are removed.
What you have are 10 ideas that your team thinks have a good chance of solving the HMW challenge. This cuts your brainstorming time and transforms it into solid ideas with the potential to move forward.
The Art Party idea workshops in 10 minutes
New for 2023! The Art Party is a non-profit collective made up of music artists, visual artists, graphic artists, and other creatives. We incorporated as a nonprofit artist collective in 2019: The Art Party Community Services Society.
Discover how you can gain clarity about any topic or challenge you have with your business with an Idea Workshop in 10 Minutes.
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