In another type of brainstorming session involving dozens of people, we break the group up and distribute index cards to each subgroup. Each of the smaller groups is assigned to generate ideas in answer to the question or problem. Afterward, the index cards containing the ideas are collected. They are then shuffled and handed out to the subgroups again, completely mixed up.
In the second phase of the exercise, each subgroup is asked to take the ideas on the cards that they have received and evaluate them, rating them in terms of their value prior to reporting back to the overall group.
In a session with 20 or 30 people, two or three hundred ideas will be generated in 30 minutes. When those ideas are gathered, distributed, evaluated, and reported back to the overall group, the results are absolutely astonishing! I have worked with companies that have come up with so many solutions to problems that had been stumping them that they did not have enough hours in the day, or enough people, to take action on more than a small number of them.
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