Friday, November 1, 2013

The Best Way to Solicit and Evaluate Great Ideas

Some ideas are better left alone.

Have you ever noticed that when new ideas are solicited from a team, they are often proposed by the same people? This doesn’t mean that there aren’t excellent ideas lurking in the minds of the quieter team members. It can simply mean that the louder more extroverted members fill the void of silence and the more introverted and quiet folks stop trying to be heard.

Instructional design training experts have devised a very effective way to neutralize overly talkative and dominant personalities during a brainstorming session…and it’s simple.
  1. Distribute index cards to all team members with a request to put forth as many ideas as they like…but keep them one to a card and short. (Hint: using big felt pens forces people to write less words.)
  2. Gather up the cards and post them on the wall for all to see with no authors identified and begin to group like cards together.  The point is to evaluate the ideas on their own merit not by who proposed them and allow everyone to have a voice.
  3. Once cards are consolidated into categories, ask the individuals to vote for their favorite ideas by placing 3 votes next to their top choice, 2 votes next to their second choice and 1 vote next to their third choice. 
  4. Then you can tally up the winners with the most points and review and discuss them as a group. The introverts (who often happen to come up with some of the best ideas) should feel part of the process and be able to contribute while allowing the extroverts to do their thing.

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