Brainwriting - Manual Thinking - Tools for co-creation


Brainwriting is the controlled and efficient version of the more known Brainstorming technique, an associative idea creation method where participants build upon ideas of others. Rather than spoken, the brainwriting technique is practiced through drawing and writing, which brings forth various advantages. First of all, everybody can work simultaneously, whereas brainstorming is limited to those who actually speak up. Secondly, the process is unsusceptible for differences in character, culture or class, which in a brainstorming session tend to provoke an unbalanced participation, for example between boss vs. employee or verbal vs. shy persons. Last of all, this technique makes sure all thoughts and ideas are recorded on paper, whereas in the spoken brainstorming only the ideas the facilitator can keep track of are saved.

The added value of applying this method with Manual Thinking is that the ideas can be comfortably passed along and subsequently organized on multiple maps, the Idea Atlas, resulting in a uniform and legible overview of the ideas of the group.

To put the method into practice, divide your team in groups of 5 or 6 persons. Every participant is asked to draw one idea each on the upper left label of a sheet of 6 large labels. After 2,5 minutes, the participants pass the sheets to their neighbors, all in the same direction. Now the neighbor draws a new idea on the second label, building upon their previous ideas and the ideas they find on the new sheet. The exercise is repeated until all 6 labels are filled.

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