IAF Methods


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This process can be used in a variety of occasions, e.g. when working individually, in meetings, at workshops or even for large conferences.
It is used whenever a visual way of working is useful or needed.
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The intent of this method is to create an open and informal atmosphere in which all participants can speak their mind.


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  • There are no additional resources needed.



Setting: Materials needed are large sheets of paper (at least 80 x 125 cm), post-its or cards (9,9x21cm) and markers in different colours and sizes as well as tape to stick the sheets to the wall or a pinboard.

Number of participants: 11-25, The recommended size of the group is up to 12 persons, however larger groups can be split up in subgroups.

Types of participants: Any types of participants can be involved in this process.

Time needed: One session is estimated to take between 30 to 45 minutes, however in many cases a cycle of 3 to 5 sessions is required to fully explore and discuss the chosen topic or question.

Ideal conditions: The setting should be a nice environment in which people feel comfortable and are able to move around a bit.

Pre-Work Required: The facilitator should make a list of his priorities and themes as well as a time schedule.

Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: A special Facilitator-Client Relationship is not neccesary as the group only needs to be instructed and supervised.

Facilitator personality fit: The facilitator needs to organize the process and has to moderate discussions.


1. The facilitator starts by writing a question or topic on top of a large sheet of paper. He/she should make sure that the participants understand the question or issue.

2.For about 10 minutes the participants should now write their ideas, comments and remarks on post-it's or little cards.
The post it's can be stuck to a wall in order to stimulate others with their ideas. They should use  roughly half sentences'(headword with verb) instead of keywords.

3. Now the ideas are read out. The participant can help by clustering together. The facilitator can then open the discussion by posing a new question or evaluation. In this discussion the ˜30 second rule" applies in order to prevent monologues.

case of a need for more information, the facilitator should allow an informative contribution. However, this should not take longer than five minutes and has to be visualised in key words.

5. The results can be evaluated by letting the participants score on scales, categories, prioritites. etc. which solution they found best.

During longer sessions participants should be able to indicate their mood on a mood chart so as to get an impression about their expectations, feelings, and progress. This helps the facilitator judge when to take a break for fresh air.


Follow-Up Required: There is no follow-up required.

Usual or Expected Outcomes: The outcome to be expected is a solution to the problem, question or topic stated.

How success is evaluated: The process is successful when one or more solution(s) is found for the problem/question stated.


Source: Patrick Boel - May, 2006

Alternative names: Visible Brainstorming

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