James Smart

Brainstorming - Popcorn and Round Robin

by .  Last edit was 27 days ago
10 +2 - 10

Simple, classic brainstorming with two variants. Popcorn - where participants speak out-loud and Round Robin - where participants work in silence and pass their ideas to the next person in turn. 

Goal

Generate ideas quickly and effectively as a team. 

Attachments

Materials

    Instructions

    Popcorn Brainstorming

    A classic brainstorming technique, Popcorn Brainstorming taps into the energy of group idea generation by getting everyone in the room to contribute simultaneously. 

    • Step 1

    Organize your group into a circle and write a problem statement or framing question on the flipchart. This will be the subject of the brainstorm. Give everyone a minute to reflect before you start the next step.

    • Step 2

    Start brainstorming! Invite everyone to contribute ideas out loud. Go quickly, keep ideas moving, and have one person take notes on the flipchart.

    • Step 3

    Stop when no more ideas are coming out or when the group has nothing else to offer. As a team, review the assembled ideas and briefly discuss and debrief. 

    You may want to follow this method with a voting session, where each person votes on the best ideas to move forward with, or move towards idea development.

    Variant - Round Robin Brainstorming

    For groups who may want to brainstorm in a more relaxed and structured manner, the Round Robin brainstorming variant is a great way to generate ideas!

    • Step 1

    Organize your group into a circle and write a problem statement or framing question on the flipchart. This will be the subject of the brainstorm. Hand everyone an index card and set a stack of index cards in the middle of the table. Give everyone a minute to reflect before you start the next step.

    • Step 2

    Start brainstorming! Invite everyone to write ideas relating to the central problem statement or question on their index card. 

    When they've written an idea, they then pass the index card to the next person. Each participant then writes a new idea based on the index card they were passed. Hand the previous index card into the middle of the table and pass the new idea to the next participant. Repeat as necessary!

    • Step 3

    Stop when no more ideas are coming out or when the group has nothing else to offer. As a team, review the assembled ideas and briefly discuss and debrief.

    You may want to follow this method with a voting session, where each person votes on the best ideas to move forward with, or move towards idea development.

    Tips for running this activity online

    • Pick an online whiteboard tool that allows you to use a large, zoomable canvas.
    • Brainstorm in the shared space and simply create as many post-its as possible in the working area.
    • For the Round Robin variant, set up each participant a name tag and working area.
    • Invite participants to write their idea on a post-it and then drag it into the next person's working area. 
    • When facilitating group discussion, we’d recommend that participants use non-verbal means to indicate they’d like to speak. You can use tools like Zoom’s nonverbal feedback tools, a reaction emoji, or just have people put their hands up.The facilitator can then invite that person to talk. 



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