A simple exercise that complements exploratory, discursive, and creative workshops with insights and opinions from outside. Use this exercise when brainstorming ideas, developing a new product or service or creating a strategy or plan that will include others. Participants phone a co-worker and ask them questions relevant to the task. This quickly generates meaningful input from a range of “outside” perspectives. Often, participants will be surprised at how simple it was to solicit this input and how valuable it is to the process.
To brainstorm ideas, develop new product or service or create a strategy that will include others
Explain to the group (or teams if they have split up to work on projects) that they will have the task to gather insights from people outside the room. These insights will contribute to the current process. Ask each person to think of a friend/ colleague/contact who would likely be free and willing to talk in a few minutes.
This is also a useful tool for people to get immediate feedback from their colleagues. Simply replace the focus questions with feedback prompts.
Choose a “focus question” that will guide the participants in their call. This can be chosen by you or the group and will vary depending on the purpose of the session. Examples of questions are:
If creating a strategy: What’s the biggest challenge in our industry today?
If developing a new product/service: What annoys you about your daily commute? What apps do you use on a daily basis?
If evaluating organisational culture: What’s not working well in our company today? What’s the best thing about working for our company?
Get the participants to phone their contact and ask the focus question/s. Give them a timeframe to work in: 10 minutes is usually enough.
Suggest that they briefly explain the exercise to their contact and that they take notes throughout the call. If their contact is not available, ask them to think of another person to call.
When everyone has finished their calls bring them back as a whole group, or as project teams, to share their insights. If relevant, document the insights as they are shared.
Source: Hyper Island toolbox
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