People will see the power of brainstorming.
- A big paperclip, whiteboard or flipchart, paper and pens for participants
Types of participants: helpful for all levels and types
Start by showing the group a large paperclip.
Ask the persons to write down within 5 minutes ( or 3 or 2) as many as possible uses for a paperclip.
After the two minutes ask the group which person has the most uses on their paper. Write down the number of possible uses the the person with the longest list has mentioned.
After that ask the first person of the group to mention their first use. Ask the rest of the group to delete the item ( if it is the same ) on their paper. Ask the second, and so on. Beware, everybody has to mention one item at the time,
The facilitator writes down every possible use mentioned, without discussion. When all possible uses are mentioned the facilitator counts all the items which are written down on the whiteboard.
Note to the group that there are many more items on the whiteboard than the person with the longest individual list had.
After that you will always get remarks about the issues. People will say that use 1 looks a lot like use 20, for example. This is a good bridge: you can say that we should not start a brainstorm with pre-discrimination or clustering but that the clustering should start afterward the brainstorm.
After that and with this exercise in mind, participants will be better able to do a brainstorm about any issue you need a brainstorm for, because it is proven that brainstorming can work.
How success is evaluated: by showing on the whiteboard that the group has a larger number of the number of possible uses of a paperclip than any one person can think of.
Follow-Up Required: Follow with a brainstorm on a topic that is real for the group to build on the learning.
Source: Jan Visser
Alternative names: Brainstorm start up