Think-Write-Share (T-W-S) is designed to provide users a structured approach to critically think through any question and serves as a starting point for hearing all voices in any discussion. This tool is very effective for enabling critical and creative thinking.
When to Use
Groups can employ T-W-S before the employment of any ACT and GTM tools. This sequence provides any participant in a group discussion or meeting the time needed to independently develop and refine original ideas before presenting them for consideration by the group.
Think-Write-Share is designed to mitigate fast thinking, grandstanding, thinking aloud, spring-butts/spot-light rangers, and the highest paid person’s opinion (HIPPO). It supports reflection, increases reasoning, increases understanding, and creates new ideas. The tool allows time to create space between a question being asked, and the time an individual needs to think about them. Too often when collaborating with others, groups are challenged with dynamics that stifle the emergence of valuable ideas. Introverts usually develop better thoughts on their own, while extroverts synthesize the dialogue from others to create their improved ideas. T-W-S is the tool often used to foster critical and creative thinking for all group activities, no matter the size.
Facilitator: Identify a priming question for the participants to answer. Consider using 6 Words to get the participants to think at the core of their ideas.
Self: THINK about the question. This engages individual thinking. WRITE down as many ideas as you can. Do not self-censor. Continue to write and revise to develop and refine your ideas. Transferring thoughts by writing them down forces the mind to engage in slow thinking and reflection of your thoughts.
Group: Identify a GTM tool for the group to share each other’s ideas in a methodical manner. SHARE your ideas in a pair or within a small group.
1. Before utilizing the tool, the facilitator is responsible for developing a priming question for the group to answer. The question needs to target key concepts of what the group is focusing on – demonstrating understanding, solving problems, building knowledge, examining information, or making recommendations.
2. STATE: Clearly state the question - “What are the key issues or challenges within your organization?” Provide a specific amount of time to the group - “THINK for 5 minutes…”
3. ELABORATE: “Keep an open mind and withhold judgment. WRITE down your ideas.”
4. SELECT: Facilitator should select the appropriate GTM tool (Circle of Voices, 1-2-4-Whole Group, Circular Response, etc.) that supports the outcome they are trying to create. “We will SHARE our ideas with a Circle of Voices.”
5. VARIATION: Facilitator can interchange Think-Write-Share with Think-Draw-Share. If you are trying to get participants to visualize the desired end state or complex ideas, drawing a diagram, model, or illustration can clarify ideas the participants are not able to express in words.
The tool was adobted by Steve Rotkoff and modified by Tom Switajewski and William Rasgorshek. The tool brings to light the theory of "WHY" you should start any meeting or activity with a Think-Write-Share. William Rasgorshek brought in Think-Draw-Share as a means to allow visual thinkers to express their thinking differently. Always utilize another tool or liberating structure when you want to SHARE with others.