IAF Methods Database Newsletter

Dear colleagues,
Welcome to the May IAF-Methods Database Newsletter! This month’s method is a warm-up for a creative thinking session. I’ve given it flexible times as you may wish to do it with only 10 minutes of teamwork or expand to as long as 40 minutes of teamwork, depending on how long your session is. I hope it’s helpful (and fun) for your participants!

Method of the Month
Instant Service Development

To warm up a group’s creative thinking abilities.

1. Divide your group into teams of 3 – 5 people.

2. Ask each individual to write two random common nouns each on a post-it. Remind them perhaps that a noun is a person, place, animal, concept or thing. Ask them not to use proper nouns like Casablanca, Pepsi or Jackie Chan. Common nouns are words like: goldfish, cellulite, wisdom, propeller, meadow, communication, fisherman, etc.

3. Have the participants stick all of those post-its onto the wall, a whiteboard or a flipchart.

4. Ask each team to send forward one member. The member stands with his or her back to the post-it display and selects three words.

5. Assign the teams to take 10 to 40 minutes (depending on how much time you have) to devise a new service which employs all three of the words they have chosen. They should give their service a name, and then, according to the time you have available and the sort of group before you, have them design a sales poster, and / or a list of the new service’s benefits, and / or a sales presentation, and / or a target market, and / or an outline of a business plan.

6. Debriefing:
a. Teams each present their services.
b. What did your team do to make decisions?
c. What was difficult for you in this assignment?
d. What was easy?
e. What sort of thinking is going on here?
f. What tips do you take away from this exercise for our creative thinking today?

Last month’s Poll raised the question, What evaluation process do you typically use for your sessions?
It was interesting to me to note that respondents systematically evaluate sessions, but do not make note of their own evaluations of the sessions, only those of the participants and workshop sponsors. The responses were:

I ask participants what they found helpful and what they would like to improve in the future.
I survey the participants as shown above and also answer those questions myself.
I survey the participants as shown above and also ask the workshop sponsor those questions.
I use evaluation questions or forms provided by the client.
I do not ordinarily evaluate workshop sessions.

If you have a suggestion for a poll please contact us!