Strategy – Easy – Exciting – Extreme Ideation

Brainstorming is not the only way to come up with new ideas, especially given that most of us do brainstorming in ways that actually hinder creating better ideas in teams. So here’s one strategy you can use if you want to work with a team or an interdisciplinary group to come up with interesting and extreme ideas – even the unrealistic ideas usually have a kernel of something exciting in them!

  1. Before the session, come up with a question or prompt that you want your participants to focus their ideation on. For example, when I gathered an interdisciplinary group of arts, humanities, and social sciences faculty to think about forming innovative interdisciplinary teaching projects, I used this question: As engaged faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, how might we leverage existing aspects of the CAS curriculum, both formal and informal, to create exciting, innovative, “immersive” interdisciplinary, team-taught learning opportunities  for our students at 8, 12, and 16 sh?
  2. Print this EEE worksheet for as many people as will be joining the session.
  3. At an appropriate time in your meeting or workshop, distribute the handout and give individuals 5 minutes to silently brainstorm and write ideas on their grid.
  4. Ask small groups or tables to share their ideas and continue the ideation. For example, you might
    • Ask each individual to share and have others comment/add ideas.
    • Do a round robin – ask the participants to pass their handout to the person on their write, give that person 3 minutes to add notes/ideas, then pass again to the right for as many times seems realistic and useful. Then have the groups discuss what they came up with.
  5. Ask each group or table to summarize and share their best ideas, and let discussion flow.
  6. Have teams capture their best ideas in writing either via a summary or notations on their actual handout.

Once you’ve got that all collected, you can use the ideas to move forward with your project!

*I can’t remember where I pulled this activity from so if you know the attribution, please let me know!

 

Published by

RPR

I am a faculty teaching and learning specialist in the Center for Teaching and Learning at Georgia Tech and have 17 years of experience teaching professional writing and rhetoric to undergraduates. From a faculty development lens, I care about helping faculty create vital careers through meaningful productivity, powerful teaching, and life-long curiosity. My book, Agile Faculty: Practical Strategies for Managing Research, Service, and Teaching (2017), is available from the University of Chicago Press, and my co-edited collection, Redesigning Liberal Education, will be available from Johns Hopkins University Press July 2020. @RPR_Agile on Twitter

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