Aim .
To gather ideas and different perspectives on some question or problem.
Group .
Exercise can be easily adapted to different needs of various groups.
Material needed
Envelope for each participant.
Post-it notes and pen for each participant.
10-20 minutes.
DescriptionSome social scientists believe that the more expert you become in your field, the more difficult it is to create innovative ideas. This is because becoming an expert means you tend to specialize your thinking. Specializing is like brushing one tooth. You get to know that one tooth extremely well, but you lose the rest of them in the process. When experts specialize their thinking, they put borders around subjects and search for ideas only within the borders of their expertise. Experts put borders around subjects and events, creating an illusion of right and wrong classifications, where none, in fact, exists. Non experts do not have enough expertise to draw borders. As a result they look for ideas everywhere. This is why excellent ideas are often found by non-experts.

Separate your group in small circles, up to 10 people per circle. Give each participant an envelope and pack of post-it notes. Ask each participant to think individually of one question that is actual and significant at the moment for particular participant – something that is connected with their professional work or learning, for example, “our EVS volunteer wish to organize Latino dance workshops in our town, but attendance is very low, how to promote this activity and reach interested people, if we don’t have a special budget for this?” Tell them to write the question on the envelope. Then ask to pass envelopes around the circle: each participant should write down one idea or suggestion for each question and put it in the respective envelope. At end give them some time to revise received answers and ideas.
Further info/Source

Exercise is based on creative thinking techniques described in book of Michael Michalko “Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques”

The exercise was implemented in the Training Course CREATIVE LEADERSHIP that has been funded with support from the European Commission.
Tool types
Tool topicsOrganisational Management
Personal Development
Project Management

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