A to Z of
Creativity Techniques
Boundary relaxation

This technique (VanGundy, Techniques of Structured Problem Solving, 1988) is a BrainWriting technique and a variant on Pin Cards, but you pass evolving sketches rather than growing written lists of ideas around the group. As usual with most brain-writing techniques, only limited facilitation skill is needed.

  1. A group of 4-8 people sit around a table, or in a circle of chairs. They need to be far enough apart to have some privacy. The problem statement is agreed, and discussed until understood.
  2. Each participant privately draws one or more sketches (each on separate sheets of paper) of how it might be solved, passing each sketch on to the person on their right when it is finished. The facilitator suggests that sketches should not take more than 5 minutes or so to draw.
  3. Participants take the sketches passed on to them and either develop or annotate them, or use them to stimulate new sketches of their own, passing the amended original and/or any new sketches on to their neighbour when ready.
  4. After the process has been running for a suitable period and/or energy is running lower, the sketches are collected in.
  5. It will probably help to display all the sketches and to discuss them in turn for clarification and comment.

Then move on to any appropriate categorisation, evaluation and selection process.