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- Arrange the meeting for a group of the right size and makeup (typically 4-8 people)
- Write the initial topic on a flipboard, whiteboard or other system where everyone can see it. The better defined, and more clearly stated the problem, the better the session tends to be.
- Make sure that everyone understands the problem or issue
- Review the ground rules
- Avoid criticising ideas / suspend judgement. All ideas are as valid as each other
- Lots, Lots & Lots - a large number of ideas is the aim, if you limit the number of ideas people will start to judge the ideas and only put in their 'best' or more often than not, the least radical and new.
- Free-wheeling. Don't censor any ideas, keep the meeting flow going.
- Listen to other ideas, and try to piggy back on them to other ideas.
- Avoid any discussion of ideas or questions, as these stop the flow of ideas.
- Have someone facilitating to enforce the rules and write down all the ideas as they occur (the scribe can be a second person)
- Generate ideas - either in an unstructured way (anyone can say an idea at any time) or structure (going round the table, allowing people to pass if they have no new ideas).
- Clarify and conclude the session. Ideas that are identical can be combined, all others should be kept. It is useful to get a consensus of which ideas should be looked at further or what the next action and timescale is.