A Model Of The Creative Problem Solving Process

I’ve built my own model of the Creative Problem Solving (CPS) process created originally by Alex Osborne and Sid Parnes.  A copy of the PowerPoint can be downloaded here: Creative Problem Solving Process by Andrew Zenyuch.ppt

It is based on my interpretation of the basic CPS process and uses the tools I feel would work best in each stage.  It is built in PowerPoint as if I were facilitating you through the process.  I think it might actually work if you wanted to try it on your own, too.  I’m hoping to post each stage as a separate post on here as well.

While putting this process together, I realized some changes I would make to it.  I outlined what my process would look like towards the end of the PowerPoint.  They aren’t radical changes – just changes that I feel would help people get more out of the process and get through the process easier.  I’m hoping to build that out into its own model sometime soon.  When I do, I’ll post it on here as well.

Need A Creative Spark? Use Plinky

Want to write about something, and you just aren’t sure what?  Need a kick in the creative pants?  Give Plinky a try.

Plinky is very simple – sign up, and it asks you a question.  After you answer that question, you can link you answer to your blog, your Facebook or your Twitter just by supplying your account information.

The beauty of Plinky is the type of questions it asks.  When I first signed up, I was asked “If money was no object, what city would you retire to?”  They aren’t your every day, run of the mill questions.  They can be pretty thought provoking.  Monday’s question was: “List five things to do before you die.”

I love this as a creative resource to help you out when either trying to solve a problem or struggling to find something to write.  It is a great resource for creative inspiration.  In a very simple way, it shifts your mind and gets you thinking deeply about something unique and unrelated to your topic.  By taking this small diversion, you can change your perspective on your problem and guide yourself in a new, different direction in how to solve it.

Next time you’re stuck and looking for some inspiration, cruise over to Plinky, answer a question, and see if helps spark you down a path you didn’t consider before.

7 Simple Ways To Spark Your Creative Fire – References

Previously, I wrote about a breakout session I attended at the annual American Creativity Association (ACA) conference I called 7 Simple Ways To Spark Your Creative Fire. It was a really great session – lots of fun, and it gave you very simple tips that worked.

Amantha, who ran the session, was nice enough to send me the references to her presentation.  I’ll break them down tip by tip below along with the quoted text.

  1. Warm Up Your Mind
  2. Warm Colors
    “Two studies investigated the role of specific interior design elements on creativity. In Study 1, a photographic structured Q sort was used to determine where participants would feel most creative and least creative. Content analysis of the photographs by independent raters scaled each setting according to size, shape, light, internal organization of objects, and characteristics of bounding surfaces. Analyses identified 5 environmental characteristics that independently predicted greater perceived creativity: (a) complexity of visual detail, (b) view of natural environment, (c) use of natural materials, (d) with fewer cool colors used, and (e) less use of manufactured or composite surface materials. In Study 2, tests of actual creative performance were administered in 2 different settings. One setting had been rated relatively high in creativity potential, and the other setting was rated relatively low in creativity potential by the original participants in Study 1. Creative performance of an independent sample was greater in the setting that had been rated higher in creativity potential by participants in Study 1.”
  3. Expose Yourself To A Wide Amount of Information –
    “This study examined how affective states and exposure to diverse information influence figural divergent thinking using a pretest-posttest design. A total of 148 participants were divided into 4 conditions: positive affect, negative affect, information, and control. In the positive and negative affect conditions, participants respectively listened to the elation and depression statements of the Velten procedure. In the information condition, participants listened to the neutral statements of the Velten procedure. In the control condition, participants listened to word-processing instructions. Divergent thinking was measured using the figural form of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT), and affect was measured using a mood questionnaire and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Multivariate analyses of covariance were conducted using the TTCT, mood, and state-trait anxiety premeasures as covariates; the TTCT, mood, and state-trait anxiety postmeasures as the dependent variables; and treatment condition as the independent variable. Results showed a significant effect of condition on posttreatment TTCT scores, F(3, 140) = 3.37, p = .0203; mood, F(3, 140) = 7.44, p = .0001; and state anxiety, F(3, 140) = 6.27, p = .0005. Comparison tests showed that the information exposure treatment resulted in significantly higher TTCT scores than the control condition, indicating that exposure to diverse information can enhance divergent thinking. Results further indicated that, although the positive affect manipulation was effective in enhancing mood and reducing state anxiety, it did not enhance divergent thinking scores. The negative affect manipulation did not appear to be effective. Possible explanations for these results are discussed.”
  4. Constraints Provide Direction
  5. Deviant Images Increase Creativity –
    “Three experiments test the existence of an automatic deviancy-creativity link. Using a lexical decision task, in Experiment 1 we found a semantic link between deviancy and creativity words in that decision times for creativity-related words were enhanced after subliminal deviancy priming. In Experiment 2, participants were led to think about either a punk or an engineer and afterwards were administered creative insight and analytical reasoning problems. According to a pretest, punks and engineers were judged as differing in uniqueness but not in creativity. Participants given punk priming solved more creative insight problems and fewer analytical reasoning problems than those given engineer priming. In Experiment 3, participants were incidentally exposed to abstract artworks symbolically expressing either the concept of conformity or deviancy and were subsequently asked to solve a creative generation task. Exposure to the artwork representing deviancy led to generation of more creative solutions than exposure to that representing conformity.”
  6. Imagine You’re On A Date
    “Mental mechanisms that evolved to solve specific adaptive problems are often highly sensitive to ecological cues indicating a particular adaptive problem or opportunity, such as a potential threat or mating opportunity (Cosmides & Tooby, 1992; O¨ hman & Mineka, 2001; Schaller, Faulkner, Park, Neuberg, & Kenrick, 2004; Todd & Gigerenzer, 2000). Moreover, much research has shown that various cues can automatically activate certain goal and need states (Chartrand & Bargh, 1996; Schaller, 2003), and that such states can influence perception and behavior without explicit conscious awareness (Bargh, 1990; Bargh & Chartrand, 1999). Given the central role of reproduction in evolutionary processes, a functional perspective suggests that mating goals are likely to be closely linked to adaptive outcomes (Bugental, 2000; Kenrick, Li, & Butner, 2003). Cues related to mating can serve to both activate a mating goal and its affective responses (Scott, 1980) and trigger specific mating-related cognitive mechanisms (Gutierres, Kenrick, & Partch, 1999; Haselton & Buss, 2000; Kenrick, Sadalla, & Keefe, 1998). Furthermore, mating-related motives appear to facilitate particular perceptions, cognitions, and behaviors associated with reproductive success (Griskevicius, Goldstein, Mortensen, Cialdini, & Kenrick, in press; Maner et al., 2005; Roney, 2003). If displays of creativity have evolved in part because of their benefit
    in courtship, cues designed to activate mating motives may also trigger displays of creativity.”
  7. Squeeze Your Left Hand
    Activating the extension memory enhances creativity.  “In addition, extension memory might be activated after individuals clench the left, rather than right, fist for several seconds. After individuals squeeze their left hand for a minute or so, they can more readily remember which of 27 tasks they previously chose to complete (Baumann, Kuhl, & Kazen, 2005). The left fist, when clenched, might activate brain regions in the right side that underpin extension memory. Extension memory represents the core values of individuals and thus, when activated, improves the capacity of individuals to remember their preferences (Baumann et al., 2005).”

It’s nice to know that these 7 simple tips are grounded in some pretty heavy-duty theory and research. It’s really amazing that something so simple is proven to increase your creativity. I just wish some of these studies we publicly available. I’m working to find ways to incorporate these tips into my everyday life.

Organize Your Inspiration With Evernote

I was in Michael’s the other day helping my girlfriend look for some supplies for her class. While perusing the paints, markers, rubber stamps and poster board, I saw a canvas print that gave me an idea for my personal office (when I get one.) Once I get my personal office, I think it’d be neat to print my logo out of canvas to hang on the wall. I didn’t want to lose this stroke of inspiration, and I didn’t have my handy notepad with me, so what was I to do?

I took out my iPhone, opened my Evernote application, took a picture of the canvas, tagged it as “Personal Office”, wrote a note about printing my logo, and saved it. Just like that, my idea was on my work computer, my home computer, the internet and my phone. I have no chance of losing it now.

I learned about Evernote through Lifehacker. It’s tagline boasts “Remember Everything” and it’s pretty darn close to fulfilling that. With Evernote, you can write in your thoughts, upload pictures and files that inspire ideas, and organize everything into a manageable database.  It also comes with a slick bookmark that is similar to the bookmark you use to weblinks things on Facebook. If you find something you like, you can easily click the “Clip to Evernote” bookmark, and it automatically puts it there.

The beauty of Evernote is that it syncs across multiple venues. There’s a web application, a desktop application and a mobile application.  So no matter where you are, you’ll be able to capture your thoughts and have them end up in every place you need it.  It puts everything at your fingertips in a very organized and accessible way.

I love this as a way to tag and organize your inspiration.    Plus, with the tagging feature, you can organize your posts into specific categories.  Right now, I have tags for “personal office”, “work”, “inspiration and motivation”, and I just started a “website article” tag to post different weblinks and articles that I can write about on here.  And I plan on adding a lot more tags as I turn Evernote into my personal database of ideas and inspiration.  I’m really looking forward to utilizing it.

I especially like the iPhone app for capturing those things that spark an idea while you’re in the go.  With the iPhone app, you can write notes, take pictures, record voice notes, even take pictures of notes and have them translated into text.  Random thoughts and ideas strike me pretty much everywhere – in the car, surfing the web, walking through Michael’s – and this give me a way to make sure I don’t miss a thing.  I still carry my notepad with me, but now I can take a picture of it and upload it to Evernote so all my ideas are in one place.

Now if only they had  a way to catch ideas while in the shower…

“Great Answer, Wrong Question”

The title of this post was also the title of another breakout session I attended at the American Creativity Association (ACA) annual conference last Monday.  It was run by Tim Hurson, founder of the company ThinkX.  I found Tim to be an extremely energetic and passionate speaker who clearly loves what he was teaching.  It really was infectious.

Tim’s session centered around the first step in the Creative Problem Solving (CPS) process – the Objective Finding stage.  Being the first of the 6-step process, this is the step where you define what exactly you’d like to go out and change in your life.  It could be anything – work issue, money issues, health issues.  What you focus on here will provide the context for your thinking later on.

Tim has a really unique way of facilitating this first stage.  He actually combined the first 2 stages of CPS into his first stage.  The second CPS stage is Fact Finding, where you gather all the information you know about your problem to give your mind a full view of it.  There are a lot of benefits to doing this that I’ll talk about later in the post.

To facilitate his session, Tim used a model he calls High Five.  He described it like a hand – each finger represents a different question with the space between the thumb and the index finger representing your vision of the future.  The questions the fingers represented are:

  1. What’s the itch?
  2. What’s the impact?
  3. What’s the information?
  4. Who’s involved?

I’ll what you through step-by-step what was asked and what my thinking was.

  • What’s the itch?
    In this step we needed to sit down and think about what needed changing in our lives.  What kept us up at night?  What made us want to put our heads through a wall?  What made us so frustrated we have to scream.  After a little negotiation between needing more time and my computer running too slow, I decided that my puppy Stewie, a 1-year old half Jack Russel, half Dachshund,  needed to be housetrained.  We’re in the process of housetraining him, but it’s not going so well.
  • What’s the impact?
    How do you feel about this problem?  Why does it need to be solved?  Why is it important?  These are some questions we thought about after we chose which problem we were going to try to make better.  It makes sure you’re tackling a problem that needs to be solved and your not wasting your energy. For this step, I decided that Stewie needs to be housetrained because he’s messing up where I live, which is leading to mounting frustration and many unclean socks.
  • What’s the information?
    This is the step where you gather all the information about your problem and its situation.  It is the Fact Finding stage of the CPS process.  For this, we also used a tool Tim called KnoWonder.  You simply divide your paper into 2 columns.  In the column on the left you write what you know, and in the column on the right you right what you wonder.  Tim said that this tool is extremely powerful in project groups because usually someone in the room knows what other people are wondering.  It goes a long way to level the playing field, and I have to agree with him.  In my experience, teams that are brought together to work on a project usually don’t have the whole picture.  This is a great tool to get everyone on the same page.  I documented all the information I knew about Stewie going to the bathroom in the house, and my wonder was if there was a different way of approaching housetraining him.  I also wondered if I couldn’t make going outside more inviting to him.
  • Who’s involved?
    When creating a solution, you need to take into account everyone that solution will affect.  This step brings everyone to mind before you even create the solution.  That way you can consider everyone’s perspective when ideating for your solution.  The key questions are: who does this affect?  What happens if it doesn’t change?  What happens if this does change?  What would they say?  The main people involved in housetraining Stewie are myself, my girlfriend and Stewie.  Considering my girlfriend gave me a new, different perspective on the problem.  She might not like the amount of time it takes me away from her in order to train Stewie.
  • Vision Using all of our accumulated knowledge, we wrote visions statements for the future.  Our vision statements needed to start with “I wish…”, “It would be great if…”, or “How to…”.  I wrote a few vision statements, and the one I chose to move forward with was this: It would be great if I could find a way to make outside more inviting to Stewie that my girlfriend could help me with.  After that, we again performed a gut-check to make sure our problem was worth solving by writing down what it would be like to get to our vision.  I decided that this is a definitely a problem worth solving.

Before we ran out of time, Tim touched on the next stage in his CPS process: What is success? This is the new, custom step in the CPS process that I talked about above.  In the CPS process, there’s no clear stage that brings out how potential ideas should be judged.  We can’t take an implement every idea, so we need to know which ideas are the ones we should go after.  The best way to do this is to establish criteria to judge ideas against before you begin to ideate.  This way your ideas don’t influence how you judge them.  What I mean by that is – if you have a great idea and really want to go with it, you’ll find a way to make it the type of idea you’re looking for.  Establishing criteria before you ideate doesn’t allow this to happen and ensures that you judge your ideas with your end-goal in mind.  I really like Tim’s thinking on this step.

Tim uses a model called DRIVE – Do, Restrictions, Investments, Values, and Essential Outcomes.  All of these steps help get a sense of what the solutions that are going to get you to your Vision look like.  It does a great job of doing what I described in the last paragraph – bringing ways to judge potentials solutions to the front early and letting them find the solutions that will guide you to your end-goal.

Overall, it was a really great breakout session.  I really liked Tim’s model and way of thinking about the CPS process.  His enthusiasm and love for what he was teaching really made it worthwhile.

Decrease Distraction and Increase Creativity With A Tangent Log

This came up on my RSS reader yesterday:

It’s a tip about keeping a hand-written tangent log of when you feel yourself getting distracted. You write down what was about to take you away from your task so you can keep your focus on your current work.

I love this not only as a way to efficiently manage your time, but as a way to enhance your own creativity. As the article says, you can review your tangents at the end of the day or the week. You can look to see if there are any useful ideas that you can use in your current work. If there aren’t, you can keep the log for a later time when you’re starved for ideas or need to shift your thinking. You tangents can be a source of inspiration for you when you need a jump-start.

I’m going to try keeping a tangent list next week. The next time I’m stuck on a problem or need a fresh idea, I’m going to check out my tangent list and see if anything jumps out at me. If nothing does, I’m going to research one of the tangents for 5 minutes, then come back to my problem and see if I can use anything I just learned to help me solve my problem.

7 Simple Ways To Spark Your Creative Fire

I had the good fortune to attend the first day of the 2009 American Creativity Association (ACA) annual conference.  And good fortune is probably too light of a term – Philadelphia, where the conference was held, was experiencing a Noreaster that threatened to dump between 6 – 9 inches of snow on the city.  Despite Mother Nature’s best efforts to keep me away, I was able to attend with little or no hardship (although, I didn’t get to see a friend or 2 that I was really looking forward to seeing.)

The conference seemed a little down this year.  I attribute this to the economy and the bad weather.  For all I know, attendance could have double the next day when the weather was better.  It was attended by an ample amount of thought leaders and practitioners of creativity.  Unlike CPSI, you got to learn a broad gambit of different techniques and practices.  While CPSI was more immersive and experiential, the ACA conference was more for people familiar or currently practicing creative techniques.

But enough about the overall conference – let’s get to the good stuff.  I attended a breakout session run by Amantha Imber.  She’s the head Inventologist for a company called Inventium.  An Aussie by birth and nature, she was the most engaging and effective speaker I saw during the day.  She was funny, informative and insight.  I seriously didn’t want the session to end.

She taught us 7 science-based tips to enhance your creativity.  These tips are based on neuroscience and psychological research and have been proven to work.  I’m working on getting the references to each tip from Amantha. Once I do, I’ll post them here.  Without further adieu, here they are:

  1. Warm Up Your Mind
    We started off the session with a task: Increase Paris Hilton’s IQ by 100 points… 12pm tomorrow.  Pretty tough, huh?  The group I was working with came up with a few ideas – color her hair, change the way we rate IQ, get her a detox program – in the minute or so we were given.  Amantha called this technique “Fat-Chance”, which is an impossible task set in a very tight timeframe.  It forced us to throw logic out the window and take wild shots at how to do accomplish the task we’ve been assigned.    This got us “out of the box” very quickly.  Anything else we were given to ideate on after that would seem like a piece of cake.
  2. Warm Colors
    Next, we were asked to think about what color our offices were. 80% of us worked in offices with gray or neutral-colored walls.  Which is interesting because research has shown that warmer colors help creativity.  Warm colors, such as yellows, oranges, browns, yellowish greens, and orangish reds make you feel happy.  When you’re happy, your brain releases dopamine – a key ingredient to creativity.  We learned there are simple ways besides repainting to introduce warm colors into your office, like using red folders instead of manila and decorating with posters or artwork with predominately warm colors.
  3. Expose Yourself To A Wide Amount of Information
    Next we were asked whether or not we’ve been to a conference we knew anything about.  While we were confused by this, there was a point.  Exposing yourself to something you have no idea about gives you a larger amount of information to pull from when you’re trying to solve a problem.  It gives your mind a lot of data to compare and look for connections in.  Creativity and humor are related this way – by drawing a connection between two unrelated things. Some examples my group use in their everyday life are: subscribing to multiple news sources, visiting random websites you know nothing about, buying a bunch of magazines you have no interest in, and changing the way you go to work everyday to see some new things.
  4. Constraints Provide Direction
    I’ve written about this one before as well. We remembered back to our first task of improving Paris Hilton’s IQ in less than a day.  We could have just focused on improving her IQ, but that may have taken a little bit to get started.  Our minds really got going when we were told we had to do it in less than 24 hours.   The reason is because constraints provide direction.  It’s tough to ideate when facing a blank slate.  By popping a big, fat constraint in the middle of our problem, our mind was forced to think of creative ways to get around it.  Artificial constraints work just as well as real ones.
  5. Deviant Images Increase Creativity
    No, we’re weren’t shown pictures of devils or ill-behavior.  We were given the task of coming up with a name for a new chocolate bar that has 0 fat.  Then, we divided everyone into 2 groups.  The first group was shown an image on the screen while my group had their backs turned.  Then, we switched and we were shown an image.  After that, we started ideating names for the chocolate bar.  Some of my groups highlights were: Chocolate Minus, Not Really Chocolate, Healthy Chocolate, Guilt-Free and Chocolate Innocence. Each group read out the names they came up with.  Once we were done, we were shown the images each group saw.  The first group saw an image of the letter X in 4 even rows of 3.  My group was shown the same image, except one of the X’s was red instead of all black like the rest of the X’s.  This is because our minds act consistently with the image we’re shown.  The image my group saw was a little more abstract than the first group’s image, and we came up with more abstract names for our chocolate bar than the first group, whose names were a little more functional.
  6. Imagine You’re On A Date
    When we first came into the session, even before the introduction, we were told to close our eyes and imagine we were on a hot date with either Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt.  Then we got started with the session.  We cycled back to this towards the end.  Apparently, imagining you’re on a date helps you be more creative.  It taps into Evolutionary Theory of when you’re on your game trying to attract your best mate.  My group thinks it has something to do with arousal that triggers your creativity.  I’m hoping to get the references to this one to give it a little more clarity, but I can kind of see how this one works.
  7. Squeeze Your Left Hand
    Last, but certainly not hardest, was squeezing your left hand.  We didn’t have to squeeze it for long – maybe 30 second at a time.  This activates your Extension Memory System located in your right brain, which makes you more creative.  Again, I’m working on getting the references to look at these a little more closely.  My group thought that this is why lefties are considered to be more creative.

Overall, these were really good, simple steps that were pretty effective in the short time we used them.  I plan on incorporating some of them into my everyday life.  I’ve already signed up for a few new news feeds, and I’m trying to squeeze my left hand more (which is making typing especially difficult.  This explains any typos you find above, I swear!)

Tips To Enhance Your Creativity

It’s hard to be creative.  It really is.  It’s so easy to get caught in the day to day grind of everyday life that we forget to try to add a little creativity to our lives.  It happens to you; it happens to me; it happens to everyone.  Unfortunately, it’s just the way it is.

I’m a strong believer that everyone can be creative.  Using the Creative Problem Solving process is only one way of doing it.  Not everyone knows it, and not everyone has the time to sit down and run themselves through it when they want to be creative.  And, usually people are knee-deep in the creative problem solving process looking for great ideas to solve their problems and they don’t even know it.

Knowing this, here are some tips I’ve employed in my personal life to encourage inspiration to strike and help me be more creative:

– Were you ever driving somewhere and heard something on radio that caught you attention and sparked an idea, only to forget it when you got home?  To help me out with this, I carry a small notepad in my back pocket where ever I go.  I spend a lot of time in my car, which gives me a good amount of time to think and listen to music and audiobooks while doing so.  The notepad gives me a way to capture those great ideas so I never lose them.  It’s also great for when your out and about and remember something that needs to get done.  If you’re like me, flashes of inspiration strike pretty much whenever they want to.  The notepad gives me a way to collect all of them.

– I brush my teeth with my left-hand.  I am 110% right-handed, yet I use my left hand to brush my teeth.  Why, you ask?  I wanted to change my daily routine.  At the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI), I heard a presentation by Frank Prince called “Be Creative 24/7 – 11 Key Strategies To Boost Creativity”.  I wrote more about this presentation here: Practicing De Bono: A Way To Enhance Lateral Thinking.  In this presentation, Frank talked about synapses – the way parts of the brain are connected.  He said once they’re formed, they stay connected pretty much forever and lie dormant until they’re needed.  Changing your routine is a great way to reactivate these old synapses and get get yourself thinking in a new way.  By straying away from what you’re used to, you’re using those old dormant synapses again.  It knocks us just enough of out of our regular routine that we can look at our everyday lives with new eyes.

– I have lots of posters, pictures, toys, and reminders to be creative around my desk at work.  You can check out what my desk looks like here, but only if you don’t yell at me for the mess:  These things serve as daily reminders to myself to think about things differently and creatively.  I try to look at least one of these things once a day.  Somedays I’ll pick up one of the Transformers (the lower right of my desk), or I’ll look at the painting on water portait I did at CPSI (top left, barely visible).  They’re like little mini excursions for myself while at work.  They help me change the way I’m currently thinking and give me a fresh perspective on my tasks.

– Not only is it a good idea to have daily reminders, but it’s a good idea to move them around as well.  Even the most thought-provoking of posters can become background noise on a desk you see everyday.  Moving these reminders around helps keep our mind on its toes by showing it an arrangement it’s never seen before.  I don’t do this nearly as often as I should, but I try to do it at least once a month.

I hope you find some of the things I do helpful and you’re able to use them in your everyday lives.  Do you have anything you do to keep yourself thinking creatively?  Shoot me an email and let me know.  I’m always looking for new and differeny ways to be creative.  I’d love to hear yours.

Brainwriting In A Bucket – Part Duex

You can download a PDF version of this tool here: Brainwriting In A Bucket – Part Duex

Brainwriting In A Bucket – Part Duex

Divergent Tool for Problem Finding/Idea Finding/Ideation/Brainstorming
Works best in a large group broken into smaller groups to solve the same problem.

After some thought, I decided to update the Brainwriting In A Bucket ideation technique I created.  The original technique still works fine.  The update is includes the entire group to enhance comradery and share ideas across groups.  It works best when a large group is ideating towards one task.  The large group is broken up into several smaller groups.  The modifications are in bold below.

Items Needed

  • 1 Bucket per group
  • Post It Notes
  • Pens/Markers
  • Flip chart


  1. Break larger ground into groups of 4-10.
  2. Write the group’s task or problem at the top of the flip chart.
  3. Quietly begin brainstorming ideas for the group’s task or problem.  Each member of the group should write their ideas down on a Post-It Note.
  4. Once an idea is written down, it should be tossed into the first bucket.
  5. Each person should write down as many ideas as they can onto Post-It Notes and toss them into the bucket.  A good goal is about 10 ideas per person.  It’s okay to come up with less.
  6. Once the first round of ideas is complete or begins to slow down, instruct each group to switch buckets with another group to begin the second round.
  7. Each person should reach into the other team’s bucket full of Post-It Notes and pull one out randomly.
  8. The person reads the idea and builds off of it.  A build could be an addition to the existing idea, an option for the existing idea, or a whole new idea that’s sparked from the first idea.  Write this below the original idea on the Post-It Note.
  9. The person then tosses the idea back into the bucket.
  10. Repeat steps 6-8 until there are all ideas have been built on.
  11. Each Post-It Note should now have 2 ideas on it.
  12. Have each group switch buckets with another group they haven’t switched with already.  Repeat steps 7-8. After this, each Post-It Note should have 3 ideas on it.
  13. Repeat step 12 as necessary.  It is not advised to go beyond 3 ideas per Post-It Note due to legibility issues on the Post-It Notes.
  14. Take the Post-It Notes from the buckets and place them on the flip chart in front of the group.
  15. Have one person read each Post-It Note out loud.
  16. Take any final builds people may have and write them on the Post-It Notes.

Optional Convergence Tool (feel free to use the tool you feel is the most effective)

  1. As a group, cluster similar ideas together.
  2. Vote for the ideas group members want to move forward with.  Each person should get enough votes to vote for 10% of the ideas, e.g. 50 ideas means each person gets 5 votes.
    • Each Post-It Note should be considered an idea.  An idea from within each Post-It Note can be voted on individually if the group agrees to separate that idea from the Post-It Note.  If this happens, write the idea on a separate Post-It Note.
  3. After voting is completed, discuss each idea that received at least 1 vote.
  4. As a group, select 3-5 ideas to move forward with based on the discussion.