Spitwad Brainstorm – Facilitator Guide

empty bin with paper balls arround

Spitwads is a general-purpose brainstorming workshop designed to elicit ideas, achieve group consensus and identify follow-up action items.

– from sourcemaking.com – The guys from the 56 Geeks Project

Start with a question

Pose a question to the group, like “How can we improve performance of X?” or “What is the most important thing we are missing in our process?” The question should be thought provoking and open ended.

Submit your ideas

Write the question on a whiteboard or flip chart for reference. Ask the group whether there are any suggested changes to the question before the brainstorming starts.

Have the participants write responses on post-it notes. The post-it notes should be the same color and size. Write separate ideas on individual post-it notes. Summarize ideas in few words or less.

Let it go

Have participants wad up each post-it idea toss it across the room into a receptacle, cardboard box or a basket. Think basketball – have fun with 
this exercise.

Shake of the spitwads and randomly distribute back to participants,

Starting on one side of the room, have each participant read their spitwad one at a time, write and number each on the whiteboard or flipchart.

Review

Review each idea. Ensure there is a common understanding of each. Encourage participants to offer definitions for those ideas that are less clear. Update the idea on the board. If there is any objection to changes do not update the idea. If an idea cannot be defined – remove it.

Identify any duplicate ideas and combine if possible. Make sure everyone agrees before combining otherwise keep the ideas separate.

Confirm the ideas are sufficiently unique and understood.

Vote

Using separate post-it notes have participants write 3 X’s on one note, 2 x’s on a second note and 1 x on a third. Have participants score their favorite ideas by placing their 3X note on their favorite idea, then place their a 2X note on the second favorite idea and their 1X note on their third favorite idea (no discussion).

Tally the votes (X’s) and rewrite (number) the top 5 ideas in priority order starting with the idea that received the most X’

Now do something

Review each idea and capture possible action items or tactics for each. Be sure to assign each tactic to an owner before ending the session.