Facilitating ideation sessions – a short overview

On Tuesday I was facilitating a workshop at TANZICT Innovation Space for a group of young people & Nathaniel Monroe from Morogoro. We were focusing on learning by doing – so at the same time learning about facilitation methods and creating new business ideas.

Facilitation can be used for creating ideas, developing them further, selecting, decision making and agreeing about the next steps. Intention is to invite ideas from all participants and to create a setting where all feel comfortable to work, share and learn together.

At the beginning the principles for the workshop were introduced

  • all ideas are welcome  … even wild and crazy
  • active participation … makes things happen
  • share & build on others’ ideas …  yes, and … give positive feedback
  • fun and creativity …   encourages others to share
  • use clear hand writing & pictures  … to make sharing and giving comments easier

The facilitation methods we used during the day were

  • Me, We & Us  – for ideation, each participant first was invited to come up with two business ideas,
  • Group Mind Map – for introducing ideas, caterogization and prioritization –
  • applied World Cafe – for developing ideas further in teams
  • and “Talking Stick” – ceremony for collecting comments and feedback for the day

Me, We & Us – method helps to get all participants’ views to be heard. In the “Me-part”  at first everybody writes and/or draws their own ideas on a piece of paper, (for 5 – 15 minutes).  In the “We-part”  these ideas are introduced to your own group (4-6 people) around the table and people give positive, encouraging and constructive feedback on each other’s ideas. In the “Us-part” all ideas are shared with the whole group.

For sharing the all ideas we used “Group Mind Map”  –  where all ideas were categorized in themes – this time there were business ideas for web-based services, entertainment, farming and use of materials.  We created four groups to develop the ideas further, with applied World Cafe method.  Four groups gathered around the tables, with large papers as a table cloth, and started to develop ideas further focusing on describing business ideas in more detail, thinking about who are the customers, what resources and investments would be needed etc. After working for a while – people were encouraged to visit other tables to scout for interesting information, that could be added to their own work to develop it further.  When groups had finished working we had a “business idea exhibition” with large papers and short presentations.  And a template for an action plan and next steps were introduced. A common agreement about what will happen next, who is responsible and by what time exactly  (1 day, 1 week, 1 month…)  is really important at the end of the workshop.

We ended the session with “Talking Stick” – ceremony, where all participants, one after another, hold “a stick” in their hand – in our session we used a soda bottle  😉 and share their own comments and feedback of the day again inviting all to rise their voice.

It was a great pleasure to work with the Morogoro group – thank you for your active participation!  Looking forward to see your activities and business ideas flourish in the future.

– Minna Takala
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me via Twitter @MinLii , or e-mail  minliitakala (at) gmail dot com.

More information about facilitation and different facilitation methods can be found from Grape People website: http://www.grapepeople.org/international/what_facilitation/.

There are also several other methods that can be used for creating and enriching ideas – for example
–  The Six Thinking Hat from Edward deBono:
–  GPS for Enterprises site introduces also various methods for ideation:

Here are all the photos from the day, share and reuse under Creative Commons 2.0-Attribution-ShareALike license:


2 thoughts on “Facilitating ideation sessions – a short overview

  1. it was great to have meet and discuss all that with good teachers who also facilitated us on wha we had in our minds. thanks!

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