The 7 Ways Idea Generation Form is a brainstorming tool that is used to encourage people to stretch their creativity. It is frequently used in 3P events, but is also useful in any problem solving activities that would benefit from solutions that go beyond the ordinary.
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The basic premise is that this form is used when you need to push people beyond their comfort zone. Most people can quickly come up with two or three ideas on how to attack a problem. The next few ideas tend to be a bit more challenging for them. If, however, you ask even more of them, you are often rewarded with some exceptionally unique ideas.
Use sketches whenever possible.
Everybody must come up with seven ideas.
Work independently when initially filling out the form.
Feel free to come up with more than seven ideas.
Don’t stray too far off base. The project leader should be specific about the focus of the ideas.
Your team will very likely resist using images. Most people are self-conscious about their drawing ability. Be persistent.
Be clear about what ideas you are looking for. Set clear parameters so people stay focused on the topic at hand.
Make people work independently the first time they are attempting to come up with ideas. When people work in teams, there’s often some degree of social loafing. One person nearly always comes up with the lion’s share of ideas. The purpose of this form is to come up with an extremely high quantity of options.
Sorting the Ideas
Have each person cut their form up along the dotted lines to separate out the ideas.
Select one person to begin presenting ideas.
Don’t assess ideas at this time. The point is just to come up with as many as possible. Even outrageous ideas can sometimes add to a viable one.
As the first person presents an idea, put it up on the wall to begin creating an affinity diagram.
If any other person has a similar idea, he or she should blurt it out and add it to the wall.
The first person continues presenting all seven ideas in this manner.