The facilitators will choose appropriate techniques as the Workshop develops, spending more time on some and less on others in order to vary the pace, make sure that participants remain energised and involved, and to continue to generate new ideas. Some of the most widely used techniques include:
Reversals: Write down the opposite of the problem (e.g. instead of ‘How can we improve our work/life balance?’ ask ‘What would make our work/life balance worse?’). Write ideas on flipchart. Then look for solutions to problems raised.
The Ideal Employer/Company/Product: Imagine the ‘ideal’ – for example, that you are working for an ideal employer, in an ideal company, or on producing the ideal product. What would the ideal employer/company offer?
Fast Forward: Imagine it is 12 months from now and you/your company are receiving an award for (adapt as appropriate to the problem). What did you do to win this award?
Superhero: Choose a ‘superhero’. This can be anyone, fictional or real. Write down the characteristics and attributes associated with that individual. Choose one of the words and use it to help generate more ideas. Now imagine you are the character. What would this character do to solve the problem?
Random:Choose a completely random word to start thinking in a new direction. For example, pick a word randomly from a book, or look out of the window and say aloud the first thing you see. Write down more words you associate with the first word. Use one of these to think in new directions.
Word association: A variation on ‘Random’: make a list of words that are linked to the problem itself. Use one of these words.
Inspiration from . . .: Take inspiration from something that is completely removed from the problem, for example: nature; theatre; shopping; medicine; law; different industries, cultures, countries.
Step in someone’s shoes: Consider the problem from different points of view: your biggest customer; your main supplier; your main competitor; the CEO. Or from the point of view of: a child; a retired person; a nurse; an astronaut; a mechanic; a scientist . . .
5 Ws and an H: Ask about your problem: Who? What? Where? Why? When? How?
A – Z: List 26 words related to the problem, one for each letter of the alphabet. Choose one to work with.