Share, Swap & Select Brainstorm Activity

This energizing activity is useful in a meeting or training where you want participants to have an opportunity to brainstorm or list ideas about a topic and then narrow down the most liked responses.  Some benefits of this activity are that it gets everyone up moving around the room, talking in pairs, learning new ideas and networking in a unique and interesting way.  It works well for introverts and extroverts.

Below are some examples of questions you could us with this activity.  (These are 9 different questions – ONLY use one.)

Team Building Workshop

What is something we can do….

  • To improve how we work as a team?
  • To make our meetings more effective?
  • To connect with our remote team members?

Leadership Training

What is something you do…

  • To ensure a healthy work/life balance for you and your team?
  • To coach and develop your team members?
  • To work through team conflicts?

Strategy Meeting

What is something our team can do…

  • To achieve this objective?
  • To improve our rating in this area?
  • To create partnerships with external stakeholders?

 

Supplies:
  • 4x6 Sticky Notes (1 piece per person)
  • Pens (1 per person)
  • Worksheet (1 per person) See below for an example of how the worksheet should look.
Instructions:

1. Each participant writes down a unique response to the activity question related to the workshop topic (see examples of questions above) on a sticky note.

  • All participants are given a 4x6” sticky note and asked to write a response to the activity question.
  • Provide a few minutes for people to think about and then write ONE specific idea.
  • Tell them to write their name on their sticky note.

2. Attach their sticky note to the back of the worksheet.

  • Give each participant the 8x11 worksheet (see sample worksheet below).
  • Instruct them to post their sticky note on the back of the worksheet (the sticky notes should go on the blank side of the worksheet and not cover the words on the worksheet).

3. Find a partner and share best practices.

  • Everyone stands and finds a partner.
  • In pairs, each person takes a turn sharing their response with their partner.
  • Clarifying questions may be asked.
  • Suggest they only take 1-3 minutes in each pairing, so they will have time to pair up with several other people.
  • After both people have shared their responses, they should switch papers, and write their name beside the options on the 8x11 worksheet that best fits:
    • We/I already do something almost exactly like this – love this idea!
    • This is something we/I might want to try out or explore.
    • Cool idea… but not for me (at least not right now).

4. Find new partners for additional rounds of pairs sharing.

  • Once finished, each person should raise their hand and find another person who is also raising their hand to be their next partner, taking the new worksheet with them.
  • After the first round, each person will be explaining the response of their previous partner. Each new round they will be holding a new worksheet.
  • They should repeat Steps 3 and 4 until time is up.
  • Allow them to rotate until they hear at least 50% of the ideas or about 10-15 minutes.

5. Review and begin converging the ideas.

  • Tell the group to narrow the responses to the top “X”. (This could be the top 3 ideas or the top 5 ideas, depending on how large the group is and what you are going to do with this information.)
  • In a round robin, ask each person to read only the names in the middle row of the worksheet they are holding. (These are the people who selected: This is something we/I might want to try out or explore.)
  • While reading them out, if someone did not hear that idea and wants to explore it, add their name to that worksheet.
  • Once all of the ideas have been reviewed, tally the number of people who are interested in exploring each idea and narrow down to determine the top “X” ideas.

6. Next steps may vary depending on your purpose.

  • If this is a training class, the next step might be to ask individuals to choose one idea that they would like to actionalize after the training.
  • If this is a working meeting, you may need to delineate the ideas and have more conversations to further converge and ultimately determine what you will do with the information.

 

Below is an example of the 8x11 worksheet.  You can modify the words to fit for your purpose/group.

Consider the response attached to this page and write your name in the box that BEST describes your reaction?

 

 

We/I already do something almost exactly like this – love this idea.

 

 

This is something We/I might want to try out or explore.

 

 

Cool idea… but not for me (at least not right now).

 

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