Diversity of thought is critical to unleashing creativity in groups. But far too often, when groups get together, there is a lot of talk, but not enough progress. Consequently, there’s a lot of waste; outcomes aren’t achieved and people leave frustrated.
So, how do you facilitate constructive co-creation in groups?
It is a part SCIENCE and part ART – there is however a system, as outlined in these 6 stages below:
This is about establishing the appropriate context – specifically, everyone needs to be clear and united on the answers to the following 3 questions:
- What is the purpose of the discussion?
- Why is it important?
- What do we want to achieve by the end of it?
The next essential stage is to capture everyone’s ideas on a whiteboard/flip chart – this is essential for several reasons…so:
- everyone feels heard
- everyone has a sense of what is important to everyone else
- all the initial ideas are out on the table
- patterns and themes start to emerge
The key is to not get into any clarification, discussion or critique at this stage. But instead to focus purely on capturing what’s on everyone’s mind about the topic in question.
Sometimes words and statements are insufficient to fully comprehend the meaning behind them. So in this stage, you want to create some time to enable anyone to seek further clarity on the “meaning” behind anything that’s been captured so far e.g. “I don’t understand what do you mean by x? Can you please clarify?”
This stage is NOT about critiquing the merit of any idea, but rather to ensure a clear understanding of the ideas captured so far.
This is the stage where the discussion starts – specifically, you draw out everyone’s view on what’s been captured, including:
- What resonates. What you like/love. What is connecting. And also the reasons why.
- What doesn’t resonate. What you don’t like. What doesn’t connect. And also the reasons why.
This is the creative stage. This is where it becomes more of an art than a science. In this stage, the conversation is less structured than the previous stages and is more free flowing. It is in this stage that:
- different ideas get combined to create something new (1+1 = 5 or 50 or 500)
- solutions are proposed for consideration e.g. What about x? What if we had this? Here’s something I’d like us to consider etc
- there is frequent CALIBRATION of progress e.g. Are we making progress? Are we getting closer? What’s the gap? What should be our next step? etc
In this final stage, you want to check for the level of alignment/closure on what’s been co-created. To do this, ask each person a question such as: “On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being ‘not at all’ and 10 being ‘completely’), how comfortable/on board are you with what we’ve created/decided/agreed etc?”
Would love to hear your thoughts on what has worked for you.