The exercise can be used by large groups to brainstorm on shared initiatives at the beginning of a project. It generates a large number of ideas while giving every participant an opportunity to speak up. The output is a structured collection of ideas grouped according to three different timeframes: "Now" - what we can achieve here and now with limited resources, "Wow" - our wildest ideas about what we could achieve together. "Future" - what we could realistically achieve if we had the necessary resources. In conclusion, the participants opt for a collection of ideas and outline a basic concept.
1. Hang three posters on the wall marked, respectively, ‘Now’, ‘Wow!’, and "Future". Hand each participant a number of Post-it notes and a felt-tip pen.
2. Begin the exercise with five minutes of silent brainstorming (no talking among the participants), where everyone writes down all the ideas he or she can come up with.
3. The participants then take turns to post their notes on the relevant posters and offer a brief outline of each idea.
4. When everyone has posted their notes, ask the group to work together to create ‘idea clusters’ by grouping similar or related ideas together.
5. Next, the group splits up into sub-groups, and each sub-group takes an idea (or an idea cluster) over to a worktable. Here, they fill out a concept poster with more detailed information about how the idea is to be realised, who should be involved, and how it might be funded.
6. Conclude the exercise by having each sub-group present the results of their work to the whole group.
Exercise posters [download and print below]