Objectives: For a group to easily brainstorm and explore the various aspects of a particular topic and to identify key areas of consensus and of difference. They do this individually, iterate based on a discussion and then create a whole group weighted response to the subject matter.
Timing: 20-40 mins
Number of people : 5-100
What you need:
A focus subject
A few probing questions, here’s a few to kick you off for your lesson plan:
- What would be the public perception of this subject?
- How would someone from a different culture describe this?
- What specific examples does this subject remind you of?
- What would surprise you about this subject?
- Recommended Map Type: Mind Map
Initial settings: Set maximum ideas from 3-5, disable suggestions, hide GroupMap.
- Individuals capture their own perspective and understanding of a topic which can be shared with others.
- The group has built an overall view of a subject which can be compared to other research, industry findings or actual facts.
- Highly engaged group discussion which drives the consensus building process and sharing of information within teams and with the group at large
Example of questions
- What traits do entrepreneurs possess?
- What specific issues/laws/ideas are present in this particular case?
- What are the morals of this story?
- What meaning do you think this piece of art is trying to convey?
Optional: Do the same exercise before and after a class, presentation or seminar and you can then see what has changed.
Step 1 – Provide the Context
Provide a little background or explain the subject matter you want to group to think about. Are there any constraints or would you like them to go as widely as possible. Providing videos, reading material, images or case examples will usually help with the depth of discussion. Alternatively, you may simply wish to see what the group already understands about the subject matter.
Step 2 – Individual brainwriting
Have each person/team, enter the GroupMap session and without any initial discussion put down 3-5 things(or more if you wish) that they already perceive that they understand about the topic. Studies show that individual brainwriting produces greater diversity and more implementable solutions, so allow 5 minutes or so for this activity.
Step 3 – Team based discussion
Ask people to form teams, if not already and to share their individual responses with each other. People may decide to change their top 3-5 based on those discussions…or not.
Step 4- Group Brainstorming
Setting change: Enable suggestions and increase number of ideas to unlimited.
At this point in time, it may be good to now throw in probing questions based on what has been done to date to challenge thinking and exploring of options.
Ask individuals/teams to now look at suggestions from everyone and to add, reject, move or merge these to their own map. This will essentially create their own final response to the topic.
Step 5 – Team or Group Discussion
Setting change: Unhide GroupMap
Open up the GroupMap to reveal what the entire group thought about the subject. Ask teams and individuals to compare their response to the group and encourage general open discussion from the floor. People may wish to change their responses as they listen and discuss.
Once you feel satisfied that discussion has concluded, you should now have a weighted and overall perspective view of the group on this particular subject matter.
Optional: You may also ask individuals to reflect on why their responses are very similar or very different to the group’s perspective and why that might be the case. Some may wish to share this with the group.
GroupMap is an innovative group response tool that allows individuals to capture, sort and prioritise their own ideas. These ideas are then suggested in turn to others who can add, reject, move or merge these to their views. All individual views are then merged in real time to reveal what the GroupThinks instantly. Information overload and groupthink are managed and the user interface is designed for simplicity. GroupMap is an online brainstorming and consensus building application that has been used by government, universities and corporate to improve productivity, speed of knowledge exchange and enhance collaboration and consensus decision making in their organisations.