Posted on December 9, 2014 at 14:00
For each of these you will need a facilitator to set things in motion, preferable one with a bit of experience in the subject as this will create a sense of comfort for the rest of the participants.
Take an object - for example s potted plant. For the first round send it around and ask people to say what they think of it. Do not judge your own ideas before you say them, this is a practise in saying the first thing that comes to mind. When the round is over the facilitator should ask if anyone did not say the very first thing that came to mind and why, in order to point out that you should not judge your ideas because they are never wrong. The second round you should ask people to pay attention to the association the person before them said and build on this. This makes participants unable to prepare beforehand, pushes them a bit bound their comfort zone maybe and this round will probably be slower. Remember to point out that it is natural to be slow when you are not trained. This is important because it teaching you a valuable lesson about idea generation - build on others ideas! For the final round take a new object and do the same as the last round, associations in relation to both the object and the new word is very welcome, this is where the magic happens and new ideas arise. A good tip to really break the ice is to say a wacky association if you are the facilitator, this will help making it more okay for others to not limit their own ideas by self-judging.
This last one is a silly one, but trust me it really work. In idea generation, especially if it is new to people, it can be a tense experience and people try to concentrate to hard. This exercise helps breaking the ice and building an atmosphere where nothing you say is wrong. Start whispering "Go B-a-n-a-n-a-s” and tend up yelling it. It is sure to make you end up feeling less tense. If you have a team name or something else significant for you to yell, the word can of course be replaced.