How to generate ideas when you work together as a group
09 / 27 / 2019
Creative work is often a solitary process. The image of a designer sitting in front of his/her computer for hours, drawing, trying out new ideas, both moving forward and backward, is very familiar to those working in this field. There are several techniques that help us in this sense, like Sleep Writing, the moodboards and other processes we have already addressed in this journal.
But loneliness is not always a part of the creative process. There are projects in which we need to work collectively and sometimes, choosing the best concepts with so many people involved might prove to be a difficult challenge, both from the point of view of quality and the sensitivities of the participants.
In order to face this challenge, we present the technique 4x4x4. The goal is to generate quality projects, increasing the connection and communication within the group and selecting the best ideas based on quality. First, the activity needs to be performed individually: each participant writes four essential ideas related to the issue or project that needs to be addressed on a piece of paper. Then participants work in pairs and discuss all different concepts until they select the best four projects. Next, they work in groups of four and repeat the action, selection the best four ideas. And so on until the entire group agrees to select the four concepts that define or allow the project to move forward.
In order to make the activity as free-flowing as possible, a coordinator may be chosen, who will mark the changes and act as an arbitrator should any discrepancy arise.
This is a simple but effective technique that enables the group to work as a team and reach a compromise to find the best solution.
What do you prefer, working alone or together as a group?