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Brainwriting and Golden Silence - techniques to generate ideas and problem solving

This is a culture micro-practices - small, sometimes unconventional ideas to improve company culture, inspire new behaviours and ways of working, and promote psychological safety, collaboration, employee experience, and engagement.

Let's face it, traditional brainstorming sessions can be a snooze-fest. The same people dominating the conversation, power dynamics at play, and ultimately, a lack of diversity in ideas. It's time to shake things up and be more of a cultural square peg.

To overcome these barriers and encourage everyone to speak up, various techniques can be used, such as brainwriting and the "Golden Silence" technique. These methods prioritize inclusivity and independent thinking, helping to ensure that all ideas and opinions are heard and valued.

By incorporating these techniques into your group problem solving and idea generation processes, you can unlock the full potential of your team and drive innovative thinking.

Brainwriting: An Effective Group Idea Generation Method

A visual representation of individual reflection and idea generation process in a brainwriting session

Brainwriting is a group idea generation technique that emphasizes individual and diverse contributions. Unlike traditional brainstorming, brainwriting separates the idea from the person who suggested it, making it more inclusive and effective.

Here's how it works:

  1. Ask each team member to write down their ideas on a sheet of paper.

  2. After a set amount of time, have each person pass their paper to the person next to them.

  3. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all team members have had a chance to contribute to each piece of paper.

  4. Collect the papers and discuss the results as a team.

Golden Silence: Encouraging Independent Thinking and Respectful Discussions

An illustration of the silent reflection period at the start of a meeting

The "Golden Silence" technique is another effective way of fostering open and respectful discussions in a group setting. The goal is to allow participants to form their own opinions and thoughts before hearing from others. Here's how to implement it:

  1. Explain the "Golden Silence" technique to your team.

  2. Start each meeting with a 2-3 minute silent reflection period where attendees think and reflect on the topic to be discussed.

  3. After the silence, start the meeting and encourage open and respectful discussion.

  4. Repeat this process at the start of each meeting to foster independent thinking and open discussions.

Questions that might be on your mind

Q: What is the main difference between brainwriting and brainstorming?

A: The main difference between brainwriting and brainstorming is that in brainwriting, ideas are separated from the person who suggested them, making it a more inclusive and effective way of generating ideas. In brainstorming, ideas are typically discussed and shared aloud, which can lead to dominant personalities dominating the conversation.

Q: Why is the "Golden Silence" technique effective?

A: The "Golden Silence" technique is effective because it allows participants to form their own opinions and thoughts before hearing from others. This fosters independent thinking and encourages open and respectful discussions, where everyone's opinions are valued.

Q: How long should the silent reflection period be in the "Golden Silence" technique?

A: The length of the silent reflection period in the "Golden Silence" technique can vary, but it's typically between 2-3 minutes. The goal is to give each participant enough time to think and reflect on the topic to be discussed.

Give it a whirl. Let me know how it goes by sharing and tagging me on LinkedIn (#micropractice).


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