Books, Meeting Facilitation

6-3-5 brainwriting, 2020 Vision & NUF Test

In the last weeks I facilitated three sessions for our Sales Team in which I mixed up or combined different creative methods: 6-3-5 brainwriting, 2020 Vision and NUF Test. The goal was to create different ranked lists with answers to the question “How can we increase our total revenue?”

6-3-5 brainwriting
6-3-5 brainwriting, 2020 Vision, NUF TestThe 6-3-5 brainwriting was the first session and created 162 ideas from 9 different persons within 45 minutes. (Read my post on how to use 6-3-5 brainwriting here ») A Sales colleague and myself clustered the ideas afterwards and we could start the following session with 17 topics that directly resulted out of the clustering of the 6-3-5 brainwriting.

2020 Vision & NUF Test
The second session lasted 90 minutes (with a 5 minutes break). I started with introducing the cluster generated topics. After that we discussed and noted the benefits for each topic. This very straight forward excercise is necessary to shed a light on all topics, so that everyone gets about the same idea what is understood by the topic. I left out the ranking part of the 2020 vision and continued with the NUF Test.

The NUF Test “tests” each topic on three different criteria. We chose “new” (Is it a new idea?), “useful” (Would it really help to increase our total revenue?) and “feasible” (Can it be realized or is it utopia?) as the criteria, but you could as well adapt the criteria to your needs. The group rates each topic on a scale from 1 to 10 (with 1 being poor and 10 being top) for each criterion.

To get a quick agreement of the group for the individual scores we used a normal deck of cards (with Ace (=1) to 10) : Like in Agile Planning Poker everyone put the card with his score upside down on the table. After everyone had put down their card, everyone turns the card and checks with the group members. After a bumpy start with the first ratings we gained speed and quickly rated all topics. (And it was fun! :))
As a result you already have a nicely ranked list of your ideas by simply adding up all scores for each topic.
But we wanted to take it one step further and met for a third session….

(2020 Vision and NUF Test are best described in the book Gamestroming from D. Gray, S. Brown and J. Macanufo. If you don’t have it, BUY IT!)

NUF Test and Ranking

As an additional criterion we added “estimated earnings” to our list of 17 topics. This turned out to be difficult for some of the group because it is hard to give an estimating for a topic you are not really familiar with. (But it’s “only” an estimate, isn’t it?) This time, we used post-its to write down the estimates individually and then adjusted the estimate with the group.
Finally we split all topics in two categories (Can we realize the topic predominantly by ourselves? OR Is there predominantly an external dependency to realize it?) and finished the session after 50 minutes.

After the three session we had four ranked lists:
– all topics ranked by NUF
– all topics ranked by “Est. Earnings”
– topics that can be realized by ourselves ranked by NUF and “Est. Earnings”
– topics that can be realized only with external dependency ranked by NUF and “Est. Earnings”

What do you think?
Does it sound like combining too many methods or like worth giving it a try?

Meeting Facilitation

108 Ideas in 30 Minutes

6-3-5 Brainwriting is a Brainstorming method that generates 108 different ideas or views for any topic within 30 minutes.

This is how 6-3-5 works:

1) Choose your brainstorming topic/question

2) Prepare the sheets with the topic/question and a table of 6 rows and 3 columns (see image below)

3) Make a short introduction/warm-up with the team to introduce he topic/question

4) Hand out the sheets, then explain to the team what to do:

  • Think of 3 ideas that are coming to your mind when thinking about the topic/question.
  • Write each idea in one of the three table cells of the first row.
  • The time-box is 5 minutes .
  • As this is a brainstorming there are no wrong ideas, answers or views: think of anything and don’t let yourself be restricted by any current limiting factors.

5) After the first 5 minutes explain to the team what to do:

  • Please pass your ideas to the left person next to you.
  • Please read the 3 ideas on the sheet that was handed to you.
  • You can now either refine those ideas or write new ideas in the next row, again limit yourself to 3 ideas.
  • Single rule: It is not allowed to repeat ideas that you have already added or that are already on the sheet.

6) Repeat 5) until all six rows are filled in.

6-3-5 Brainwriting

7) To weight the ideas the team should now dot all ideas:
Every team member gets 3 dots for every sheet (for instance: 6 sheets = 18 dots) and can place the dots near the idea they think are the best. Rule: Stick max. 3 dots per sheet. You can either do this by pinning all sheets against a wall or passing the sheets around (with a 1 minute time-box per sheet).

As a result you will have 108 (6 rows x 3 ideas x 6 sheets) ideas that have already been weighted by the team. Of course, there will be duplicate ideas, but only some. With a team of six this will only take approx. 45 minutes (generating ideas PLUS weighting). The gathered data could then be clustered in a next meeting…

6-3-5 Brainwriting is great because:

  • you get a lot of different ideas within a short period of time
  • by writing: everyone’s ideas are “heard” (not only the ideas of the “loudest”)
  • by reading: everyone’s ideas are exchanged and maybe even refined
  • by weighting you normally get a tendency what to do next with the gathered data

Last week I tried 6-3-5 even in a beer garden and even there it worked perfectly!