Generating Ideas with the Gallery Method

More than any other situation Change is about cooperation and collaboration. No matter if your company is in serious trouble or just wants to find a new way to line itself up – it always needs people to initiate, moderate, steer, coordinate and live that Change.

So what? The problem is that often people simply don´t know how to cooperate. Of course people cooperate on a daily base, but this is mostly routine, it´s like a form of vegetative state. Change causes different needs and different needs urges people to modify their behavior.

Over years I have collected several “Creativity Techniques” to support Cooperation between people – not only in times of Change. It is always better to be prepared than surprised…

What are Creativity Techniques?
Creativity techniques are heuristic methods to facilitate creativity in a person or a group of people. They are most often used in creative problem solving.

Generally, most creativity techniques use associations between the goal (or the problem), the current state (which may be an imperfect solution to the problem), and some stimulus (possibly selected randomly). There is an analogy between many creativity techniques and methods of evolutionary computation.

In problem-solving contexts, the random word creativity technique is perhaps the simplest such method. A person confronted with a problem is presented with a randomly generated word, in the hopes of a solution arising from any associations between the word and the problem. A random image, sound, or article can be used instead of a random word as a kind of creativity goad or provocation.

Gallery Method
The Gallery method is a mixture of physical and mental activity whilst generating ideas. The participants move past the ideas (as in an art gallery) rather than the ideas moving past the participants (as in the Pin-Card Technique ). The down side of this method, no anonymity is offered for idea generation and there is a risk of competition between participants during the break and view

  • Position flip chart paper round the room, with the problem statement displayed so everyone can see it (groups should be between 5-7 people). The statement should be discussed briefly for clarification.
  • Each group member chooses a sheet and privately writes ideas onto it (they can write directly onto the sheets, or on post-its and stick these on the flip-charts). The writing should be large, clear and concise to enable other to read it easily.
  • When the group appears to be running low on ideas, they should be encouraged to take a break, walk around the room viewing ideas on the other flip charts and making notes. All participants should have the break at the same time, so that certain members of the groups do not feel that others are looking over their shoulder whilst they are still generating ideas.
  • Participants return to their own work areas and continue generating their own ideas or building on the ideas of others.
  • When the group appears to be running low on ideas again, repeat steps 3 and 4 or else close the idea-generating phase.

Ideas are then pooled together, sorted, classified, etc… as you require.


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