round-robin-brainstorming

What Is Round-robin Brainstorming? Round-robin Brainstorming In A Nutshell

Round-robin brainstorming is a collective and iterative approach to brainstorming. Brainstorming is an effective way of generating fresh ideas for an organization. Round-robin brainstorming is a balanced approach, employing an iterative, circular process that builds on the previous contribution of each participant. 

Understanding round-robin brainstorming

iI a group situation, brainstorming can be dominated by one or two personalities who discourage others from sharing their opinions.

Round-robin brainstorming is a more balanced approach, employing an iterative, circular process that builds on the previous contribution of each participant. 

The technique makes it more difficult for large personalities to dominate by adding structure and organization to the brainstorming process. This makes it suitable for any situation where a range of personality types need to be considered. Which is to say, most situations.

Implementing a round-robin brainstorming session

Teams should know that implementing a round-robin brainstorming session is rather easy.

Simply follow these steps:

  1. Arrange the team in a circle and give each member an index card so that they can record their ideas.
  2. Then, the facilitator clearly articulates the problem to be solved and details company objectives. At this point, the facilitator can take questions but should actively discourage discussion among group members. 
  3. In the third step, each individual should brainstorm ideas in complete silence.
  4. After brainstorming, each person should pass their idea to the person seated adjacent. 
  5. Team members should then use the idea of their neighbor as the inspiration for a new idea. In some interpretations of round-robin brainstorming, the individual identifies possible risks or obstacles to their idea. The neighbor card initially swapped in the previous step should be handed to the facilitator. Then, everyone passes their new idea to the next person to begin step four again.
  6. The circular swapping process should continue for as long as the facilitator deems it necessary. Ideas should be collated, discussed, and voted on by the group.

Advantages and disadvantages of round-robin brainstorming

Advantages

  • The silent, collaborative, and iterative approach allow all ideas to be given equal consideration and the chance to be improved upon.
  • The ideation process can gain momentum as it moves around the circle, resulting in ideas that may have been overlooked in a traditional brainstorming method. Momentum can also lead to empowered teams that feel confident to act on larger or more creative ideas.

Disadvantages

  • Some argue that a lack of idea anonymity might cause some team members to withhold their ideas. Although there is no requirement to label each idea card with a name, the process does not make it difficult to connect match an idea with a specific individual.
  • Round-robin brainstorming effectiveness can be limited since each team member can only improve on the idea of the person seated next to them. There is no capacity to gather input from every member of the group on a single idea.

Key takeaways:

  • Round-robin brainstorming is a collective and iterative approach to generating creative ideas.
  • Round-robin brainstorming is implemented in six easy steps. Each step should be completed without discussion to give creative ideas equal weight. Discussion should only be encouraged at the sixth and final step when ideas are evaluated.
  • Round-robin brainstorming helps teams build momentum and confidence, leading to creative insights that may not have been apparent in other brainstorming techniques. However, some argue that a relative lack of anonymity might still allow larger personalities to dominate the ideation process.

Other Brainstorming Frameworks

Appreciative Inquiry

appreciative-inquiry
Appreciate Inquiry (AI) is an organizational change methodology that focuses on strengths and not on weaknesses. Appreciate Inquiry was created by management professors David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva in the 1980s. The Appreciate Inquiry is also known as the 5-D Cycle, an iterative cycle describing five distinct phases, made of define, discover, dream, design, and destiny.

Round-robin Brainstorming

round-robin-brainstorming
Round-robin brainstorming is a collective and iterative approach to brainstorming. Brainstorming is an effective way of generating fresh ideas for an organization. Round-robin brainstorming is a balanced approach, employing an iterative, circular process that builds on the previous contribution of each participant.

Constructive Controversy

constructive-controversy
Constructive controversy is a theory arguing that controversial discussions create a good starting point for understanding complex problems. A constructive controversy discussion is performed by following six steps: organize information and derive conclusions; presenting and advocating decisions; being challenged by opposing views; conceptual conflict and uncertainty; epistemic curiosity and perspective-taking; and reconceptualization, synthesis, and integration.

Affinity Grouping

affinity-grouping
Affinity grouping is a collaborative prioritization process where group participants brainstorm ideas and opportunities according to their similarities. Affinity grouping is a broad and versatile process based on simple but highly effective ideas. It helps teams generate and then organize teams according to their similarity or likeness.

The Fishbone Diagram

fishbone-diagram
The Fishbone Diagram is a diagram-based technique used in brainstorming to identify potential causes for a problem, thus it is a visual representation of cause and effect. The problem or effect serves as the head of the fish. Possible causes of the problem are listed on the individual “bones” of the fish. This encourages problem-solving teams to consider a wide range of alternatives.

Rolestorming

rolestorming
Rolestorming as a term was first mentioned by personal development guru Rick Griggs in the 1980s.  Rolestorming is a brainstorming technique where participants pretend they are other people when sharing their thoughts and ideas.

Reverse Brainstorming

reverse-brainstorming
Reverse brainstorming takes advantage of the natural human tendency to more easily see problems than solutions. What’s more, many individuals when placed in a traditional brainstorming environment will find it difficult to become creative on command. Reverse brainstorming is an approach where individuals brainstorm the various ways a plan could fail. 

Lotus Diagram

lotus-diagram
A lotus diagram is a creative tool for ideation and brainstorming. The diagram identifies the key concepts from a broad topic for simple analysis or prioritization.

Futures Wheel

futures-wheel
The futures wheel was invented in 1971 by Jerome C. Glenn while he was studying at the Antioch Graduate School of Education.  The futures wheel is a brainstorming framework for visualizing the future consequences of a particular trend or event.

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