Writing to remember.

Addressing organizational challenges with a lot of stakeholders in one workshop often leads to more understanding and co-created solutions.

But it also means more opinions, comments and egos.

Running a brainstorming or feedback session with 20 or 30 people can create as many problems as good discussions.

Our answer is Post-it notes.

Post-its (2)

Large workshops are helpful for:

  • organizations such as museums or universities
  • diverse customer groups — employees, customers, stakeholders, etc.
  • ensuring that customer groups understand one another
  • gathering a lot of feedback in a short time

Large workshops can be challenging because they:

  • are not common for most clients
  • can be intimidating for individuals
  • create a lot of conversation
  • can be sidetracked by a personal opinion

Techniques such as session transcriptions, paper questionnaires or easel pads are good, but each come with drawbacks.

Two things are happening within the attendee mind during these sessions: 1. they want to get their idea noticed and 2. they have a hard time thinking of anything else until they do.

Which is why after a lot of trial and error, we use Post-it notes.


And a lot of Sharpies. And some really big butcher paper. And tape. And bigger Post-it notes. And more tape.

It seems simple, but the results are real.

Getting ideas out of people, onto a wall and in plain site helps attendees see their idea has been acknowledged and lets them start thinking about other ideas.

Using Post-it notes lets attendees write down their own thoughts and allows for repositioning of ideas as the session progresses.

Tools and applications such as Mural.ly and Post-it Plus help us take the results of a workshop and extend the engagement beyond a single day.

A lot of factors create a great brainstorming workshop — co-creation, participation, transparency — but the key is getting ideas to emerge from within the mind and bloom within the collective intelligence of the attendees.

For us, nothing does it faster than Post-its.

(This is not an ad for Post-its — we just use them a lot.)

6,000+ of your peers get articles like this every week with our newsletter -- Obvious Patterns. Sign up.