Group Creativity Techniques: Managing Group Elicitation Events

Group Creativity Techniques are methods for soliciting ideas from a group of stakeholders and can be very useful in elicitation sessions. 

Here is a cross section of group elicitation techniques that can come in handy on projects:

  1. Brainstorming  - Impulsive responses are collected from all participants without criticism. Evaluation of ideas is suspended until all the ideas have been collected. With this technique, wild ideas are encouraged and participants may build on the ideas of others. See Organizing Brainstorming Sessions: Before, During & After.
  2. Nominal group technique - With this technique, each participant writes down their ideas, and submits them for review. The ideas may be listed on a board until they have all been captured. Participants then proceed to ask questions to clarify what has been submitted. A written vote is taken on the ideas to determine which are popular or widely accepted.
  3. Mind-mapping technique - This technique can be used in conjunction with brainstorming. The ideas from each participant are combined in the form of a visual map that shows the connection between the ideas.
  4. Affinity Diagram -  Allows teams to organise their ideas into categories for review and analysis. See Affinity Diagram: A Practical Guide
  5. Delphi Technique  -  Experts on a certain matter are consulted, approximately 15-20 of them. Structured questionnaires are then sent to each participant without any direct interaction between them. A summary of their responses is then prepared and sent to each of the experts. Multiple rounds of the questionnaire may be sent out and the responses of the experts may change based on the summary they have reviewed until a consensus is reached.
  6. Devil’s Advocacy - With this technique, a participant is designated to act as a critic and comes up with potential problems that may come up with a selected decision. 
  7. Fishbowling - A common variation of the fishbowl technique is where all participants sit together in the form of a circle with one person in the centre. This person gives his suggestions to a problem and others ask him questions about his suggestions or views. All views are expressed in this way and the one with the largest consensus is chosen at the end of the session. There are different variations to the fish bowl technique, however. In some instances, a group of participants are split into two: inner fish bowl and outer fish bowl. The participants in the fish bowl engage in a structured conversation where each one takes their turn to speak while the others listen. The participants in the outer fish bowl follow the conversation and may take turns to join the inner fish bowl if they have a contribution to make.
  8. Workshops - One of the unique benefits of a requirements workshop is that it allows the Business Analyst resolve conflicting business requirements, conduct stakeholder analysis and achieve instant requirements validation all in one go. According to BABOK, a workshop is particularly essential to discovering, refining, prioritising and scoping requirements. See Organizing Effective Requirements Workshops: Before, During & After.

What other technique should be on this list?