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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Put Yourself in a Sticky Situation

During ideation and planning exercises, we use individual, multi-colored sticky notes in great quantities to capture new ideas and comments. This contrasts with keeping meeting notes on a single big white easel pad. We employ sticky notes so aggressively because they provide a variety of advantages for the strategic thinking process’ effectiveness and efficiency.

Sticky notes allow:

  • Sustainability – written ideas gain some tangibility and “life,” moving beyond dependence on someone remembering the idea for something to happen with it.
  • Portability – individual sticky note ideas can be moved from one place to another for sharing, further work, or later electronic capture.
  • Visibility – ideas can be displayed on walls in the meeting room so all participants can review and consider them, even if they weren’t in the sub-team that generated the idea.
  • Combinations – in moving an idea written on a sticky note, you can arrange and group multiple ideas to trigger new ideas, develop / clarify emerging themes, or create a natural sequence.
  • Separation – the opposite of combining ideas, a sticky note’s portability allows participants to review ideas and select those they find intriguing and may want to advocate for development.
  • Boundaries – different colors, shapes, and sizes allow you to subtly distinguish between the output of various exercises or teams.
  • Ranking – individual ideas can be placed on a matrix or ranked on a single criterion, allowing a group to interactively and quickly prioritize ideas that are more attractive.
  • Revisiting – because the idea has been given initial tangibility through being written, it can be revisited during or after a session so that opportunities not emerging right away still have the possibility of being identified later.
  • Disposal – you can also easily recycle sticky notes when you’re done with them.

So if you want to help make your ideas stick (and not stick), get yourself some sticky notes.

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