A better format for brainstorming

Maoz is a not for profit which helps leaders in the Israeli public sector make better decisions by inviting input from a network of smart volunteers. This is how they conduct their brainstorming sessions:

  • The “owner” presents the problem / issue.
  • Participants ask questions for 15 minutes.
  • Participants discuss possible answers and approaches; the owner observes the discussion but doesn’t participate in it.

Notes:
(1) Brilliant. Dedicated question time forces participants to ask questions before expressing opinions. And excluding the owner from the subsequent discussion removes the risk that the owner will get defensive, anchor the conversation in their current approach to the issue, or not listen because they’re thinking what to say next.
(2) Cf. Group brainstorming doesn’t lead to creativity; this does. Perhaps Maoz’s brainstorming is different because it involves external players, not the members of a team responsible for achieving a goal.
(3) Cf. When you’re given advice, here’s how to listen with an open mind.

2 thoughts on “A better format for brainstorming

  1. The Maoz system comes from the Ducktape or Hotseat method developed by a prof at HBS, which was then brought to Israel through PresenTense and the framework is: 15 minutes where the first 5 minutes the person in the Hotseat tells everyone the problem, the second 7 minutes the group asks ONLY clarifying questions (no expressions of opinion), and the last 5 minutes the group gives advice with the person in the hotseat unable to respond in any way.

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