Constrained brainwriting


Brainwriting pool technique with constraints

This method is a version  of standard Brainwriting pool technique. Participants constrain ideas around pre-determined focus, rather than ranging freely. Process of idea generation is  biased on using brain-writing sheets prepared in advance.

Procedure Steps

1. Present starter ideas: The leader initiates the process by placing several prepared sheets of paper in the pool in the centre of the table.
2. Private brainwriting: Each group member takes a sheet and silently adds his or her ideas.
3. Change sheet: When a member runs out of ideas or wants to have the stimulation of another’s ideas, s/he puts one list back in the centre of the table and takes one returned by another member. After reviewing this new list she/he has just selected, s/he adds more ideas.
4. Repeat until ideas are exhausted. No discussion at any stage.

Varying the level of constraint

1. Cued brainwriting
For mild constraint, the sheets are simply primed with one or more starting ideas (e.g. SWOT’s, issues) in the required area.
2. Structured brain-writing
For a stronger constraint the sheets can be formally headed, each sheet relating to a particular issue or theme, with participants being asked to keep the ideas they contribute on each sheet relevant to the issue in the heading on that sheet.


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