Blue slips technique


Method was developed by C. C. Crawford of the University of Southern California (USA) in the 1920s.
It is an organized process for use in gathering ideas from large groups even up to 5000 people, though it’s much easier to handle with a lecture theatre and groups (50 – 200). This tool is particularly helpful early in the community partnership’s development.
It has been used to gather strategic information, generate creative ideas for enhance the quality of services , conduct strategic planning sessions and support management practice.
Traditionally, Blue Slips are made by cutting 8.5″ X 11″ paper into eight pieces.

Procedure Steps

1. The group facilitator distributes a stack of Blue Slips to each participant (from 5 to 50 slips depending on how many ideas you want back)
2. Then he describes the purpose of the Blue Slip session, such as generating ideas to “solve a problem“ or “develop a vision statement.”
3. The facilitator presents the problem statement or creative task in terms such as: “How can we….?”, “In what ways might we…”.
4. The facilitator asks the group for ideas on a topic. Ideas should be written as brief thoughts and one idea per slip.


Displayed images or words to the whole meeting to act as triggers, or organising participants to work in twos or threes.
5. When participants  are slowing down and running out of ideas or the time is up (usually 5 – 10 minutes), the facilitator collects the Blue Slips.
6. The group explore and collate the Blue Slips and sort them into similar categories, organize the ideas by similarity, degree of usability, priorities and using these to trigger further thoughts. This can be accomplished by spreading them on a table, sticking them to a wall, or placing them in boxes.
7. Once ideas are sorted and discussed and the best ideas identified and the group decided how they will use this ideas.


1. They provide an opportunity for anonymity, and level the playing field so everyone can make an equal contribution.
2. Blue Slips are great idea-catchers.
3. This method can give an audience a sense of involvement.
4. It can used when there is no time or ability to discuss ideas, and it is neccesery just  to collect people’s thoughts.
5. This technique can successfully supply a method of achieving large numbers of ideas swiftly.

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