Large brainstorming sessions can be frustrating for managers and employees alike. They can be loud and overwhelming and ultimately lead to no productive outcome. We have an interesting solution for a new way to organize these meetings while ensuring that every voice is still heard. Try using the Lean Coffee approach!
Lean Coffee is a breeze to set up. All that you need to get started is a whiteboard, post it notes, pens, and your thumbs! On a whiteboard, create three columns – To Discuss, Discussing, and Discussed. Take 2-3 minutes while all attendees write down their top three ideas or discussion points, on separate notes. When finished, allow each participant to give a brief explanation of their topics. Topics are voted on using thumbs to avoid extra noise and keep things moving along. Alternatively, you may use the dot system approach as described in our handout. Every topic which gets a majority “thumbs” up vote is something that will be discussed. Those notes get posted under the “To Discuss” column. Choose the first topic, move it to the “Discussing” column and get talking! Each topic will receive 8 minutes of discussion time and we recommend using a talking token for assistance. When time is up attendees vote, thumbs again, on whether or not the topic is worth further discussion. Once one topic is completed, move the note to the “Discussed” column. Make sure to include a round-up of all outcomes when all discussions are completed.
At InRhythm we have used Lean coffee in our operations meetings and breakfast events with great success. We recommend trying it out for any sort of group discussion time. We would love to hear about your experience with Lean Coffee – leave a comment and feel free to make use of our handout.
Written and Designed by Ricki Steiner