Facilitation Tools

Catalog of Facilitation Tools and Techniques:

Brainstorming vs. Design Thinking Ideation Techniques

The type of brainstorming we’re most familiar with is centered on finding ideas in a short period of time, and potentially a large group of people are involved. This approach fits into traditional collaboration efforts seeking tactical solutions to near term deadlines. “We are falling short of our revenue goal for the quarter, what can we do to close the gap?” The approach is to rapidly generate a set of ideas, and then converge on the best few and take action.

Instead of quickly weeding out possibilities and converging on a solution, setting up a divergent process ideally sustained for a longer time period offers greater potential for creativity and innovation. Classical brainstorming can provide good source material to inspire further group thinking with techniques that stretch beyond the immediate issue and seek a larger working set of possibilities. SCAMPER is a model that evolved from brainstorming ideas originally developed by Alex Osborn, and refined to provide more structure for the creativity process. Called the Merlin Technique or Osborn Checklist, analogies are developed from imagining change, adapt, enlarge, shrink, replace, rearrange, combine, transform, etc. It can also be effective to simplify an exercise with just three options, e.g., reject-accept-modify, creating a faster and more dynamic session atmosphere.


  • New ideas generated by SCAMPER are modifications of something that already exists

Other Tools and Techniques:

Solve the Right Problem:

A pain points session to clarify the scale and nature of the problem, group validation of key issues and priorities, and establish bias towards solution as a team.

Canvas Options:

Pitch Your Idea:

Energize Team Creativity and Collaboration:

Core Session Resources:

  • Large and visible clock to keep the presence of time
  • Visuals in meeting room to sustain engagement