Idea Placemats

These are my favorite tool for getting the team engaged early. I put together a big colorful placemat full of things that might spark my team’s interest, and print it on 11x17” paper for each team member before a meeting. Sometimes it’s initial hunches, sometimes it’s a few strategic territories, other times it’s “what we’ve learned so far.” I do this before we land on a strategy because it gets the whole team doodling / note-taking / engaging / contributing much earlier in the process.



If we’re royally stuck on a problem, or none of us are familiar with the industry we’re working on (like the time 7 non-golfers tried to make an app for the PGA Tour), I like to set up a team ideation to get the creative juices flowing. Sometimes it’s just the team that’s working on the project, other times we loop in a multi-disciplinary group from outside. I set the ideation up in stages - revealing learnings as stimuli for discussion.


Sentiment Sprints

When my team doesn’t have much time for qualitative research, I like to set up a “sentiment sprint.” It’s a quick sprint to understand people’s sentiments on a given topic or idea. Typically we hold them during the lunch hour in a common area. They’re usually made up of 3 activities - one written, one tactile, and one verbal. Multiple participants go through the process at a time, and it’s a super-fast way to get a pulse on an idea or topic. Snack food bribery is typically involved.

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When the team has settled on a strategy, but we’re struggling to generate big ideas, we get a few of our target users together for a co-creation. I give the users a few activities to assess their past user journeys in the space, then lead a brainstorm to generate new ideas.