Extract solutions that could potentially address the identified problem(s)
We do this activity so that the entire team -— product managers, designers, and engineers -— is able to document their ideas and contribute to the overall solution, enhancing our shared responsibility for the success of the product. After all, no single discipline has a monopoly on good ideas!
Solution Brainstorming is often one of the first times that we begin to explore solutions and features. We run this activity after identifying and prioritizing insights & problems because we want to solve for the most important things first.
Stick each problem or Insight to its own large sheet of paper, such as a sheet of tabloid (11"x17") / A3 paper, or section of the digital workspace.
Distribute or assign a sheet with problems or insights attached to each team member.
Have team members convert their assigned problem or insight into a “How might we…?” statement, writing the output clearly on a new, differently colored large sticky note and attaching it over the original problem or insight.
Go around the group and have each person (or pair) share out their original problem or insight and the “How might we…?” statement(s) they created from it. Make adjustments as a team until you’re happy with all statements.
Ensuring each person has a sheet or digital whiteboard section, set a timer for 3-4 minutes during which everyone quietly brainstorms ideas that could potentially solve the “How might we…?” statement. These can be as simple or fanciful as you like.
After the time is up, have everyone pass the sheet(s) to the person next to them (or create an order if remote) and repeat Step 5.
After the brainstorms make their way around the group and back to the person they started with, you’ll have generated a slew of ideas.
Success is achieved when you have extracted ideas that directly relate to your top problems and insights and captured them for further refinement.
You may need to adjust the timing depending on how many people are present. Be sure to give sufficient time for people to both read ideas and create new ideas (this is especially critical as you get further into the pass-and-brainstorm process).