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Episode 011

June 9, 2019

011 – How to design brainstorming sessions for huge groups – with Frans Scheepens

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    In this episode, I talk to Frans Scheepens, a brainstorm designer, entrepreneur and certified facilitator. We talk about conducting brainstorming sessions with very large groups as he has designed and facilitated groups with up to 650 participants. Frans founded Brainfuel a company that helps groups to generate many ideas that will solve important problems. 

    In the show, Frans shares hands-on advice on how to design and facilitate large group brainstorming sessions. He shares suitable ice-breaker exercises, voting techniques and best practices on how to deal with upcoming challenges and distractions. You will learn how to make sure that all ideas count and how you would have to instruct facilitators to support the sub-groups in the process.

    Don’t miss the part when Frans explains why brainstorming sessions have such a bad reputation and what you can do to deliver brainstorming workshops that work. 

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    Feeling inspired by the conversation in this episode? We can have our own – take a seat at my virtual table as part of a Mastermind Group.

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    Questions and Answers

    1:16 If you were a hashtag, what would it be?

    1:28 How do you define ‘brainstorming’?

    2:08 Is a brainstorming just a nice concept for a meeting without agenda?

    2:59 Where does the bad reputation of brainstorming come from?

    4:05 What questions qualify for a brainstorm?

    6:25 When you advice to include ‘people from the outside’ in the session, who do you mean?

    7:28 Is there an optimum number of people to include in a brainstorming session? Where is the sweet spot? 

    8:47 How do you avoid outsiders to create resistance regarding their ideas?

    9:43 Would you give participants homework for the preparation of the brainstorm?

    11:25 What is your favourite icebreaker/ check-in exercise? 

    13:00 How much time would you consider for such an exercise? 

    14:23 What is a ‘daring brainstorm’? 

    14:46 What’s the maximum size of a brainstorm session you did?

    15:18 Who would facilitate these sub-teams?

    17:00 How do you manage distraction for such a large group?

    18:30 What would you advise to a newbie facilitator on how to deal with distraction or side-talk during a session? 

    20:55 What are pieces of advice you would give these sub-facilitators in such an environment of very large brainstorming sessions?

    22:39 What is the perspective of the participant and sub-facilitator that you need to empathize with when designing such brainstorming sessions?

    25:16 How do you cope with the situation when a sub-facilitator feels uncomfortable facilitating an exercise he or she perceives weird? 

    25:55 What is a ‘brain-dump’? 

    27:33 What is your method of brainstorming?

    28:18 Can you walk us through the superhero method?

    32:06 In a very operational way, what is your approach to brainstorming? 

    39:46 How do you choose the best ideas? 

    44:37 How do the sub-groups then share their results with each other?  

    45:59 To what extent does the facilitator has a responsibility on the follow-up of the brainstorming session?

    47:02 Would you also engage in the follow-up?

    51:00 What makes workshops work?

    51:38 What shall someone, who missed the last 50 minutes, takeaway from the show? 

    52:32 How can interested listeners get in touch with you?  


    Frans business page:

    short video about Frans’ sessions

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    Connect to Frans

    on LinkedIn