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Breakout Session: The Glasers “A Model for Collaborative Problem Solving” July 16, 2007

Posted by David Jeffrey in Communication, Organizational Behavior, Development, and Culture.

The Steps:

  1. Silent Brainstorming
  2. Round Robin Input
  3. Discuss and Advocate
  4. Prioritize
  5. Choose Champions

How does it work?

Pose an important open-ended question
e.g. What action can we take to improve student involvement on this campus?
e.g. What actions can we take to improve our service to our customers.

This model’s been 30 years in the making.

What actions can we take to make our regional group meetings more compelling, involving and productive?

Number off, and sit in a horseshoe shape facing the “group memory” – the sheet on the wall
Each group selects a recorder who has two qualities: speed and legibility
Recorder writes the information at the top of the page, then sit down
People will usually sit and stare at you when you give them a question like this and then the extroverts would start to talk

  1. Silent Brainstorming (think big, and think small; only two minutes; keep short)
  2. Round Robin Input (recorder takes one from each person until all items are exhausted; no evaluation of ideas while entering ‘group memory’ – not even non-verbal negatives; extended positives are also a bad idea; short grunts of approval are acceptable)
  3. Discuss and Advocate (each person takes 3 that they want to put their support behind)
    1. Criteria: significance, do-ability (reasonable to carry it off, measurability)
    2. Anyone begins with a PRES model or at least give a reason, but don’t mark the options at all
    3. You’re both advocating and listening to the advocacy of others
    4. Do not cluster items together at this point
    5. Don’t reach consensus at this phase
  4. Prioritize (create groupings of like items; quick way using symbols – “Does anyone object to grouping these items?”
    1. Group using symbols and then name later
    2. If there’s disagreement over whether an item should be in or out, it’s out.
    3. Disperse votes silently – 3 points to your highest, 2 points to your second, 1 point to the third
    4. Collect scores by asking where the top points go
    5. Look at the top two scores
  5. Choose Champions
    1. Say to the group, “Okay…who would be willing to be the champion for that item?” – pick two champions
    2. If no one’s willing to champion an idea, then let it go – it’s not going to happen
    3. If someone wants to champion an idea that didn’t get enough votes, let them if there are no objections


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