This method can be used to solve complex problems. At first the group will be presented with a situation and has to decide on a common definition of the problem which should concretize and simplify the initial situation. “Mobility in rural areas” could be an example for such a situation. The group would then decide to focus on alternatives to individual mobility of 14 to 19-year-olds. Every student will then develop three solutions for this problem. This could comprise ideas like car sharing, party busses or group vacations and will then be passed on to the next person who will either add a different idea or comment on the first one. The limited time usually leads to a reduction of complexity. At the end, the best ideas can be presented in a plenary session.
Didactical description of the method
Starting from a situation which the group will be presented with by the facilitator, the first step as a group is to define the problem. For the example mentioned before - “mobility in rural areas” - the facilitator should elaborate on the implications for the different groups of society (teenagers, retired persons, working population).
During the problem definition phase, the students could select one age group, for example the teenagers and then describe why they would prefer private over public transportation. There could also be more parallel groups. The facilitator should make sure that the students don’t already jump the gun and start working on solutions during this phase.
After coming to an agreement about the problem, the students start to individually work on the problems for five minutes. A form is provided which can be used to fill in the ideas. Then the form will be handed on clockwise and commented on by the next person. The facilitator can use a bell to announce the end of each round.
After five rounds, each participant should have his initial form back and gets five minutes to see how his ideas have been developed further. In the plenary, everyone gets the possibility to present the best ideas.
The facilitator should provide a written description of the situation. A watch and maybe a bell are also needed to announce the end of each round.
A form to fill in the ideas has been provided.