Crawford's Slip Writing Method

Generating Ideas From Many Contributors

Like brainstorming, but on paper.

© iStockphoto/PhotoNotebook

How do you unlock the collective knowledge and ideas of your team, your department or even your whole organization? And how do you do this in a way that everyone (not just those with the biggest egos) gets heard?

The Crawford Slip Method is a simple yet effective type of brainstorming that gives the opinions of all team members equal weight, however quiet they are.

In fact, you probably will have encountered this way of generating ideas and solutions even if you haven't called it the Crawford Slip Method.

Invented in the 1920s by Dr C.C. Crawford, Professor of Education at the University of Southern California, the method simply involves collating input from people on slips of paper (nowadays often on sticky notes).

Not only does this help you generate a wide variety of solutions, it also helps people get involved and feel that their contributions are valued. Writing rather than speaking during the session can have added advantages: it helps people to think freely without interruption, and it levels the playing field between quieter people and more outspoken participants.

More than this, as peoples individual contributions are brought together into groupings of similar ideas, it gives you a feel for the overall "popularity" of each idea...

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