Ideation Techniques: Group Graffitti

How to Get Your Group Thinking On Its Feet

SmartStorming Group GraffitiGroup Graffiti is a physical, highly interactive idea generation technique that gets participants out of their seats and thinking on their feet. As its name implies, Group Graffiti is a writing and/or drawing exercise done with large sheets of paper taped to a wall. A problem statement is posted above and participants (armed with large, thick markers) are instructed to stroll back and forth along the wall spontaneously “tagging” it with ideas. Participants are also encouraged to build on the ideas of others.

Wild, audacious thinking is encouraged. The goal is to fill the wall with as many ideas and drawings as possible before the time deadline expires.

How to facilitate Group Graffiti:

  1. Post 6-12 large, self-sticking sheets from a Post-it® Easel Pad (or a section of brown butcher paper) on a long, smooth, uncluttered wall surface. Also provide large markers to all participants.
  2. Post the problem statement prominently on the wall.
  3. Set a timer for 15-20 minutes. Instruct your participants to go to wall with their markers, and walk around randomly writing down or sketching ideas on the wall.
  4. Encourage your group to spontaneously build on and evolve each other’s ideas — or jot down new ones. Anything goes in Group Graffiti.
  5. When time has expired. Lead your group through the selection process by asking them to help identify the best ideas (based on your selection criteria) from the wall and read them out loud.
  6. Once the best ideas have been selected, ask your group to look for ways to improve or build on the them to make the even better.

Wisdom of the Crowd Option
Creative ideas can come from anyone at any time, even from people not directly involved in your problem/solution process. To harvest the wisdom of the crowd, try posting large sheets of paper with the problem statement written boldly at the top in a public space or hallway. Just watch as individuals walking stop and add their ideas.