Leadership Inspirations Activities

Mind Spin

Brainstorm as many ideas as possible

Duration

10-20 minutes

Team Stage

Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing

Type Of Activity

Experiential Activity

Materials

Index Cards, Pens Or Pencils, Table And Chairs

 

SUMMARY

In this fun and fast paced activity, individuals and teams brainstorm as many ideas as possible for a particular topics or problem.

 

SET UP

  • Break the group into teams of 3 – 5 participants.
  • Ask each team of 3 – 5 participants to sit at separate tables.
  • Place a large stack of index cards in the center of each table (about 100 per table).
  • Decide on a topic or idea to be “brainstormed” written on a white board or poster paper
    • Examples: “What can be done to ….?” or “How can we…?”

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Round 1 (5 minutes)
    • Each participant is dealt 5 blank index cards.
    • The remaining cards are placed in the center of the table.
    • Explain that this is going to be a brainstorming session that will be individual as well as team based.
    • Important: Within a brainstorming session there are no wrong or right responses and no idea is off limits.
    • The participants are going to have two, 5-minute rounds to write down as many solutions as possible on the index cards – one idea per card.
    • If they use more than the five index cards they can grab another card from the center pile.
    • After an idea is written on the index card the participant SLAMS the index card down on the table face down to their right (face down is the side that the idea is written on).
      • The SLAM is important – the sound and the vibration of SLAMming the card on the table adds a tangible feeling to the “Mind Spin” that makes the activity more fun!
    • If at some point a participant cannot think of any solutions to the topic question they may grab one card from the top of the participants pile to their left. They can do one of three things with the card that they draw:
      • 1) Simply SLAM it down to your right after reading it and grab another card from their left
      • 2) Read it, be inspired, SLAM it down to the right and grab a blank card & write down their own idea
      • 3) Read it, add to it with a question or comment, then SLAM it down before grabbing another card
    • Ask the participants to continue until the facilitator says stop.
    • Once Round 1 is complete – the facilitator gathers all the idea index cards (from ALL teams) and shuffles them. The facilitator then evenly distributes the idea index cards to the small teams. Ask the participants in each team to distribute the idea index cards amongst team members and place them face down in front of each participant.
  • Round 2 (5 minutes)
    • Begins the same as Round 1, in which participants write one idea on each card.
    • The difference is that if a participant reaches an idea block, in which they cannot think of any solutions, they grab an idea index card from the pile in front of them.
    • Just as before, they have 3 options before SLAMming the card down to their right:
      • 1) Simply SLAM it down to your right after reading it and grab another card from their left
      • 2) Read it, be inspired, SLAM it down to the right and grab a blank card & write down their own idea
      • 3) Read it, add to it with a question or comment, then SLAM it down before grabbing another card
    • Once all the cards from Round 1 in front of a participant are gone, if there is still time remaining, then the participant can grab a card from their neighbor’s pile to the left.
    •  This continues until time is up.
    • Once Round 2 is done the facilitator gathers all the idea index cards.
  • Next Steps
    • The group can review the cards to see what ideas or solutions stand out to them, and discuss what to do next to move forward.

VARIATIONS

SAMPLE DEBRIEFING QUESTIONS

What?
  • What was the goal of this activity?
  • Did your group do well? What could have improved?
  • How did your group make decisions? Was it effective or ineffective?
  • How did your group manage conflict that arose?
So What?

Alignment

  • Are we the only ones that define our purpose? What or who influences our purpose?
  • How do we communicate our purpose to new members or people outside of our group?
  • Why is it important that we all understand the purpose of our group/activity/etc.?

Meeting Skills

  • What are some of our effective and ineffective meeting habits?
  • When are you most engaged in meetings? When are you least engaged?
  • What are the roles that people play in meetings? Why are these roles important?

Project Planning

  • What has worked in other projects you have done? How have you dealt with setbacks?
  • How do you connect with the process of planning? Do you like it/not like it? How does this impact you/your group?
  • How do we manage our time? How does that affect our ability to complete our projects?
Now What?
  • What does this activity tell you about the strengths of your group? The areas for improvement?
  • What’s one commitment each person can make?
  • What are three lessons the group has learned that they can continue to work on?
  • How can we implement these lessons in our school/organization?
  • What can you do differently moving forward?