The storyboard method is a kind of workshop that helps perfect the art of presenting ideas at meetings, conferences, publications, online media, and press. The storyboard method shows you how to focus, organize and present your ideas and inspire particular audience – it helps you shape information using the power of a story. It usually takes between two hours and whole day.
Brainstorming is a method for generating ideas to solve a problem. It involves a group and a group facilitator. It consists of a period of freethinking which is used to articulate ideas and of the discussion which follows. Brainstorming is useful to gather a lot of ideas prior to scenario analysis, problem solving, decision making or planning. It can be used by an individual or as a group method. It can be used during problem solving or during developing phase. Organization of a brainstorming session is not to complicated nor expensive.
Futures Wheel method is a way of organizing thinking and questioning about the future – a form of structured brainstorming. It is a foresight method that provides model of the future, based on the consequences of a decision/event/process. It organizes thoughts about the future development and put them down in a structured way. Using interconnecting lines, it is possible to visualize interrelationships of the causes and changes. The method can therefore assist in developing visions of future development.
Storytelling is a simple method that provides means to obtain information on a project’s outcomes from the viewpoints of participants. Information gained with storytelling can highlight strong points and weaknesses of the project. By asking participants to tell a story on a project, they are asked to evaluate an aspect of a project. Stories can be collected through in-person interviews or through blog postings (on a project’s website), sometimes it emerges organically within the project team/stakeholders.
Charette is a hands-on workshop, that refers to an intensive face-to-face process designed to bring people from various sub-groups of society into consensus within a short period of time. It can be used to bring together practical ideas, stimulate working together and facilitate consensus-based decision making. This is a method that can be adapted to last for couple of days or couple of weeks. It can be staged for group of 50 to groups of more than 1000 people.
The objectives tree is an approach to transform project statements into more specific ones. It is best to use it before your project starts and after you have completed Problem tree. This technique helps to define project objectives and provides a way to order them in hierarchical structure; it consists of project objectives linked hierarchically in a tree graph.
21st century town meeting
21st century meetings are public forums that use modern communications technologies to enable a large number of participants to simultaneously discuss the same issue in small groups. This method can engage up to 5000 people in face-to-face dialogue. Usually this method is used in deliberations about complex public policy issues. Town Meetings are intended to be ordinary citizens with no particular expertise in the topic under discussions.
Field observation is a qualitative research method that helps to gain an inside view of the community and the setting. It provides a deeper understanding of the problems in their (local) context and gives nuanced understanding of the community or of a context that can come only from personal experience. The observation may be done individually, in pairs, or in teams – the decision depends on the location and the topics – and works best combined with some other techniques, such as interviewing.
Problem tree analysis is a participatory tool that assists in analysing an existing situation by identifying the major problems and their main causal relationships. The use of problem tree tool is recommended at the beginning of the planning processes. It is best carried out in a small group of people (about six to eight but not more than 25 participants), using visual techniques, such as flip chart paper or colour cards.
SEROI+ is a digital tool, based on participatory approach. It combines socio-economic and environmental return on investment (SEROI) assessment. SEROI assessment allows for evaluation and monitoring of existing or planned products and services delivering socio-economic returns. Through the process of open innovation, it enables to involve all relevant stakeholders in identification and definition of goals and objectives; identification of measurable indicators and expected impacts; and in co-design and co-development of new products and services.
The World Café is a participatory method for improving group discussion by dividing participants in small groups (of 3 – 6) and creating separate discussion tables. Participants sit around the table, discuss the topic presented by moderators, share different knowledge, and make shared visual notes (e.g. draw, illustrate etc.). After some time, participants are moved to another table to discuss new topic and built on what previous team had discussed.
The “5 Why's” technique is used for troubleshooting and problem solving. It is most appropriate for resolving simple to moderately difficult problems. Its primary goal is to find the exact reason that causes a problem by asking a sequence of “Why” questions.
SWOT analysis is used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of a given situation/condition. It can be used on an individual level or with a gropup of 8 - 12 people. The participants need to have a fairly good knowledge about the topic you want to address. This method is simple to use and requires no special material resources.
A Venn diagram
The Venn diagram is a visual technique used to map key stakeholders, organisations, institutions and individuals in the region or community. This can be achieved with circles of different sizes, some big canvases and a mixed group of 15 – 20 people (3 -5 is also manageable). By executing the technique, you will learn the importance and effectiveness of the chosen stakeholders and their relationship with local community and other groups. It also provides a broad guideline for plugging loopholes, if any, in the functioning of these groups.
Focus group is a method to collect qualitative in-depth information. It is a group interview where the theme of the conversation is known in advance and questions are led by facilitator. Focus groups are ideal for discovering new (important) themes/problematic areas, contributing to in-depth research, in-depth analysis, placing the phenomena in the context, and for interpreting the phenomena already identified, its difficulties or viewpoints. Participants of the focus group are selected in advance by the organizing team. Usually there is more than one focus group meeting to get quality results. To organize a focus group an organizing team is needed (including facilitator, organizer, content planner, recorder, analyzer) and 10 – 15 participants. Focus groups are often used to learn more about opinions on a designated topic but further also to serve as a starting point to future actions.