How to use collaboration for problem-solving


Here is a tool or strategy we have used with great success in some of our workshops. It’s a method which uses collaboration for problem-solving and actively engages people within your team or your organisation to follow the solutions created.


This tool follows the principle of brainstorming, i.e. generating as many ideas around a topic as possible; then developing the ideas produced into the most realistic and suitable options possible. Get the pdf version of the tool here:

Number of people:
Works best with a maximum of 15 and a minimum of 5, Yet it is adaptable to other group sizes.


Between1- 2 hours (depending on group size and complexity of your activity)

Material: Flipchart sheets + Flipchart pens + Post-its

How to use collaboration for probel-solving:

The first thing is to reflect and be clear on the outcome you would like from your meeting. As an example, let’s consider that from the meeting you would like to obtain inexpensive solutions to make your office more sustainable.

1. Formulate your outcome as a question to people attending and write it down on a flipchart. Example: How can we become a more sustainable office? Activity

2. Ask people to generate as many ideas as possible in 15 minutes. Once people have finished, collect and post ideas randomly on the wall, visible to everyone in the room. Enquire if some ideas can be grouped together, either because they are of similar nature or because they resemble each other in some way. Using our example again, let’s consider people have suggested 3 subgroups or clusters of ideas: changing our collective behavior, working policies and sustainable equipment.

3. Divide people into smaller groups. Ideally you should have the same number of groups as ideas clusters. Give each group a blank flipchart, flipchart pens and an idea cluster for which they will be responsible.

4. Ask each group to now take a critical glance into each idea in the flipchart and to write down for each: what would the idea allow us to accomplish, and what may be the drawbacks of the idea. Give people at least 30 minutes for this exercise. This will allow you to collect both positive and negative aspects of each idea. At this stage some groups may already start discarding a few initial ideas as doing this exercise balances possible and unrealistic solutions. Ask groups to rotate to other flipcharts and to complement them with their own opinions.

5. At the end of the exercise, you will find in the flipcharts many solutions put forward by people. Now you need to create engagement and follow-up on them!