Quick sprints get your blood pumping, focus the mind, and clear it of preconceptions. This active brainstorming session encourages quantity of ideas over quality. When you’re moving too fast to criticize others’ ideas (no matter how outlandish!) you may just wind up sparking some innovative and imaginative leaps of your own.
If you’re inside, clear the furniture to the sides of the room. Find a space where your group can comfortably fit and line up the teams side by side, a few feet apart. Decide how far your group should run, and set up the pads or roll of paper that far away from the starting line. Each team should have a clear shot at the paper. If you want to keep things quick, you’re working with young children, or you have a snug classroom, a 8-10’ sprint is fine. If you have a group of energetic teens or adults, and some room to spread out in, 30-50’ dashes can be more challenging.
Define your question carefully, striving to keep it focused but open to many responses. Remind the group that negativity is the death of creativity, and ask them not to mock others’ ideas. Set a time limit. 5 minutes if you’re pressed for time, up to 15 minutes if you want your group to dig deep and generate a ton of ideas.
When you say DASH!, one member of each group starts the race, marker in hand. They dash to the roll of paper, record one idea, and run back to pass the marker to a teammate, who does the same. The dash continues until time runs out (call out time warnings as the clock winds down to add drama). Each group counts the total number of ideas generated by their group, and the group with the highest count wins! Award that team a prize.