A Round Robin discussion helps surface the collective ideas, pre-existing knowledge and experiences of a group, by breaking the conversation into small revolving sub-groups. Here’s how it works:
First, decide on the title of your discussion and put it into the center of the board. Then break your topic down into sub-topics and add them to each sub-group.
Invite your guests to upload a picture of themselves or add a sticky note with their name on it. Split your guests into smaller groups and allocate them to each sub-topic.
Ask your guests to quickly brainstorm ideas on sticky notes and add them inside each group. Using the timer in the tools tab, you can set a period for this to be completed. Your guests don't have to make any choices, only contribute what they know and think in each area.
Then they move onto the next sub-topic and repeat the process with each period becoming shorter as relevant material accumulates.
Continue until everyone has had the chance to add their ideas to each of the sub-topics and they are back at their starting position. Participants can spend a short while reviewing and aggregating so they are ready to present back to the whole group.
Round Robin discussions are excellent at allowing people to learn how the knowledge of others compliments theirs. Some ideas may trigger and cross-fertilise others, leading to a richer set of ideas. The wisdom of the collective is larger than the sum of each contribution.
Facilitation is crucial to keep everyone on track, and the time pressure stops procrastination and 'over-thinking' ideas. Keep your manor informal and playful where possible.
The format works well with 20–50 people and takes approximately 90–120 minutes (depending on the number of participants and the number of aspects investigated).
This template is inspired by the work of IPK in South Africa, an Ideaflip partner.