1. Identify the key problems and any benefits for patients if they are resolved
Write a sentence describing each problem with the benefits of resolving it (the outcomes) in plain, simple language. Avoid any descriptions that suggest a tangible solution, as this will block further ideas.
For example, "a tool to prevent miscommunication between patient and staff, so saving time, preventing errors, and helping patients feel more in control of their situation".
Make a list of the problems to focus the session.
2. Identify who needs to be in the session
Make sure you include anyone who is an (active) stakeholder in addressing the problems and opportunities.
Set up the session and invite attendees.
Consider appointing an independent facilitator.
Before you hold the session, circulate the list of problems, inviting people to think of others and contribute them during the session.
3. Begin the session
Briefly review the initial problems list and check all attendees have a clear understanding of the challenge each problem poses.
Brainstorm any additional problems if these arise.
Ask attendees to reflect on the list and note any patterns and themes they find.
Discuss these and review the list, grouping any that seem similar. Finalise the list.
4. Develop success criteria
For each problem ask: How would a patient want to experience this once the problem was resolved? What would a patient?s experience of success be?
This exercise can be done in subgroups, with each team allocated a specific problem.
Once this is complete take a brief break and prepare for a high-energy brainstorm!
5. Brainstorm ideas for resolving each problem on a separate sheet of paper
If there are many problems, split into smaller groups and allocate a set to each group.
The brainstorming question is: "How might we resolve this successfully for patients (or for its key users, if not patients)?".
Stay focused on brainstorming ideas and avoid judging ideas.
When each problem has been brainstormed, take another break.
6. Very briefly review the lists of ideas and allow 5-15 minutes of reflection and discussion
This works best if the sheets of paper are arranged around the walls of the room and group members can circulate to view them. Provide each group member with three 'sticky dots' (or a small number of other items they can stick to the brainstorming sheets).
Invite participants to vote for the three ideas they consider will make the biggest difference for patients (or whichever stakeholder group is the primary focus).
7. End the session by listing the ideas that are being put forward on a fresh sheet of paper
Review this list and reflect on the themes and priorities. Avoid making any decisions, keeping the ideas open for further assessment and development.