To create the structure or sequence of your engagement consider the three frames of Scan, Focus, and Act.
- Scan being the exploration of information including the perspectives of others,
- Focus adding lines of enquiry (questioning) to make sense of and add contextual meaning to information, and finally we
- Act through selected directions and decisions.
These three frames may or may not be sequential and are often iterative. For example, gaining feedback on a course of action could tell us we need to Scan more or different information, and new information may drive a different Focus to inform our next action.
Within and across these frames consider how people process information and make decisions differently. For example, people have different needs along the spectrum of preference for introversion versus extroversion. By design, we can allow time for individual reflection and small group discussions (introversion preference) followed by large group discussions and presentations with open feedback (extraversion preference). Designing for differences in preference and perspectives enables you to maximise the contribution of the group.
Your structure can focus and limit the possibilities. Use it intentionally. For example, consider how different the response would be if you asked one group to list the technical requirements for a piece of infrastructure and you asked another to draw a concept for a new piece of infrastructure without any text, while both may ultimately come together, each evokes a different cognitive process which, at a minimum will drive a more rigorous outcome though could lead to more novel concepts that were not previously thought of.