Crawford’s Slip Writing Method

Ideas are what drive businesses forward, and there are certainly plenty of good ideas already hiding within your organization. The people that make up your organization, no matter how many of them there are, certainly have their own ideas for improvements the company can make.

Crawford’s Slip Writing Method

Those ideas may relate to new products and services, or they may be related to cost savings and improvements in efficiency. No matter what kind of ideas your people have, it is your job to make sure they can present those ideas in an open, supportive, encouraging environment.

To give them just such an environment, consider using the Crawford’s Slip Writing Method. This is a system that is intended to help you pull ideas from large groups of people, while avoiding the messy, loud meetings that can take place when you simply gather everyone up in a room. Those big, open meetings may be productive from time to time, but they usually lead to just a few people dominating the conversation. The quiet, shy people in your organization won’t get heard in that setting, meaning their ideas are going to be missed. Give everyone a chance to be heard by using a system that encourages contributions from all.

Simple, Yet Powerful

The beauty of this method of creativity is found in its simplicity. As the title would indicate, the process involved handing out slips of paper which can be used by participants to write down their ideas. When the process is finished, those slips of paper are collected and the ideas are reviewed by management. There are sure to be plenty of duplicates included in the ideas that you collect, but there just may be one or two unique ideas which hold real potential for your organization.

The Advantages of Crawford’s Slip Writing Method

Let’s take a moment to walk through an example of how it can be used in practical application. By reviewing this example, you should gain a clear understanding of how you can put this system to use in your own business.

To start, you are going to think about some problems or topics that you would like to address during the slip writing meeting. This work should be done well in advance so that you are properly prepared for the session. The topics that you offer up to participants can be as specific or as general as necessary, depending on the issues that you are currently facing in your organization. A few examples of topics are as follows –

  • What kind of new products could we take to market to expand our current line?
  • Is there are service that is frequently requested by our clients that we don’t already provide?
  • How can the efficiency of our product assembly line be improved?

This list could obviously go on and on. It will be up to you to think about the issues that you need to address prior to calling a meeting.

Get Down to Business

With your topics prepared, you will be ready to schedule a meeting for the slip writing process. You are going to need plenty of slips of paper for all participants, along with writing implements as well. You can choose to give each participant a specific number of slips – with instructions to write down just one idea on each slip – or you can simply furnish a large stack for each person to use as many as they would like.

At the start of the meeting, you will need to highlight in detail the problems or topics that are going to be addressed. Depending on the complexity of the topic, you may need to make a presentation to ensure clarity on behalf of all involved. Or, if it is a simple topic, you could just write down the question on a board in front of the room and let them get started.

Implementing Crawford’s Slip Writing Method

To keep everyone focused and on task, you can establish a time limit right from the start. For instance, if you are going to be addressing three specific questions, you could allow 10 minutes to work on the first question, 10 minutes for the second question, and 10 for the last. Naturally, the amount of time that you allot for each question is going to depend on the complexity of the topic and the number of ideas that you wish to receive.

When the meeting has concluded, you can collect all of the idea slips and thank everyone for their time. Next, it will be necessary to compile all of this data in some manner, likely through the use of a spreadsheet. You can enter all of the responses into a spreadsheet where they can be organized, consolidated, and reviewed. Most likely, you will wish to have a follow-up meeting where you can present the results of the slip writing process and ask for comments from participants.

The Advantages of Crawford’s Slip Writing Method

Many Benefits

There are a few notable benefits to Crawford’s Slip Writing Method. Some of the main reasons to use this technique are listed below –

  • By writing down ideas, everyone will have an equal chance to be heard, which is not usually the case in a traditional meeting
  • You can address both general and specific problems with this method, making it quite versatile
  • This is a time-efficient way to gather ideas, rather than having an open brainstorming session where people are talking over one another
  • There is plenty of time to review all of the ideas after the meeting has ended, meaning you can take a clear picture of the thoughts of the individuals in your organization

Crawford’s Slip Writing Method is an excellent tool to add to your collection of creativity-focused processes. All organizations need plenty of creativity in order to thrive, and this is one valuable way of promoting creativity from top to bottom in your company. Most employees love the organized, focused format that slip writing meetings provide, as they don’t drag on for hours as other meetings are known to do. Give this system a try at some point within your own business and you’re likely to be impressed with the outcome.

You can read more about the Slip Writing Method in our free eBook ‘Creative Thinking for Managers’. Download it now for your PC, Mac, laptop, tablet, Kindle, eBook reader or Smartphone.

Key Points

  • Crawford’s Slip Writing Method involves handing out slips of paper which are used by participants to write down their ideas.
  • At the start of the meeting, you will need to highlight in detail the problems or topics that are going to be addressed and the time limit that you are join to allocate to each one.
  • For example, if you are going to be addressing three specific questions, you could allow 10 minutes for each one giving a total meeting length of 30 minutes.
  • When the process is finished, those slips of paper are collected and the ideas are reviewed by management.
  • Crawford’s Slip Writing Method is a system that is intended to help you pull a lot of ideas from large groups of people.
  • The advantages of this system are that: everyone will have an equal chance to be heard, it can address both general and specific problems, and it is very time efficient.

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