In the seminar I gave last week directed toward more “developed” college ministries, I ended my thoughts by sharing a tool for better brainstorming.
The truth is, our usual approach to “brainstorming” doesn’t always work very well. The classic picture is of a group of leaders, sitting around a room, throwing out random ideas and hoping something will stick. While useful ideas are sometimes produced, I want to offer a method to produce ideas in a bit more purposeful way. In the seminar, I called it “exploring the edges.”
This method pretty much comes directly from Seth Godin, who describes it as “edgecraft.” As I’ve written before, I encourage you to read his book Free Prize Inside, my personal favorite Godin book for application to campus ministry.
As we look at individual elements – a weekly worship time, our use of student leaders, the web site, etc. – we explore various possibilities along the “edges.” That means thinking new thoughts about the who of this activity, the what, the where, the when, and even the why.
So for each of those Ws, we might ask questions like…
What if this who, what, etc., increased (involved more, got bigger, went further, was added to)?
What if this part decreased (involved less, got smaller, stayed closer, was subtracted from)?
What would be the craziest thing we could do with this part?
When we get to asking these questions (and more) for the who, what, where, when, and why of an activity, our brainstorms get channeled into some pretty useful (and creative) new ideas.
This is kind of tricky to explain, but play around with it. It gets a lot clearer when we use it with specific elements in our college ministries. I’ll explore the edges of a specific example tomorrow. [That example is collegiate mission trips and can be read here!]
Written at Temple University, Philadelphia.
Road Trip #11 update:
yesterday’s T-shirt: Transylvania University
campus visits: Temple University (#9)
(click here to learn more about Road Trip #11)