This is a brainstorming activity based on the boat analogy. This collaborative experience is often used by agile teams for continuous improvement (there are other applications, see Suggestions and variations).
The group, who form the crew of a boat sailing towards its goal(s) (an island), express themselves around strengths that push them forward (the wind) and weaknesses that slow them down (the anchors). This activity encourages discussion and expression to get an overview of a topic.
Add a Metaphor activity to your Beekast session. Define the issue and choose whether or not to personalise the predefined areas (see our advice in Suggestions and variations).
Remember to add a voting session if you want to follow up with a decision-making process and time management to keep the brainstorming from taking too long.
Activity settings Metaphor
- Vote: by Likes or Points
- Activity background: Custom areas, as applicable
- Time management: optional
Present the Speedboat activity to the group along with the issue and what is expected of them.
Make sure they understand the categories:
Go over the rules: no judging ideas suggested and no talking during the exploration phase.
The participants take 5 minutes to think about the topic
Next, they send their ideas in the different categories. Estimate a time for this phase and finish it either when the time is up or when participants stop sending in ideas.
There are two methods for discussing the ideas put forward, which can be adjusted according to the size of your group:
- Method 1 - Small group: each participant quickly explains the ideas they suggested in each category.
- Method 2 - Larger group: go through each category with the participants and make sure each idea is understood by the whole group.
Group similar ideas together: keep just one idea and add a marker above it to indicate that it was suggested multiple times.
- For example, the idea: ‘There are no documents for process X’ was sent 5 times.
Keep one idea, which you rename:
‘No documents for process X (5)’ or ‘No documents for process X (*****)’
Once all ideas have been sent and ‘cleaned up’, you’ll have to select the most relevant ones in order to leave the meeting with an action plan.
So you proceed to a ‘voting session’. Ask your participants to vote for the ideas they feel are most important, generally on:
- Weaknesses: the impediments to mitigate or the actions to implement to eliminate them
- Strengths: existing strengths that could be further improved
Suggestions and variations
You don’t have to use all 4 speedboat categories. You can easily run your session with just ‘Strengths’ and ‘Weaknesses’.
The speedboat can be used to lead a continuous improvement session for your group, but it can also help you brainstorm on other topics:
Product/Service: with clients, you can absolutely work on their expectations thanks to the speedboat. This is a way to have them express what they don't like about your Product or Service (Weaknesses), their expectations (Goals), their frustrations (Hurdles) and what’s working (Strengths)