Here’s something I tried this morning for the first time when running an actionplanning session, which I’m going to dub ‘battle actionplanning’ for the immediate future. Essentially, it’s a bit like this:
Remember “War Games” with Matthew Broderick? No, OK – the plot was thus: in the early eighties, the US have a computer system which plays out ‘scenarios’ of nuclear war – who launches first, where they strike and so on – in order to perfect their defence systems. Matthew Broderick, in best Bueller guise as anti-establishment kid, hacks the system, makes them think there’s a nuclear war on (by accident, of course, and bleak hilarity ensues…).
Anyway, the premise is essentially ‘take two teams, and have them ‘battle’ each other, striking and counter-striking, around a common theme’.
Firstly, set up the scenario for them, and split them into two factions (a ‘pro’ and an ‘anti’, or two competitors, or whatever).
Then get them to go away, come up with ideas for five minutes, and come back and present those first ideas and positioning.
Then, once they’ve learned what the opposition is doing, get them to go away again, and come up with new ideas in light of the knowledge they just gained about the opposition. Then they come back and present those, and you can repeat this as often as you like.
The result? It worked pretty well for a first time, people got into it (the competitive element helps, I reckon), and it gave us lots of interesting areas to work up ideas around for a real campaign. It’s also quite a high energy, and really rips people out of the ‘day-to-day’ and into the space you want them to be thinking in. To be repeated, methinks…