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The key to discovery is letting go. Once you have formed your group or team, you need to set them free on their journey with whatever brief(s) and resources you plan to make available. This need to let go is one reason why I have focused so much on disinhibition in my group processes – hoping to let go of my own inhibitions as well as everyone else’s!

In tips 1 & 2 I talked about evaluation. This time we’re talking about discovery projects where you are setting out to uncover things that haven’t been found before. Such projects might have innovation as their goal, or to update and catch up with changes in attitude or behavior due to time or new arrivals in the market place.

If you are briefed to discover & innovate, then the diagram that you can download below gives you a strong sense of the ideal shape of your research sessions. As you will see the major part of the session is devoted to opening up or divergent thinking which is very different in shape and nature from the kind of control-oriented work you might do in an evaluation group.

Here the forming part of the group or session is crucial, you are going into unknown territory with strangers so you need to be able to count on each other. Although this ‘unknown territory’ exists in an urban or suburban comfortable room or viewing facility, or perhaps a hotel meeting room – don’t think this doesn’t mean people won’t be anxious – they will. And so will you! Whatever you do don’t adopt a ‘nonchalant’ or devil-may-care attitude which almost certainly covers nervousness – and is likely to create mimicry in the group as they copy you, the most powerful person in the room! Do spend time qualifying yourself, introducing your group to the primary task and describing how you will all work together. Then people can start to relax – there is a plan!

Register here to download the shape of the Discovery Journey with key activities shown along the way:

We will return to the Phases or stages in this journey in future Tips, but notice if you will similar journeys of your own, where you have opened yourself up for new experiences. Going on holiday is a favourite [although if you’re a worrier, you may have packed everything but the kitchen sink!] Think of a time when you took things as they came, tried out some new stuff and went with the flow: that’s the kind of headspace to employ if you’re leading a creative journey.

More on what all the phases involve soon!