Idea commenting

Idea commenting involves people writing comments about different ideas, with each idea on a different sheet of paper, so that the participants can work simultaneously.


  • It’s efficient, because everyone in a group is working simultaneously, without having to wait for each other
  • It’s self-documenting; you don’t need a scribe taking notes on the session
  • It stops loud group members from dominating others

Tip: This method depends on writing longhand, which could be embarrassing for people with writing difficulties, so use with discretion.

  • Paper and pens


Write a different single idea at the top of each sheet of paper.

The ideas can come from a previous session with another method such as constraint relaxation, or can be spontaneously generated for the Idea Commenting session.

Add each completed sheet to a stack in the middle of the table.


Each group member pulls out a sheet at random, adds a single comment to it, then returns it to the stack.
Group members have to work in silence.
All comments should be phrased constructively; you can weed out bad ideas afterwards. Often the best ideas look bad at first glance, but turn out to be good once you look more closely.

The figure opposite shows a series of comments from one sheet, in different colours, to illustrate the principle.


After the session, the sheets can be copied and distributed as desired.

If you want to shortlist ideas for taking forward, you can use methods such as:


An Idea Commenting sheet

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