Workshops are invaluable tools for brainstorming, problem solving and decision making. They provide a structured environment where participants can collaborate and generate innovative ideas. A peculiar but effective technique for workshop facilitation is the use of a 2×2 matrix.
Here we will explore a way to facilitate a workshop using a 2×2 matrix, step by step, with a practical example.
Step 1: Define the purpose of the workshop
Every successful workshop begins with a clear goal. Before you begin, make sure you have a good understanding of what you want to achieve with the 2×2 matrix. Is it for idea generation, decision making, prioritization or something else?
Step 2: Prepare your materials
Gather the necessary materials for the workshop, such as a large whiteboard, flipchart paper, markers, or a digital tool if it is a virtual workshop.
Step 3: Introduce the perspective of the 2×2 matrix
Begin the workshop by introducing the perspectives in your 2×2 matrix to your participants. Feel free to find inspiration that clarifies the perspectives to avoid uncertainty.
Step 4: Draw the first line
Start by drawing a horizontal line across your chosen surface (whiteboard, flipchart, etc.). This line represents the first criterion or dimension that you will use to categorize the ideas. Let’s use an example: Imagine you are holding a workshop on developing new product features. The first line may represent “Importance to users.”
Define the categories that will define the horizontal axis. In our product features example, these categories might be “High Importance” and “Low Importance”. Write these labels on the line you have drawn.
Step 5: Collect ideas
Encourage participants to brainstorm ideas, concepts, or options related to the workshop’s goals. As they suggest ideas, place each one above or below the horizontal line based on its perceived importance to users. Ideas of high importance pass, and ideas of low importance perish.
Step 6: Draw the second line
Now draw a vertical line that intersects the horizontal line you have created. This second row represents the second dimension or criterion that will be used to categorize the ideas. In our example, it might be “Ability to implement.”
Also determine the categories for the vertical axis. In our product features workshop, these categories can be “High Feasibility” and “Low Feasibility”. Write these labels on the vertical line.
Step 7: Categorize Ideas (Again)
Ask the participants to re-evaluate the ideas based on the new criterion: feasibility to implement. Rearrange each idea to the left or right of the vertical line to indicate whether it is very feasible or not.
Step 8: Analyze and discuss
With ideas categorized on both dimensions, you now have four quadrants: high importance/high feasibility, high importance/low feasibility, low importance/high feasibility, and low importance/low feasibility. Engage in discussions within each quadrant, focusing on implications, priorities, and potential action steps. Develop a strategy for what to do with the ideas for each quadrant.
Step 9: Make a decision
Based on the discussions and the workshop’s goals, the participants can now make decisions, prioritize ideas or develop action plans. The matrix provides a structured way to evaluate and compare alternatives.
Facilitating a workshop using a 2×2 matrix can be a powerful way to categorize and prioritize ideas or options. This structured approach helps participants make informed decisions in stages and promotes productive discussions.
Whether you’re planning a workshop for idea generation, decision-making, or any other purpose, consider incorporating this technology to improve collaboration and achieve your workshop’s goals effectively.