Tuesday, 1 May, 2012

Venture Lab OAP: Brainstorming Session # 1

This Sunday (29th April, 2012), my team decided to brainstorm ideas for the Opportunity Analysis Project (OAP). Since our team is geographically distributed, we decided on an e-brainstorming session where all team members came online and we had a discussion. Earlier, we decided to have a Voice chat but then felt that it will be difficult to take notes of the outcomes and perspectives. The chat was considered a better option as the transcript of the chat will be available for reference at a later point of time too. So, we started a Google Group Chat through Gmail (Thanks Google..!!!).
Some 3 days before we planned this brainstorming session, I had sent a list of Probable ideas that we could think of working on for OAP. I had compiled a list of 'Good' ideas from my team's First Assignment Submission and also added two new ideas of my own. Vishal added one more idea to the list subsequently. Our aim of this brainstorming session was to move forward on these ideas and see if anyone of these was a good option to go ahead with in OAP. My highly motivated team turned up on time and we started with analyzing Abhay's idea.
To begin with, everybody started pouring their thoughts on the idea, what they felt was good and bad about the idea, the challenges and so on. The discussion was not structured and it was going randomly. Mid-way in the discussion, Vishal suggested that the discussions shall be in a more structured way rather than randomly bringing out points about the idea. The Team then decided that we follow the following rule. The Originator of the idea shall defend his idea and all other team mates can raise whatever points they want about the feasibility of the idea. If anybody else felt that he had a reply or solution to the problem raised, he could pitch in for the idea with his solution. This proved to be a good breakthrough in moving to a structured discussion from a random one. However, this way of discussion required a lot of thought and research on part of the idea originator to answer the queries of fellow team mates. The team felt that we have not given enough thought to our ideas and needed deeper insights to yield fruitful results from these sessions. We needed a way to get around this. And again, Vishal to the rescue.!! Vishal proposed that each one of us write a Business Model (as used in Round 1 submissions) of our idea. This way, rather than just an idea, a member will be able to propose all the relevant components of the business to the team. The team can then brainstorm the ideas to discuss the challenges and other intricacies. I offered a solution to this that I will create a Google Docs Form where each member will fill all the aspects of his  idea. The results of the survey form shall be shared with each team member before the next session. With this, we concluded the session with a decision to e-meet again at 2 PM on 1st May to discuss the ideas. After the meeting concluded, I designed this form and asked each team member to give their responses. The response sheet has been shared with all team members. By yesterday evening, all team members had filled in their responses. Looking forward to the discussion session today. Updates from Today's session to follow in the next post.
Here is the form that I designed to collect ideas:-

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