The 1-group-room loop (and the 1-pair-group-room loop)

What is it

The 1-group-room loop, also the 1-pair-group-room loop, is a process of ensuring that ideas or responses to tasks run through a process to ensure every individual has the opportunity to reflect on a task and contribute.

The benefits of this technique is that it:

  • encourages discussion and development of relationships in in-room workshops as people listen and share and get used to listening
  • helps those that are best working alone, and those who bounch off others. As each type gets a part of the process where their natural skills are needed

When to use it

In workshops, meetings and tasks where you and others need to run through a process and you want everyone to have a chance to contribute.

For example, you can use this technique when assumption mapping.

How to do it

Decide on which process you want teams to go through.

When planning which loop to use, be aware that the longer the loop, the more time it takes. Same with group sizes. You need someone keeping time but the discussion within a group can also be the most important outcome. So plan for that.

If you only have a single group, omit the group stage.

The process in it’s simplest form is to task people to go through the following phases:

Individually respond to a task
Group (and or pair)
Share with a pair or group their response. Removing duplicated and generating new ideas from discussion
Share those ideas and thoughts with the wider room to align everyone and share and generate new ideas and thoughts

1-group-room loop

This is the default process that we tend to use. We use a pair loop when we have more time and more people to introduce to each other. As the pair can build strong partnerships or rotated through the process.

  1. Decide how the loop will fit within your workshop or task
  2. Introduce to the room how the process will flow, so that there are no surprises. If you do several loops on different tasks. Highlight that. Make sure people are set up into groups.
  3. Start the “1” part of the loop: Introduce the task and that you want people to individually response to it. For example, individuals silently write down 1 idea per sticky note
  4. Give people a time limit and start the task
  5. Start the “group” loop: Tell people to share 1 by 1 their ideas with their group. Highlighting duplicates and grouping together ideas and thoughts as they go
  6. Give people a time limit and start second phase of the task. As time runs down, ensure groups ready to share their thoughts with the wider room
  7. Start the “room” loop: Bring people back to the room. Reminding them of the task. Go group by group collecting responses to the task. Remembering to make it easy to combine the responses from each group together later
  8. Finish the loop: Sum up the outcomes of the process and task

After you’ve completed the loop, you may want to move onto other tasks or introduce new phases of work.

For example, you may have used this loop to generate insights into what’s failing or not working currently in a product or service. You could follow that task and use those insights to help generate ideas (using another 1-group-room loop).

1-pair-group-room loop

The process is similar to the 1-group-room technique but you add another stage before getting a group to discuss their ideas. You ask people to share their thoughts and reponse to the task in pairs first, before moving onto groups.

Ensure to give people some time to introduce themselves the first time they are doing this and remind them of any time limits or requirements they have as they move into the pairs.

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