Solicit input from stakeholders and constituents.
Target Size: 10–50 people | Attributes: Conversational, Reflective, Pragmatic | Shorthand: “I want to gather feedback and figure out what’s next.”
Build in time for critical conversation. In-person feedback sessions can give community members a unique opportunity to engage with people in positions of power. Structure your event to give people face-time with critical stakeholders so participants feel heard and understood.
Keep people moving. We often structure our feedback sessions with multiple “station activities” to give people several ways to offer feedback and answer important questions. This allows us to break participants into smaller groups where people have more time to talk and more varied ways to engage. It also helps to physically move around the room periodically.
Write it down, then read it later. Recruit note-takers to take notes on structured conversations, and take photos of written responses from participants, including completed surveys and sticky notes. Take the time to systematically record and code the data so you can analyze key themes and ideas that emerged during the session.
Host more than one session. If possible, try to host multiple feedback sessions in multiple locations and at multiple times. For example, if we’re hosting three identical feedback sessions, we’ll schedule one in the morning, one at the lunch hour, and one in the evening. You might also offer a digital survey to people who cannot attend any of the in-person sessions.
- Develop an agenda
- Arrange in-person meetings
- Recruit diverse participants
- Ask good questions
- Take comprehensive notes
- Follow up afterward
Related Techniques: Affinity Clustering, Bullseye, Co-Creation Session, Concept Posters, Creative Matrix, Dot Voting, Experience Diagramming, Four Corners, History/Future Mapping, I wish, I wonder, Ignite Talks, Impact/Effort Matrix, POEMS, Personas, Plus-Delta, Pre-Mortem, Quietstorming, Rose Thorn Bud, Round Robin, Stakeholder Mapping, Statement Starters, Trading Cards, Tuning Protocol, What? So What? Now What?, World Cafe
Sprout designed and led a series of events to gather community feedback about local efforts related to My Brother’s Keeper, a national initiative dedicated to expanding opportunities for boys and young men of color. Events featured a brief presentation followed by a series of feedback station activities.