We love all things visual and creative! An all- time favorite template, Top of the Mountain, is simple yet empowers conversations that create knowledge and inspired action.
The “Top of the Mountain” graphic allows you to use visual thinking to refine, develop or assess what’s working/not working about an idea. Working as a team you quickly and visually sort out what’s working, see what other potential it might have, articulate any problems or concerns and then immediately apply solutions (or opportunities). The visual metaphor allows groups the freedom to explore the good, knowing they’ll have a chance to play the critic and voice their concerns to build it into something better.
This versatile template can hold the space and focus conversation to make things better, improve an idea, and provide constructive feedback. Here is one way to work with Top of the Mountain in the Development phase of innovation. Often referred to in the creativity field as PPCO, here’s how we make it visual:
- Focus on the Positive, what works or the benefits (represented by the reaching the “Top of the Mountain”). Encourage everyone to stay open to how the idea might be great. The team identifies all of the things that are good about the idea or address the challenge, to reach the goal*.
- Then, identify the Possibilities or other things that might be peeking out from behind the cloud like a ray of sunshine. What aren’t you sure about, but see as potential.
- Next (and this is crucial) – air all Concerns (on the mountain range). Play devil’s advocate about all of the reasons the idea might not work, make notes of what needs to be overcome in order to reach the summit.
- The final step is to utilize the pathway for all possible solutions and Opportunities. Work with the team to identify one or more possible solutions to each of the concerns on the mountain. What information do you need or what additional features need to be included?
- Now step back and look at the bigger picture, what do you notice and where does passion and creativity lead the group, where does it inspire you? It’s time to converge and move forward with the refined and improved idea (plus a bunch more new ideas too).
This favorite tool is simple and so effective. Who’s ready to give it a shot and see some amazing results?
*(we love to use sticky notes – with one idea on each. More about this on our website)