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Facilitation Tool Under The SpotLight: 1-2-4 All Method

What is the 1-2-4-All method?

This facilitation technique is basically a variant of the popular Brainstorming method and aims to breed ideas by gradually encouraging team members to think, first individually, then in pairs and then increasingly in large groups. It aims to create solutions in a collaborative manner, starting from a given topic.

Why I like it?

It is highly participatory and enages everyone simultaneously in generating questions, ideas and suggestions. I like that it is also a great ice-breaker (especially for larger groups where persons may be shy to speak in front of everyone). By starting of in silent reflection, then pairs, this method gives more intimacy, puts participants at ease and increases interaction. In sum, the method:

  • Engage every individual in searching for answers

  • Avoid overhelping and the overcontrol-dependency vicious cycle

  • Create safe spaces for expression, diminish power differentials

  • Express “silent” conversations and expand diversity of inputs

  • Enrich quality of observations and insights before expression

  • Build naturally toward consensus or shared understanding

How is the technique done?

  • Silent self-reflection by individuals on a shared challenge, framed as a question (e.g., What opportunities do YOU see for making progress on this challenge? How would you handle this situation? What ideas or actions do you recommend?) 1 min.

  • Generate ideas in pairs, building on ideas from self-reflection. 2 min.

  • Share and develop ideas from your pair in foursomes (notice similarities and differences). 7 min.

  • Ask, “What is one idea that stood out in your conversation?” Each group shares one important idea with all (repeat cycle as needed). 5 min.

Facilitation methd 124 All

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Liberating Structure developed by Henri Lipmanowicz and Keith McCandless

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