Crawford’s Slip Writing Method

Crawford's Slip Writing Method is a powerful system to gather ideas from large groups while avoiding the chaos of traditional brainstorming.

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What is Crawford’s Slip Writing Method?

Crawford’s Slip Writing Method is a powerful brainstorming technique that aims to harness the power of ideas within an organization. Your employees are a valuable source of ideas for improving your business, from product and service development to cost-saving measures and efficiency improvements.

However, it can be challenging to create an environment that encourages open and supportive idea-sharing without letting a few dominant voices drown out the rest.

That’s where Crawford’s Slip Writing Method comes in.

This simple yet powerful system enables you to gather ideas from large groups of people while avoiding the chaos and noise of traditional brainstorming meetings.

By providing slips of paper for participants to write their ideas, you can ensure that everyone has an equal chance to be heard, including the quieter and more introverted members of your organization.

The process involves handing out slips of paper to participants, who can then write down their ideas.

The slips of paper are collected and reviewed by management.

While there may be duplicates among the ideas collected, there may also be a few unique and potentially game-changing ideas that would have been missed in a traditional brainstorming meeting.

How to implement Crawford’s Slip Writing Technique?

Implementing Crawford’s Slip Writing Method is a straightforward process that requires minimal preparation. Here are the steps involved:

  1. Introduce the technique: Explain to the group how Crawford’s Slip Writing Method works and why you’ve chosen to use it.
  2. Provide materials: Provide each participant with slips of paper and pens. Alternatively, you can use a digital platform to create and share virtual slips.
  3. Set a time limit: Set a time limit for idea generation, usually between 5-10 minutes.
  4. Write down ideas: Instruct participants to write down one idea per slip of paper. Encourage them to be as creative and innovative as possible.
  5. Collect the slips: Collect all the slips of paper and place them in a hat or box.
  6. Select slips: Randomly select one slip at a time and read it out loud to the group.
  7. Build on ideas: Encourage the group to build on the idea or come up with new ones based on the slip that was read.
  8. Repeat: Repeat steps 6-7 until all the slips have been read and discussed.
  9. Consolidate ideas: Review all the ideas generated and consolidate them into categories or themes. This will help identify commonalities and prioritize the most promising concepts.
  10. Take action: Decide on next steps and take action on the most promising ideas.

Advantages of Crawford’s Slip Writing Method

There are several advantages to using Crawford’s Slip Writing Technique, including:

  • Encourages participation: The technique encourages participation from all members of a group or team, regardless of their personality type or communication style. It provides a platform for quieter or introverted team members to share their ideas without being overshadowed by more assertive colleagues.
  • Promotes creativity: This technique can be especially useful for generating a wide range of creative ideas, as participants are encouraged to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to problems.
  • Easy to facilitate: The method is easy to facilitate, and requires minimal preparation or materials. All that is needed are slips of paper and a receptacle for collecting them.
  • Provides anonymity: The anonymity of the process allows participants to freely express their ideas without fear of judgment or criticism from others. This can lead to a more open and productive brainstorming session.
  • Generates a large number of ideas: Since each participant writes down their ideas on separate slips of paper, the method can generate a large number of ideas in a relatively short period of time.
  • Allows for flexibility: The slip writing technique can be adapted to suit different group sizes and settings, from small teams to large organizations. It can also be used in combination with other brainstorming techniques.

The Crawford’s Slip Writing Method is a simple and effective way to promote collaboration and generate fresh ideas in a group setting.

Disadvantages of Crawford’s Slip Writing Technique

Some of the disadvantages of Crawford’s Slip Writing Technique include:

  • Limited creativity: This technique may not be as effective in generating truly innovative and creative ideas compared to other brainstorming methods. The process of writing ideas on slips of paper can be restrictive and may limit the development of more complex or abstract ideas.
  • Time-consuming: Collecting and reviewing slips of paper can be a time-consuming process, especially if there are a large number of participants or ideas. This can lead to delays in decision-making and implementation.
  • Lack of interaction: The slip writing technique does not facilitate direct interaction between participants, which can limit the exchange of ideas and the ability to build on each other’s contributions.
  • Limited feedback: Since slips of paper are collected anonymously, there is no opportunity for participants to receive feedback on their ideas or to engage in a dialogue with others to refine their ideas.
  • Difficulty in categorizing ideas: With a large number of slips of paper, it can be difficult to categorize and prioritize ideas, which can make it challenging to identify the most important and relevant ideas.

Overall, while Crawford’s Slip Writing Technique can be a useful tool for idea generation, it may not be the best fit for every situation and organization. It’s important to consider the specific needs and dynamics of the group when choosing a brainstorming method.

Crawford’s Slip Writing Technique Worksheet

Step 1: Define the problem or topic for brainstorming

Write down a clear and concise problem statement or topic to guide the brainstorming process. For example:

  • “How can we improve customer satisfaction?”
  • “What new products or services should we offer in the next year?”
  • “How can we reduce operating costs while maintaining quality?”

Step 2: Gather a diverse group of participants

Choose a diverse group of participants from various departments, levels, and backgrounds to ensure a variety of perspectives and ideas.

Step 3: Explain the rules and process

Explain the Crawford’s Slip Writing Technique process and rules to the group. Here’s an example:

  • Each participant will receive slips of paper and a pen.
  • Write down one idea per slip of paper.
  • Fold the slip of paper and place it in the hat or box.
  • The facilitator will randomly select one slip at a time and read it out loud.
  • The group will then discuss the idea and build on it or generate new ideas.
  • Respect each other’s ideas and avoid criticism or judgment.

Step 4: Set a time limit

Set a time limit for the brainstorming session to keep the group focused and productive. For example, 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the complexity of the problem or topic.

Step 5: Collect and review the ideas

Collect all the slips of paper and review the ideas generated by the group. Categorize the ideas into themes and prioritize them based on their potential impact, feasibility, and alignment with the organization’s goals and values.

Step 6: Follow up and implementation

Share the results of the brainstorming session with the group and communicate next steps for implementing the selected ideas. Follow up with the participants and track the progress and outcomes of the implemented ideas.


Crawford’s Slip Writing Method is a simple and effective way to generate and capture ideas from a diverse group of participants. By using slips of paper and a hat or box, this technique encourages equal participation and avoids groupthink or dominant voices.

Use this worksheet to guide your next brainstorming session and unleash the creativity and innovation within your organization.