How to Use Candor

To help you get the most out of Candor, I'd like to walk you through how I use Candor to facilitate meetings and brainstorming sessions. You can tailor Candor to your specific needs, but this is a good general approach. The most important element of Candor is that you decouple the generation of ideas from the evaluation of ideas. This can be done in four steps.

Step 1 - The first step is to have people generate ideas on their own. You can ask people to generate ideas before the meeting begins or devote the first 5 minutes of the meeting to generating ideas privately.

Step 2 - Put all the ideas on the table. Have each person briefly describe all the ideas they generated. Encourage the team to keep the descriptions brief; there will be time for discussion later. It's critical that at this stage people aren't evaluating ideas, they are simply hearing all the ideas people came up with. At this stage I like to use the web app to project all the cards people generated. This gives people a visual aid and keeps people from editing or suppressing ideas they fear might be unpopular.

Step 3 - Discuss all the ideas. At this stage, you can have an open discussion of the ideas. At this stage, you can eliminate ideas that don't stand up to scrutiny, modify existing ideas to make them better, cluster ideas into different categories, and add new ideas that emerge during the discussion.

Step 4 - Vote. After the discussion, use Candor to vote on the ideas. If a clear winner emerges, you can stop there – you've found your winner. If a few ideas have strong support, you can now focus your discussion on the most popular ideas before voting again.