Flashlight

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Type Team Size
Collaborative Tools Software Personal Skills Productivity Tools 1 2-10 11-30 30+

What, Why & When

The flashlight method is used during sessions to get an immediate picture and evaluation of where the group members stand in relation to a specific question, the general course of discussion, or how they personally feel at that moment.

Goals

Have a quick (and maybe fun) interlude to identify:
Is everyone on the same page?
Are there important issues that have been neglected so far?
Is there unspoken dissonance?
Is there an elephant in the room?
What are we actually talking about?

How to

...do a basic flashlight

  • Flashlight rounds can be initiated by the team leader or a team member.
  • Everyone is asked to share their opinion in a short 2-3 sentence statement.
  • During the flashlight round everyone is listening and only questions for clarification are allowed. Arising issues can be discussed after the flashlight round ended.
Please note further
  • The flashlight can be used as a starting round or energizer in between.
  • The team leader should be aware of good timing, usefulness at this point, and the setting for the flashlight.
  • The method is quick and efficient, and allows every participant to voice their own point without interruption. This especially benefits the usually quiet and shy voices to be heard. On the downside, especially the quiet and shy participants can feel uncomfortable being forced to talk to the whole group. Knowing the group dynamics is key to having successful flashlight rounds in small and big groups.
  • The request to keep ones own statement short and concise may distract people from listening carefully, because everyone is crafting their statements in their heads instead. To avoid that distraction, start by giving the question and let everyone think for 1-2 minutes.
  • Flashlights in groups with 30+ participants can work well, however, the rounds get very long, and depending on the flashed topic can also get inefficient. Breaking into smaller groups with a subsequent sysnthesis should be considered.
  • To create a relaxed atmosphere try creative questions like:
    What song would you choose to characterize the current state of discussion, and why?
    ...

Links

https://www.methodenkartei.uni-oldenburg.de/uni_methode/blitzlicht/
https://www.bpb.de/lernen/formate/methoden/62269/methodenkoffer-detailansicht?mid=115


The author of this entry is Dagmar Mölleken.