Hot Stickers

Hot stickers are both a form of voting and room control. When used as a form of voting, we ask each workshop participant to place a single hot sticker on the one topic he or she deems to be most important within a given exercise. For example, we could list all the benefits of a product, then ask participants to vote on the benefit they felt was the most important.

Hot stickers and dot voting
Hot stickers and dot voting

Used in conjunction with dot voting, hot stickers help emphasize topics which may go underappreciated during an exercise. Dot voting is a great technique to indicate a consensus among participants, but it often fails to show which topics individual participants care about most. Hot stickers provide us a means to interrogate a subject on a per-participant level.

Hot Stickers
Group of hot stickers generated during a workshop

Hot stickers are also an effective way for a facilitator to control the room during a workshop. Inevitably, participants will raise off-topic issues. Sometimes an issue is contentious and the participant desires an immediate response. For example, you are creating a story map for ABC product, but a participant wants to complain about XYZ product. Such conversations may threaten to derail an exercise. When this occurs, we ask the participant to write down his or her issue, affix a hot sticker to it, then place it within a designated “Hot Issues” area (e.g. area of a white board, front of room, etc.) This behavior helps remedy the potential distraction, yet it acknowledges the importance of the participant’s issue. It’s a conversational IOU flagged for future follow up.

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