The Science

INTJenuity’s methods aren’t different for the sake of being different. Through decades of study, and hundreds of engagements with real clients solving real problems, we’ve identified techniques that yield superior results. 


Our methods leverage techniques which are proven to achieve optimal outcomes:

Mind Mapping

Branching radial diagrams have been used for centuries as a means to organize and convey information. The term “mind map” was introduced in the 1970’s by psychology author and TV personality Tony Buzan on his BBC TV program Use Your Head.

Over the past 50 years, neurological research has expanded our understanding of how the human brain functions. Thanks to the work of Nobel laureate Roger Sperry and others, we’ve learned about “left brain” vs. “right brain” functions. The cerebral cortex uses a variety of “cortical skills” including “left brain” skills (logic, words, lists, lines, numbers, analysis) and “right brain” skills (imagination, color, daydreaming, spatial, “Gestalt”). This combination of skills makes us uniquely human. While most of us tend to rely on a favored subset of these skills, we can perform at our best when we apply of the full breadth of our brain’s capability.

Gestalt psychology is a theory of mind, that describes the mind’s ability to consider objects in their entirety vs. as independent details. It is the source of Kurt Koffka’s phrase, “the whole is other than the sum of the parts.” Gestalt psychology leads us to first consider problems holistically, vs. initially focusing on isolated parts of a problem.

Mind mapping is so impactful in brainstorming and problem solving because it exercises a combination of the brain’s cortical skills, and it drives rapid development of a shared “big picture” (gestalt) understanding of a problem. Our Big Picture Workshop leverages mind mapping to create a unique and highly impactful experience.

Technology of Participation (ToP)®

The Institute of Cultural Affairs is an organization founded in the 1960’s with a mission of enabling social and societal change through collaboration and action. The ICA’s work involves bringing together diverse groups, facilitating communication and collaborative problem solving. Over the decades, the ICA has developed an set of structured facilitation methods to enable this work, known as Technology of Participation, or ToP®.

ToP includes the ORID Method, Focused Conversation Method, Consensus Workshop Method, and other methods designed to:

  • Recognize and honor contributors
  • Deal with more data in less time
  • Pool individual contributions into useful patterns
  • Welcome diversity; minimize conflict

The ORID Method is the foundation of other ToP methods. When we process information optimally, we move through four different modes of thought:

  • Objective: facts and data; what we perceive
  • Reflective: our internal response to this objective data; how we “feel” about it
  • Interpretive: evaluating the “meaning” or significance of what we’ve observed; the implications
  • Decisional: what actions are appropriate; what has been learned?; what do we do about it?

By structuring conversations and collaborative activities according to this flow, we reinforce our natural ability to process information.

The Focused Conversation Method (FCM) applies ORID to drive deep and insightful conversation on a topic. Participants are encouraged to consider all four aspects of an issue. FCM is often utilized within INTJenuity’s workshops.

The Consensus Workshop Method (CWM) applies ORID to a collaborative brainstorming and analysis approach. A Focused Conversation is led, related to the topic at hand. Then a structured method is applied in facilitation of a group toward answering a specific question, provided at the outset of the session. This method utilizes individual brainstorming, small team discussion and prioritization of ideas, grouping of related ideas, naming of the groups, and identification of findings and next steps. The method drives intensive participation by everyone, and equalizes participants so all voices are heard.

The INTJenuity Deep Dive Workshop leverages CWM plus other best practices and proprietary techniques.

ToP methods have been applied and refined in tens of thousands of sessions, by thousands of facilitators, in many different community and organizational settings, over several decades. While mostly applied within the social sector, they are equally applicable toward solving problems in a corporate context. ToP’s ability to neutralize hierarchy, and to drive collaboration in settings where communication hurdles exist, can be truly transformative to an organization. We’ve seen it happen.

Technology of Participation and ToP are registered trademarks of the Institute of Cultural Affairs.