Collective Notebook (CNB)

Each participant is assigned the task of finding a solution for a problem over an open period. A notebook (both is possible, an analogue or electronic notebook) is used which contains a description of the problem on the first pages. The participants should always carry the note-book with them in order to be able to record spontaneously emerging ideas.


  1. The coordinator provides each participant with a notebook describing the procedure and giving a broad problem statement.
  2. Each participant writes one idea per day in the notebook for a month.
  3. At regular intervals during the month, participants are fed with related ‘priming’ information from experts, the literature, colleagues, etc.
  4. After the end of the open period, they provide a brief written summary.
  5. The coordinator collects the notebooks, and categorizes and summarizes the ideas.
  6. Participants can then see all the notebooks and the coordinator’s report, and there may be a general group discussion. (Martin et al. 2010) The participants can also exchange their notebooks during the implementation phase.


For an appropriate implementation of the method a sufficient number of analogue or electronic notebooks are required.


The outcome of this method can be new ideas and new scenarios.

Pros and cons


  • The participants don’t influence each other
  • The problem doesn’t have to be solved in the office
  • Everybody can generate their ideas in the respective native language in the first place
  • Complex issues can be addressed.

Disadvantages: This method takes a lot of time.

Complementary methods

The CNB-method includes some components of the Delphi-method, Brainstorming and the 6-3-5-Method.