Magazine article Parks & Recreation

IQing, a Technique Wrapped in a Navy Sea Story

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

IQing, a Technique Wrapped in a Navy Sea Story

Article excerpt

"Mr. Benson, I want this to be the best pre-deployment party this ship has ever had. Am I clear?"

"Aye, aye, sir." The ship's young recreation officer did a quick about face and entered the passageway outside of the captain's cabin.

A rattled Ensign Benson slumped against the bulkhead and thought nervously to himself, "How am I going to pull this off?" Later that day he called the naval station's Fleet Recreation Coordinator (FRC), a young civilian recreational specialist in the MWR Department. During the conversation, Benson mentioned the pre-deployment party. Sympathetic to the uneasiness in the recreation officer's voice the FRC promptly offered to help. Benson took the FRC up on the offer.

The first thing the FRC wanted to do was to interview the captain, the ship's executive officer and the command master chief. "Why?" asked a wide eyed Benson, "the skipper knows what he wants and told me to deliver."

"I need more information to go on before we can start planning." said the FRC in a calming voice. The FRC knew the captain had a deeper purpose. They scheduled a short interview to get at the root reasons for the "best ever" pre-deployment party.

At the interview meeting FRC asked why the CO wanted a pre-deployment party. He didn't let the CO off the hook with "its traditional." Through a series of respectful yet explorative questions, the real social reasons started to emerge. The captain wanted a party where the crew and their families could interact in a bonding type of activity. The ship was headed to the Indian Ocean in harm's way. The families faced long stressful separations from their Sailor spouses and parents. The captain also wanted to do something that would involve everyone in a caring and sharing, extended family situation. He definitely did not want a beer-ball game picnic.

The social objectives were determined to be bonding among crew and families, a sharing/caring for each other type of activity. And, of course, fun in an innovative outdoor recreation event.

Armed with the results of the interview, he suggested that Benson get seven to nine members of the crew together who were active in the ship's recreation program. There should be a mix of non-rated Sailors, petty officer, chiefs, and junior officers in the group.

The FRC was skilled at facilitating group sessions, but the FRC wanted to try a new brainstorming technique learned from an Armed Forces Recreation Society's training session called IDEA CUEING (IQing). IDEA CUEING or IQing combines traditional brainstorming rules with elements of the Nominal Group Technique.

The FRC as the facilitator wrote out the brainstorming question. The question had to communicate a general notion of the desired outcomes of the event without being so tight that creativity would be stifled. The FRC wrote this question: "How do we create a pre-deployment party that will bring crew and families closer together in a caring and sharing recreational event?"

The FRC wrote the question on a flip chart as well as running it off as a heading on 20 blank pieces of paper. "Brainstorm" appeared on 10 sheets under the question, "cues" on the other set of 10 sheets. Opening the session, the FRC welcomed the participants and related the desired outputs of the session (see Fig. 1).

FIGURE 1

STEP 1 Individuals are asked to internally and silently brainstorm the question for five minutes writing down their ideas, however wild, on the sheet labeled "brainstorm."

STEP 2 The facilitator starts listing on a flip chart the ideas participants wrote on their "brainstorm" sheets. …

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