A method of systematic brainstorming which, like brainstorming, aims to stimulate the participants in an idea-finding session. It was developed by Helmut Schlicksupp in order to exploit the possible synergistic additional performance of problem-solving groups. SIL is the abbreviation for "Systematic Integration of Solution Elements". Such Synergy effects can be achieved especially with more complex solutions, because many individual ideas of the design can flow into them, and are particularly desirable when there are only a limited number of meaningful solutions to a problem and therefore the quality of each individual solution is of great importance.
Individual and group work
With the SIL method, individual and group work alternate. Its application focuses on consistently working out the particularly useful suggestions of the meeting participants with regard to a problem posed and integrating them into superior overall solutions.
An idea generation group with 6 to 8 participants is beneficial for the application of the SIL method. After the problem has been analyzed in detail and precisely defined, each participant designs a solution that is as detailed as possible. About 10 to 15 minutes are available for this.
Then the first participant presents his solution in key words and possibly additional sketches.
In the discussion that follows, those elements will be highlighted that all participants consider to be particularly beneficial. Then the second participant explains his suggestion, which is dealt with in the same way. Finally, the group tries to design an initial integrated solution that incorporates all the benefits of both ideas. Once this has happened, a third participant presents his solution. This is also visualized and examined for its special advantages. The group then tries again to include the good aspects of this solution in a further developed second integrated solution, ie to incorporate the advantageous aspects of solutions one and two.
The group proceeds according to this principle until the initial solutions of all participants have been explained and processed. The result is a well-engineered solution that is the result of a real cooperative effort by the group and in which all participants find themselves with their good thoughts.
The SIL method has proven to be functional especially for problems that require somewhat more complex solutions, the potential variety of which appears to be limited and a high quality and maturity of solutions appear to be desirable.