1-2-4-all is a great mechanism for time management and prioritization. It combines individual reflection with teamwork towards a few selected items. It brings a good balance on time and collaboration while encouraging participants to discuss the most appealing ideas.
Running the activity:
1. Establish what the card is about (for example: a card can have 3 ideas; or a card has a proposal for improvement)
2. Ask participants to individually write their cards (Round 1)
3. Ask participants to pair up, compare their cards, talk and then either select or write new cards for the pair (Round 2)
4. Ask participants to join two pairs (forming groups of 4 people), compare their cards, talk and then either select or write new cards for the group (Round 3)
5. For large groups, consider doing more rounds.
6. Ask participants to present each of the selected top cards to the whole group (Round 4).
This mechanism is very powerful to engage large groups of people into a few selected items.
The 1-2-4-All mechanism has been described with this name in the Liberating Structures book. It follows the same structure as described in the Plan of Action activity. Although, the Plan of Acton used the 1-2-4-all specifically for action planning. 1-2-4-All besides having a better name, is described in a way that can be applied in combination of many activities, therefore, it has been marked as a filtering activity.
A common variation is to use 1-3-6-All, which works in groups multiple of three instead of two.
Remote-team advice: This activity works well for remote teams. Use the team’s remote communication tool to pair up participants in separate chat rooms, then bring participants together incrementally until the whole group is in the same room again.