We are often asked by potential clients (usually at a pitch) how we go about collecting information from stakeholders in order to ensure all opinions are heard and considered during the beginning phases of the project. The answer to that question of course is "it depends." It depends on the amount of stakeholders the client wants involved as well as overall scope of the project.
A recent good example of how we get information gathered at FGI, is a recent brainstorming meeting held with the Washington State Bar Association. 70 lawyers in 2 days = A LOT of information and most certainly organized chaos! Our basic approach was to gather 35 lawyers on each day and sit them 6 to a table. We had 5-6 questions for the large group that we wanted answered in their small groups. There was a different method of information gathering for each questions, and needless to say, everyone actually had fun!
The information we gathered from the stakeholders was then charted and prioritized back at the FGI offices, where we were able to determine the architectural hierarchy of the site. Because there are so many stakeholders involved and while we hear all opinions, not all are used - this process can take up to 3 months. This certainly is necessary for clients of this scale and will in fact be rewarding through the development process.
Team 4 discussed design theory by getting creative and mocking up what they want to see!
Team 6 discusses their results from a personal brainstorm about what they go to the current site specifically for.
Groups work together to answer specific questions about the purpose of visitors to the WSBA site.
Team 5 shares results together before presenting to the group.