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Force Field Analysis

Force Field Analysis
Force Field image by Seth Starner

Object of Play
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus asserted that change alone is unchanging. This is certainly true in today’s competitive global marketplace. As employees, we’re often responsible for understanding and even anticipating change in order to stay ahead. The Force Field Analysis game is a time-tested way to evaluate the forces that affect change which can ultimately affect our organizations. Making a deliberate effort to see the system surrounding change can help us steer the change in the direction we want it to move.

Number of Players: 5–30

Duration of Play: 30 minutes to 1.5 hours

How to Play
1. Before the meeting, draw a picture of a potential change in the middle of a large sheet of paper or a whiteboard. You can draw a literal representation (e.g., a manufacturing plant) or a more abstract representation (e.g., a metaphor). Label the picture to ensure that everyone participating will be clear on the topic.

2. On the top left of the page, write the phrase “Forces FOR Change”. On the top right, write the phrase “Forces AGAINST Change”.

3. Draw arrows on both sides pointing toward the image in the middle. These will be the areas that contain categories generated by the group, so make the arrows large enough to write 1–2-inch letters inside. If you like the “wow” factor of drawing live with the group but you’re not yet comfortable with freehand, sketch the arrows in pencil or yellow marker and trace them during the meeting.

4. When the group is gathered, introduce the change topic and explain that the goal of the Force Field Analysis game is to evaluate the feasibility of that change.

5. Ask the players to take 5–10 minutes and quietly generate ideas about what elements are driving the change. Tell them to include one idea per sticky note.

6. Ask the players to take 5–10 minutes and quietly generate ideas about what elements are restraining the change.

7. Draw a simple scale with a range of 1 to 5 on your main flip chart. Indicate that 1 means the force is weak and 5 means the force is strong. Ask them to review each idea FOR change and add a number to that sticky note, weighting that idea. Ask them to review each idea AGAINST change and add a number to that sticky note, weighting that idea.

8. Gather all of the sticky notes FOR change and post them to any flat surface viewable by the players.

9. With the group’s collaboration, sort the ideas based on their affinity to other ideas. For example, if they produced three sticky notes that say “Can’t continue production at current cost”, “Materials cost too high”, and “Overexpenditure on production”, cluster those ideas together. Create multiple clusters until you have clustered the majority of the sticky notes. Place outliers separate from the clusters but still in playing
range.

10. After the sorting activity is complete, begin a group conversation to create an overarching category for each cluster. For example, an overarching category for the cluster from step 9 might be “unsustainable costs”.

11. As the group makes suggestions and finds agreement on categories, write those categories inside the arrows on the main visual.

12. As you categorize each cluster, direct the group’s attention to the numeric scores within that cluster. Get an average for each cluster and write that number next to the related category in the arrow.

13. Repeat steps 8–12 using the sticky notes generated AGAINST change.

14. Add the quantities for and against change and write the totals at the bottom and on the appropriate side of the sheet.

15. Summarize the overall findings with the group, including the numeric totals, and discuss the implications of whether change should occur.

Force Field example

Strategy
Often when you play the Force Field Analysis game, it will not be the first time the players have considered the change under discussion. Many of them will have preconceived beliefs about whether the change should occur. So, be aware of group dynamics—whether they’re eager for or resistant to the change. If you sense that they’re eager, encourage them to give equal consideration to forces against it. If they seem reluctant, encourage them to imagine their wildest dream with respect to this change and describe what’s already in place to support it. Don’t let employees with fixed perspectives on either side dominate the conversation.

This game is about exploring the viability of change in an open-minded way. So, be sure to acknowledge and discuss any ideas that end up as outliers in the clusters—they frequently turn out to be valuable by offering unforeseen perspectives. Along that same line, don’t assume that the numeric totals resolutely answer the question of whether change should occur. The totals are another gauge by which to measure where the group may stand. Use them as fodder for further conversation and evaluation. And if you want to take the evaluation further, ask the group to look for meta-categories after they’ve brainstormed the categories within the arrows. Meta-categories should be a level higher than the categories generated from the clusters. They could include “politics”, “economics”, “company culture”, or “mid-level management”. Seeing meta-categories can also help the group determine where the bulk of the evaluation may need to be focused.

This game is based on the Force Field Analysis framework developed by Kurt Lewin.

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SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis

Object of Play
In business, it can be easier to have certainty around what we want, but more difficult to understand what’s impeding us in getting it. The SWOT Analysis is a long-standing technique of looking at what we have going for us with respect to a desired end state, as well as what we could improve on. It gives us an opportunity to gauge approaching opportunities and dangers, and assess the seriousness of the conditions that affect our future. When we understand those conditions, we can influence what comes next. So, if you need to evaluate your organization or team’s current likelihood of success relative to an objective.

Number of Players: 5–20

Duration of Play: 1–2 hours

How to Play
1. Before the meeting, write the phrase “Desired End State” and draw a picture of what it might look like on a piece of flip-chart paper.

2. Create a separate four-square quadrant using four sheets of flip-chart paper. If you think the complexity of the discussion and the number of players warrants more quadrants, create as many as you’d like.

3. At the top left of the quadrant, write the word “STRENGTHS” and draw a picture depicting that concept. For example, for “STRENGTHS” you might draw a simple picture of someone holding up a car with one hand. (Yes, you’re allowed to exaggerate.) Ask the players to take 5–10 minutes and quietly generate ideas about strengths they have with respect to the desired end state and write them on sticky notes, one idea per sticky note.

4. At the bottom left of the quadrant, write the word “WEAKNESSES” and draw a picture depicting that concept. Ask the players again to take 5–10 minutes to quietly generate ideas about weaknesses around the desired end state and write them on sticky notes.

5. At the top right of the quadrant, write the word “OPPORTUNITIES” and draw a picture. Ask the players to take 5–10 minutes to write ideas about opportunities on sticky notes.

6. At the bottom right of the quadrant, write the word “THREATS” and draw a picture depicting that concept. Ask the players to use this last set of 5–10 minutes to generate ideas about perceived threats and write them on sticky notes.

7. When you sense a lull in sticky-note generation, gather all of the sticky notes and post them on a flat surface that is near the quadrant and is viewable by the players. Be sure to keep the sticky notes in their original groups of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

8. Start with the STRENGTHS group of sticky notes and, with the players’ collaboration, sort the ideas based on their affinity to other ideas. For example, if they produced three sticky notes that say “good sharing of information,” “information transparency,” and “people willing to share data,” cluster those ideas together. Create multiple clusters until you have clustered the majority of the sticky notes. Place outliers separate from the clusters but still in playing range. (At this stage, it’s important to note that if you have a group with five players or less, you can eliminate the sticky-note clustering process and simply write and draw their responses for each category as the players verbalize them. After you’ve gone through each section of the quadrant, players can dot vote.) Repeat the clustering and sorting process for the other categories in this order: WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES, and finally, THREATS.

9. After the sorting and clustering is complete, start a group conversation to create a broad category for each smaller cluster. For example, a category for the cluster from step 8 might be “communication”. As the group makes suggestions and finds agreement on categories, write those categories in the appropriate quadrant.

10. When the players feel comfortable with the categories, ask them to approach the quadrant and dot vote next to two or three categories in each square, indicating that they believe those to be the most relevant for that section. Circle or highlight the information that got the most votes and make a note of it with the group.

11. Summarize the overall findings in conversation with the players and ask them to discuss the implications around the desired end state. Engage the group in a creative exercise wherein they evaluate weaknesses and threats positively, as though their presence is doing them a favor. Ask them thought-provoking
questions, like “What if your competition didn’t exist?” and “How does this threat have the potential to make the organization stronger?”

Optional activity: Lead the group in creating silly slogans for the desired end state. Let them be ridiculous: “Our lamps will light up the world.” The idea is to create humor and excitement around possibilities.

Strategy
The SWOT Analysis is at its best when the group is unabashed in its provision and analysis of content. The players are less likely to be shy about their strengths, but they may struggle to suggest weaknesses due to sensitivity to other players or to blind spots in their own thinking. Frame the notion of “weakness” to mean something that can be improved upon. Similarly, a “threat” is something that can act as a catalyst for performance improvement. Let the group know that the higher the quality of their contributions, the better they will be able to evaluate what’s on the horizon. You’ll have a good sense that
the game was successful when you hear the group thoughtfully consider the data and express insights they didn’t have before.

This game was inspired by Albert Humphrey’s traditional SWOT Analysis.

Online SWOT Analysis

SWOT AnalysisHere is another image of the SWOT Analysis Game. But this one is special – clicking on this image will start an “instant play” game at www.innovationgames.com. In this game, there will be four different icons that you can drag on your online SWOT Analysis to capture your thinking. These icons are as follows:

  • Rocket ships represent opportunities.
  • The fit person represents strengths.
  • The weak person represents weaknesses.
  • The bomb represents threats.

We’ve organized this game so that the regions will capture where you’ve placed each of ideas.

Keep in mind that that this is a collaborative game. This means that you can invite other players to play. And when they drag something around – you’ll see it in real time!

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Impact & Effort Matrix

 

Impact & Effort Matrix, originally uploaded by dgray_xplane.

Object of Play
In this decision-making exercise, possible actions are mapped based on two factors: effort required to implement and potential impact. Some ideas are costly, but may have a bigger long-term payoff than short-term actions. Categorizing ideas along these lines is a useful technique in decision making, as it obliges contributors to balance and evaluate suggested actions before committing to them.

Number of Players: Based on small groups, but can scale to any size

Duration of Play: 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the group

How to Play
Given a goal, a group may have a number of ideas for how to achieve it. To open the exercise, frame the goal in terms of a “What to do” or “What we need” question. This may sound as simple as “What do we need to reach our goal?” Ask the group to generate ideas individually on sticky notes. Then, using Post-Up, ask them to present their ideas back to the group by placing them within a 2×2 matrix that
is organized by impact and effort: Impact: The potential payoff of the action, vs. Effort: The cost of taking the action

Strategy
As participants place their ideas into the matrix, the group may openly discuss the position of elements. It is not uncommon for an idea to be bolstered by the group and to move up in potential impact or down in effort. In this respect, the category of high impact, low effort will often hold the set of ideas that the group is most agreed upon and committed to.

The source of the Impact & Effort Matrix game is unknown.

Impact & Effort

Clicking on this image will bring you to an “instant game” at innovationgames.com, where you can play Impact & Effort Matrix online. The same image will be used as the matrix, which has a different impact-effort combination in each quadrant.

• High Impact, Low Effort: The best ideas go here!
• High Impact, High Effort: Further study is likely required.
• Low Impact, High Effort: Probably best to avoid these.
• Low Impact, Low Effort: Further study is likely required.

The light bulbs you will see at the upper left corner of the chart represent ideas. Simply add an idea to the chart by dragging a light bulb to its corresponding quadrant and describing what it is.

All moves can be seen in real time by each participant, so everyone can collaborate to edit the descriptions and positions of the posted strategies. Communicate using the integrated chat facility to work together and form useful ideas.

 

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Draw the Problem

Bill Keaggy sketching

Object of Play
On any given day, we prioritize the problems that get our attention. Problems that are vague or misunderstood have a harder time passing our internal tests of what matters and, as a result, go unaddressed and unsolved. Often, meetings that address problem-solving skip this critical step: defining the problem in a way that is not only clear but also compelling enough to make people care about solving it. Running this short drawing exercise at the beginning of a meeting will help get the laptops closed and the participants engaged with their purpose.

Number of Players: Works best with small groups of 6–10 participants

Duration of Play: 20–30 minutes


How to Play
1. Each participant should have a large index card or letter-sized piece of paper. After introducing the topic of the meeting, ask the participants to think about the problem they are here to solve. As they do so, ask them to write a list of items helping to explain the problem. For example, they may think about a “day in the life” of the problem or an item that represents the problem as a whole.

2. After a few minutes of this thinking and reflection, ask the participants to flip over their paper and draw a picture of the problem, as they would explain it to a peer. They may draw a simple diagram or something more metaphorical; there are no prizes or punishments for good or bad artistry. The drawing should simply assist in explaining the problem.

3. When everyone is finished, have the participants post their drawings on the wall and explain them to each other. While the group shares, note any common elements. After the exercise, the group should reflect on the similarities and differences, and work toward a shared understanding of what the problem looks like to each other.

Strategy
This warm-up does not result in a problem definition that will satisfy an engineer; rather, it engages participants in defining the challenge in a simplified form. It is a first step in bringing a group together under a common purpose, elevating the problem above the noise to become something they care to solve.

The Draw the Problem game is credited to James Macanufo.

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Context Map

CAD Environmental Scan

Object of Play
We don’t truly have a good grasp of a situation until we see it in a fuller context. The Context Map is designed to show us the external factors, trends, and forces at work surrounding an organization. Because once we have a systemic view of the external environment we’re in, we are better equipped to respond proactively to that landscape.

Number of Players: 5–25

Duration of Play: 45 minutes to 1.5 hours



Context Map, originally uploaded by dgray_xplane.

How to Play
1. Hang six sheets of flip-chart paper on a wall in a two-row, three-column format.

2. On the top-middle sheet of flip-chart paper, draw a representation of the organization under discussion. It can be as simple as an image of your office building or an image of a globe to represent a global marketplace. Label the picture or scene.

3. On the same sheet of paper, above and to the left of the image, write the words “POLITICAL FACTORS”. Above and to the right, write the words “ECONOMIC CLIMATE”.

4. On the top-left sheet of flip-chart paper, draw several large arrows pointing to the right. Label this sheet “TRENDS”. Include a blank before the word TRENDS so that you can add a qualifier later.

5. On the top-right sheet of flip-chart paper, draw several large arrows pointing to the left. Label this sheet “TRENDS”. Again, include a blank before the word TRENDS so that you can add a qualifier later.

6. On the bottom-left sheet, draw large arrows pointing up and to the right. Label this sheet “TECHNOLOGY FACTORS”.

7. On the bottom-middle sheet, draw an image representing your client(s) and label the sheet “CUSTOMER NEEDS”.

8. On the bottom-right sheet, draw a thundercloud or a person with a question mark overhead and label this sheet “UNCERTAINTIES”.

9. Introduce the context map to the group. Explain that the goal of populating the map is to get a sense of the big picture in which your organization operates. Ask the players which category on the map they’d like to discuss first, other than TRENDS. Open up the category they select for comments and discussion. Write the comments they verbalize in the space created for that category.

10. Based on an indication from the group or your own sense of direction, move to another category and ask the group to offer ideas for that category. Continue populating the map with content until every category but TRENDS is filled in.

11. The two TRENDS categories can be qualified by the group, so take a quick poll to determine what kinds of trends the players would like to discuss. These could be online trends, demographic trends, growth trends, and so forth. As you help the players find agreement on qualifiers for the trends (conduct a dot vote or have them raise their hands if you need to), write those qualifiers in the blanks next to TRENDS. Then continue the process of requesting content and writing it in the appropriate space.

12. Summarize the overall findings with the group and ask for observations, insights, “aha’s,” and concerns about the context map.

Strategy
It’s up to the players to paint a picture of the environment in which they sit, but as the meeting leader, you can help them generate content by asking intelligent and thoughtprovoking questions. Conduct research or employee interviews before the meeting if you need to. The idea is to portray a context that is as rich and accurate as possible so that the players gain insight into their environment and can subsequently move proactively rather than reactively. The players can populate the categories other than TRENDS on the context map in any order, so note their starting point and pay attention to where they focus or generate the most content—both can indicate where their energy lies. But keep in mind that this activity is designed to generate a display of the external environment, not the internal one. So, if you notice that the discussion steers toward analyzing the internal context, guide them back to the outside world. There are other games for internal dynamics. The Context Map game should result in a holistic view of the external business landscape and show the group where they can focus their efforts to get strategic results.

This game is based on The Grove Consultants International’s Leader’s Guide to Accompany the Context Map Graphic Guide® ©1996–2010 The Grove.

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The Anti-Problem

IMG_2574

Object of Play
The Anti-Problem game helps people get unstuck when they are at their wit’s end. It is most useful when a team is already working on a problem, but they’re running out of ideas for solutions. By asking players to identify ways to solve the problem opposite to their current problem, it becomes easier to see where a current solution might be going astray or where an obvious solution isn’t being applied.

Number of Players: 5–20

Duration of Play: 30–45 minutes

How to Play
1. Before the meeting, find a situation that needs to be resolved or a problem that needs a solution.

2. Give players access to sticky notes, markers, index cards, pipe cleaners, modeling clay—any supplies you have around the office that they could use to design and describe solutions.

3. Break large groups into smaller groups of three to four people and describe what they’ll tackle together: the anti-problem, or the current problem’s opposite. (For example, if the problem is sales conversion, the players would brainstorm ways to get customers to avoid buying the product.) The more extreme the problem’s opposite, the better.

Optional activity: Bring a list of smaller problems and decrease the amount of time allotted to solve them. Make it a race to come up with as many solutions as the group can churn out—even if they’re outlandish.

4. Give the players 15–20 minutes to generate and display various ways to solve the anti-problem. Encourage fast responses and a volume of ideas. There are no wrong solutions.

5. When the time is up, ask each group to share their solutions to the anti-problem. They should stand and display any visual creations they have at this time or ask the others to gather around their table to see their solutions.

6. Discuss any insights and discoveries the players have.

Strategy
This game’s purpose is to help teams evaluate a problem differently and break out of existing patterns, so make the anti-problem more extreme than it really is, just to get people thinking. And don’t worry if the players don’t generate many (or any) viable or actionable solutions. Obviously, those would be a boon to the game, but the intention is not to eliminate a complex problem in 30 minutes. The intention is to give people a new approach that can lead to a solution when they have time to think after the meeting is over. Or, since this game tends to naturally segue into a conversation about the real problem, you could use any extra time to start that conversation while the players’ ideas are ignited. Note: there may be some unexpected “aha moments” as people could discover that they’re applying a solution that’s actually contributing to the current problem. Whoops!

The Anti-Problem game is based on an activity called Reverse It, from Donna Spencer’s design games website, http://www.designgames.com.au.

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WhoDo

WHODO exercise

Object of Play
The objective of this game is to identify stakeholders and clarify goals.

Number of Players: 1–10

Duration of Play: 20–45 minutes

How to Play
Who do you want to do what? Almost any endeavor of substantial impact requires seeking help from others. Developing a WHO + DO list is a simple way to scope out the undertaking.

1. Start with the vision. Write out or visualize the big goal.

2. Draw a two-column matrix and write “WHO” on the left and “DO” on the right.

3. Ask: Who is involved in making this happen? Who is the decision maker? Who has needed resources? Who may be an obstacle? Whose support is needed These individuals or groups are your list of WHOs.

4. The DOs are often harder. For each WHO, ask: What do they need to do, or do differently? What actions will build toward the big goal? Sharpen each WHO in the list until you have a desired and measurable action for each. Given all of the possible WHOs and DOs, which are the most important? Who comes first?

Strategy
Bias yourself toward action. When brainstorming DOs, there is a tendency to slip into the easier mode of “we just want them to understand.” Most often when you want people to understand something, it’s because you want them to change something or learn something that they can then “DO.” Ask yourself, or the group, “What will happen once they understand?” Don’t shortchange what you are really looking for: action. A natural follow-on to this activity is to make an Empathy Map of the WHOs.

The WhoDo game is credited to Dave Gray.

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Post-Up

Post-up, originally uploaded by dgray_xplane.

Object of Play
The goal of this game is to generate ideas with silent sticky note writing.

Number of Players: 1–50

Duration of Play: 10 minutes to 1 hour

How to Play
There are many ways to work with ideas using sticky notes. Generating ideas is the most basic play, and it starts with a question that your group will be brainstorming answers to. For example: “What are possible uses for Product X?” Write the question or topic on a whiteboard. Ask the group to brainstorm answers individually, silently writing their ideas on separate sticky notes. The silence lets people think without interruption, and putting items on separate notes ensures that they can later be shuffled and sorted as distinct thoughts. After a set amount of time, ask the members of the group to stick their notes to the whiteboard and quickly present them. If anyone’s items inspire others to write more, they can stick those up on the wall too, after everyone has presented.

Harry Brignall at the 90% of Everything blog makes a great suggestion:

When doing a post-up activity with sticky notes in a workshop, you may want to use the FOG method: mark each note with F (fact), O (opinion) or G (guess). It’s such a simple thing to do, but it adds a great deal of clarity to the decision-making process.

Strategy
Generating ideas is an opening activity, and a first step. From here you can create an Affinity Map or further organize and prioritize the thoughts, for example using Forced Ranking.

The Post-Up game is based on the exercises in Rapid Problem-Solving with Post-it® Notes
by David Straker.

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Card Sort

Grouping

Object of Play
Card sorting is a practice used frequently by information architects and designers to gather and structure inputs for a variety of purposes. In a common use of card sorting, information for a website is put onto the cards, and the sorting helps create categories for navigation and the overall architecture. The method works just as well for creating slides for presentations, or at any point where information needs to be sorted and organized in a sensible way.

The applications of card sorting are numerous, and in use it works similarly to Post-Up and affinity mapping. Card sorting can differ from these methods, however. First, the cards are generally prepared in advance, although participants should be allowed to create their own while sorting. Second, the cards are a semi-permanent artifact and can be used as a control over several exercises with different participants to find patterns among them.

Number of Players: Small groups or individuals

Duration of Play: 30 minutes or more, depending on the number of cards and participants

How to Play
Use 3×5 index cards or similar. For a typical sorting exercise, aim for 30–100 cards in total; more than this range will likely overwhelm the participants, and fewer may not be meaningful enough to be worth the effort. On each card should be a succinct bit of information; enough to tell the participants what it is and no more. Putting too much information on a card will slow down the sorting; not enough will cause confusion and will slow down the process even more.

Give the group the shuffled deck and a stack of blank cards. Describe the overall organization challenge, and ask them to sort the cards into groups that go together. If they think something is unclear or missing, they may alter a card or create a new one. Once they have created the groups, ask them to name them and describe them.

There are variations of sorting—including asking the group to rank the items from most to least desirable or to organize the cards into two categories such as “must have” and “nice to have.” You may also ask the group to sort cards into a predefined set of categories, to test their validity.

Strategy
Although the Card Sort game won’t tell you everything you need to know about a set of information, it will help reveal the thought process of participants. In this sense, it’s more about people than information. Only after a number of sorting exercises with a number of groups will larger patterns appear.

Card sorting is a common practice of information architects and designers of complex systems. Its actual source is unknown.

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Bodystorming

Bodystorming the future of news

Object of Play
Bodystorming is simply brainstorming, but done with the body. It may look different depending on the preparations and location, but in the end all bodystorming is fundamentally about one thing: getting people to figure things out by trying things out. A group may explore one of the techniques described below to get their feet wet with bodystorming. They may move through them in order, from observing and learning to ideation and prototyping, although this is not a strict sequence. Each level of bodystorming will help break the pattern of analyzing ideas around a conference table and get people closer to developing things that will work in the real world.

How to Play
Bodystorming takes place in three phases.

Level 1: Go Observe
Go to the location to do your work. If you are developing an idea for a coffee shop, or a shopping mall, or a hospital, go there and do your work as you would normally. The environment will present idea cues and authentic information that would never emerge from conference room brainstorming. For example, say a group is charged with improving the student experience on a college campus. Although they may conduct interviews or other research, they may start by
going to a few campus locations and “blending in” with the surroundings while going about their usual work. It’s important that the group not zero in on any specific analysis so that they will be open to the cues that the environment presents.

Level 2: Try It Out
Use role play and props to develop an idea. In this exercise, a group physically “acts out” an experience by using whatever they have on hand or can acquire. The group focuses on how they interact with each other, their surroundings, and makeshift artifacts, testing existing ideas and uncovering new ones. For example, say a small group is asked to “reimagine the evening news.” Using each other as the actors, the audience, the news anchors, and the television itself, they improvise a script that plays out the experience as they conceive it could be.

1. Identify and assign critical roles. For any experience, identifying the “customer” or “user” role is a good way to get started. This participant (or group of participants) becomes the focal point and main character of the bodystorm. Other critical roles will present themselves. “Who wants to be the Internet?” is not an uncommon question to hear.

2. Improvise the experience. Bodystorming is physical and progressive: as the group starts to put their thoughts into action, they will naturally ask simple and important questions by acting them out, often leading to the unexpected. For example, in the evening news scenario:

“OK, so how do you watch the evening news?”
“I don’t have a television. Also, I’m usually out jogging.”
“Oh. Do you have your phone on you?”
“Always. I’m listening to music.”
“OK, what if this happened… who wants to play the phone?”

In a completely improvised scenario, the group should keep in mind the principal rule of the game: building on each other’s inputs. “Yes, and…” will generate
more progress than “Yeah, but…” thinking. In some uses of bodystorming, a group will act out a script prepared in advance. In these cases, an equal amount of planning in props to build an environment is key. For example, if it’s a coffee shop, set up the counter and chairs. If it’s a park or outdoor area, strongly consider going there.

The BetaCup Bodystorming Session – Overlap 09 from the betacup on Vimeo.

Level 3: Reflect on What Happens, and Why
By enacting the experience, the participants will naturally explore new possibilities, and uncover flaws or assumptions about how an idea could work. This is valuable both in the process itself and afterward: by documenting the exercise on video, the participants may later “watch the reel” to discuss key points.

Strategy
Choose the right level of bodystorming at the right time for the group. Because bodystorming asks participants to take a big step away from the typical conference table mode of thinking, they may need to get comfortable with more structured sessions first, armed with scripts and specific roles, before stepping into complete improv. In all cases, the exercise itself will be more memorable than the customary problem-solving session, and will help generate empathy that comes from “embodying” the experience.

The term “bodystorming” was coined by Colin Burns at CHI ’94 In Boston, Massachusetts.