IAF Methods

Random Shapes Creativity Session

by for . Last edit was over 2 years ago
12 - 18 2 - 30

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To generate a number or creative ideas about a problem, opportunity of project and to step outside our normal comfort zone and create new ideas.


You will be able to upload attachments once after you create the method.


  • Copies of the shape sheets for each participant. The selected shape can be displayed via a beamer.


Pre-Work Required: The problem, opportunity or project needs to be as clear as possible.


1. We want to come up with a number of ideas about (name of the problem, opportunity or project you are dealing with).
2. We want to spend a few minutes discussing the concept. We don?t want to go into to it very much at this point in order to avoid creating fixed ideas about it.

1. Put the name of the problem, opportunity or project on the board. Next comes a description of it. This can be done as a presentation or as a workshop where everyone contributes to a description of it.
2. Please select a number between 1 and 30. Go around the room keeping track of the numbers people selected. The number with the largest number of people selecting it is the number we are going to use. (If no number is a winner, select the first one that had two people select it.)
3. The number is ____. Go to the worksheet and look at the picture with that number.
4. Take a sheet of paper and write down 10 things that answer the question about the shape. What is it?? You might turn it around, upside down, look in a mirror if you have one, etc. There are no wrong answers. Simply set aside the judging part of your brain and put what ever comes to mind down. If you think, "I have to iron a shirt," put it down. We are trying to think "out of the box." This should be a lot of fun. You can divide into teams and have them first individually list ideas and then have the team select the most divergent 10 ideas.
5. Now for each idea write down attributes of the idea. Ironing shirts might result in: steam, wrinkles, burn, hot, ironing board, standing up, etc.
6. Now force relationships between the attributes and the problem, opportunity or project. You might ask, "How does 'steam' apply to the project?" How do we get people steamed up about it? Can it be steamer, steamed, steam powered, or steam cleaned?
7. Once the group has generated ideas. They should report on the most interesting ideas they generated.
8. As teams are reporting put their ideas up on a white board (or have them report on flipchart sheets).
9. At the end of each report you can ask, "We want to just become clear about the report and not challenge it at this time. What questions of clarity do you have?"
10. When the reports are complete reflect on the ideas.
  •  What are the surprising ideas?
  • Which ones did your find yourself thinking "that is really off the wall".
  • Which ones did you like the most?
  • Which ones are outside your comfort zone?
  • If you had to select 3 to explore further which would they be? You might want to use a more formal selection process here.
11. Go to the next part of the workshop.


1. Summarize what was done.
2. Thank the group.
3. Announce the next meeting or steps.
4. Close the workshop.


Source: Dave Dufour

Derived from: Unknown

Alternative names: An online version of this is called Watzit

Comments (1) ( 3.0  avg / 1 ratings)

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  • A bit confusing -- try it on a practice group first.

    over 2 years ago