IAF Methods


by for . Last edit was almost 2 years ago
20 - 90 6 - 60

Using physical objects and activity to explore issues. 

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This technique entails physical production of a 3-dimensional theoretical "sculpture" of a problem and promoting physical activity, collaborative work and the playful attribution of new meanings to physical material


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  • A wide range of materials that could be included in the sculpture:- Tools (scissors
  • felt-tipped pens
  • pencils
  • etc).- Joining materials (glue
  • sticky tape
  • string
  • staplers
  • etc).- Sculpting materials (paper
  • cardboard boxes
  • wire
  • paper-clips
  • bits of wood
  • garden canes
  • modelling clay
  • objects like tin cans
  • small items of furniture like waste-bins that may be to hand)- Encourage group members to bring along material they have gathered themselves



Ideal conditions: Individuals could construct their own sculptures, but preferred is a group approach

Pre-Work Required: gathering materials, facilitator needs to think about how much time will be needed

Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: Facilitator and Client are working closely together


One Possible Procedure:
1. Familiarisation of the problem with open group discussions, including any work they may already have been attempted on the problem.
2. The facilitator clarifies the task and sets an overall time limit.
3. Alternatively this exercise could be combined with a walking Excursion (qv) activity in which participants gather materials they find and that strike them as interesting -  e.g. natural objects such as leaves or branches, or found objects like old keys, magazines, or used drink cartons.
4. A little time can now be spent by the group experimenting to see what can be done with the tools and materials they have so far.
5. The group then starts to assemble a sculpture that is felt to characterize some feature or property of the problem situation. It is probably best if the sculpture simply 'emerges' in a relaxed and crude way as the group collectively and individually work with the materials, rather than being formally designed and planned. There is no requirement for an explanation as to why they think it represents the problem situation, and can be as serious or as light-hearted as the group wish.
6. A break would be appropriate when the time limit is up.
7. Participants then return to the work area and spend a few moments considering their sculpture, writing down privately any solution ideas that the sculpture and the experience of building it suggest to them.
8. Once the flow of ideas slows down, those that they have come up with are shared with the rest of the group via a round robin, leading to open discussion and brainstorming.


Usual or Expected Outcomes: a variety of ideas which will lead to discussions and brainstorming in the end


Source: originally described by Ole Faafeng of the Norwegian Management

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