Gamestorming methods

Circles and Soup

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30 - 605 - 10 Medium

The goal of the game is to efficiently form high-quality plans through retrospective analysis by recognizing factors that are within the team’s control.



Identify factors related to a project that the team controls.




    1. Before your meeting, collect sticky notes or 3×5 notecards. In a white space (a poster, whiteboard, etc.), draw three concentric circles, leaving enough room between each one to place the notes. Each circle represents a different element:

    • Inner circle: “Team Controls” – what your team can directly manage
    • Middle circle: “Team Influences” –persuasive actions that your team can take to move ahead
    • Outer circle: “The Soup” – elements that cannot be changed. This term refers to the environment we work in and have adapted to. Ideas from the other 2 circles can identify ways to respond to the barriers floating in our “soup.”


    1. Hand out the sticky notes to your internal team members and describe the significance of each circle.
    2. Allow time for each person to write their ideas on sticky notes. Once finished, ask them to post their notes into the respective circles.
    3.  As a group, collaborate to identify how each idea can be used to improve your project. Ask team members to expand on their ideas in order to further develop potential plans.

    NoteA neutral facilitator is recommended to keep the activity from becoming too emotional. Evaluating negative aspects of your project is a sensitive but necessary exercise, and can leave people feeling upset or hopeless. Avoid any discussions about blaming people or wishing something would happen. Keep the atmosphere fun and enjoyable so people will feel comfortable sharing their ideas.


    Source: Gamestorming

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