Erica Marx

Forced Analogy

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10 +

People compare something (e.g. themselves, their company, their team) to an object.  



To advance collective understanding
To prime creative thinking
To get unstuck from fixed perspectives
To build connection and insights among team members


Part 1: Find an object
First you will have everyone choose an object without knowing why. This can be done quickly online with a prompt like: "When I say GO you will have 5 seconds to find an object that fits the description I give you and show that object to the camera... Find an object that is BLUE, GO!"Participants then show their found object to the camera.

You can do this part in big group or you can send people into small breakout rooms. There is a simple delight in finding an object in their own environment and sharing it with each other. If you want to work with this alone, you could build toward more complex prompt. ie. Find something that is blue... something that makes you happy... something that is connected to your past... something that symbolizes your future. etc.

Alternatively you can generate a list of random objects by having people type objects into the chat or having people choose from a list.

Part 2: Create the analogy
Now that people have their object, the facilitator asks "How is your object like... your summer / our team / your feelings about X topic / X project, etc" Many conversations can come from this sharing.

This exercise can be used as a creative check-in to gauge where people are personally and emotionally at the start of a meeting or as a check-out after work has been done on a topic.  It can also be used to move forward a team's collective understanding of itself (i.e. what makes the team unique and what its most salient characteristics are) and to surface new topics. The metaphoric thinking can be extended by asking more questions within each person's analogy (if this team is the hairbrush and you are a single bristle, what is the handle).


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Erica Marx Coaching​
– Leadership Coaching and Executive Facilitation –

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