IAF Methods

Random Words

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This is a divergent thinking method and can be used in a variety of workshops.

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To generate new ideas using randomly generated words

To experience being creative in a group setting


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  • Flipcharts and markers per working group



Setting: People sit at tables with 4 to 8 people. There should be one flipchart for each table.

Types of participants: Any who are willing to be a bit playful.

Ideal conditions: This is often used in product development processes.

Pre-Work Required: The focus question should be thought through.



1. This exercise is used to generate new ideas based on randomly generated words by the group.

2. Begin by asking what is a noun? (Person, place or thing).

3. Explain the difference between a common noun and a proper noun. A proper noun is the specific name of something such as I am Jon (a proper noun) and she is Glenda (also a proper noun). A common noun is a general name for a thing/person/item such as a man (the noun) and a woman (the noun).

1. Each participant takes 3 postits and writes one common noun on each post it. Instruct: Try to make them as different as possible!

2. Put all post its on one flipchart. Indicate the flipchart.

3. When everyone has put their posits up continue:
"For this exercise you are going to work in groups at your tables. Please select a representative to come forward and select three postits." Ask the representatives of each group to come forward, turn their backs to the flipchart so they cannot see it and to take three postits each off the flipchart.)

4. State the focus question.

5. Groups use the three cards their representatives selected as the basis to answer the focus question. They have 30 minutes to do this.

6. "When done assign someone from your team to report to the whole group."

7. Respond to any clarifying questions

8. When the 30 minutes are up ask for reports from the tables.

9. Groups capture the new ideas on a flipchart.


1. Thank the group.

2. Go to a convergent thinking exercise.


Follow-Up Required: Move to a convergence method

Usual or Expected Outcomes: A number of creative ideas

How success is evaluated: Lots of new ideas.


Alternative names: Words

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