Inspire, affirm and qualify

Ideas and intentions that are supposed to lead to actions after the event need refinement and a strong foundation of confidence, so the goals are clear and it seems possible for those involved to achieve them.

It is said that too many cooks spoil the broth, but if you are cooking up (perhaps new) ways to act, behave, plan, produce etc., the best thing you can do is to get as many chefs in the kitchen as possible.

What you have to do though, is to make sure that whatever is cooked up is for a buffet where those who have to act after your event will choose only what they find useful, and will leave the rest behind.

Only those who are responsible for acting will know what to do, but fellow participants can support their confidence by filling up the buffet with affirmations in details – starting with why ideas and plans will be a success – and multiple possible ways to act through adding new positive perspectives and yet undiscovered resources.


< Global >

At almost anytime during your event you can let people inspire each other. Also in the beginning, when they are getting to know each other in the smaller groups, and throughout the event.

By inspiring each other, participants are confirmed in their thoughts and findings, they get new perspectives and they get trained (and kept fit) in sharing with other people and having a focus on what else could be out there that is of interest to them and their group.

Instruction (World Cafe style)
Round 1
  1. Decide who is going to stay home in the group as a host (if you haven’t decided it for them).
  2. The rest spread out into other groups.
  3. Settled in new groups, the hosts sum up for the guests what has been talked about so far.
  4. (Add on if enough time) the guests contribute with what has impressed them the most in what the host has described.
  5. Notice: when listening, make sure to also be able to report interesting points back home.
Round 2

Back home in the group, share interesting, exiting points, reflections and ideas heard in the other groups.

(Add on if enough time) “What has become more clear to you now?”

At this point leave it for people to digest reflections and inputs, and move on in your program.



< Global >

This very brief way of sharing thoughts is efficient throughout an event. It not only brings physical movement into the process, but lets people interact and share different perspectives on the topic, and can be improvised into the program whenever you find it suitable. Instruction

Round 1

Within the next 10 minutes, it’s your goal to interview at least three people by asking them the following questions:

  1. What do you find most interesting in your conversation right now?*
  2. What else?
  3. How is that useful to you?

* You can make this first question more specific by relating it to your topic or sub-topic.

Round 2

Back in the group, share what you have heard in your interviews.

(Add on if enough time) What has become clearer to you now?


”Solution seekers”

< Global >

When developing new ideas and action plans, there might be challenges along the way that could need some help from new perspectives and approaches.

Rather than spending time in the group cracking heads, tearing brains apart, trying to figure out how to overcome or minimise challenges, it can be much easier to ask for help.

When asking for help, we often tend to ask the “experts”, people we trust and believe to have the right competencies to give the right solutions.

I don’t believe this is always the right way to do it, and luckily, neither does innovative thinking.

Round 1

Decide which two people in the group are going to be the “solution seekers” for this quest.

Everyone together, make a short, clear description of the current challenge.

Also make a short, clear description of what you would be able to do if the challenge wasn’t there.

Round 2
  1. Solution seekers find a group to visit.
  2. Present the challenge and what you would like to be able to do instead.
  3. The group now starts a brainstorm on possible solutions. The only limit is your imagination.
  4. Rule: while brainstorming, pretend the solution seekers are not there = indirect talking. Solution seekers: take notes, and should something be unclear, each solution seeker is allowed to ask one clarifying question only! Be in the now. Grab what you hear. Interpret what you don’t understand.

NOTE: this round can be repeated up to two times. If so, it’s important that the solution seekers stick to one question per person per round.

Round 3

Back in the home group, the inputs are shared and the work continues.

”Ask the experts”

< Global >

This is a variation of Solution seekers, and if your event extends over several days, this is an excellent returning activity.

Round 1

Write on an A5 card:

  1. A short, clear description of the current challenge.
  2. Also a short, clear description of what you would be able to do if the challenge wasn’t there.
  3. Pass on the card to the neighbour group.
Round 2
  1. Group: share what is written on the card.
  2. Make a brainstorm, for example on post-it notes or on an additional card, of all possible solutions for dissolving or minimising the challenge.
  3. When out of ideas, or time is up, pass the card back to original group.

NOTE: if there is enough time, the card can go to another group before returning to sender with the instruction: “read the post-it notes and add where possible”.

Round 3

With the card back in the group, share the ideas and choose which ones could be relevant for solving the challenge and continue the work.