Facilitation Exercises

Below is a collection of facilitation exercises, ice-breakers and group work. I didn't create these (so can't take any credit for them) but have curated this collection that I have found engaging and productive. Use the tags above to to filter by type or browse the collection below.

Ideas Generated by Brainstorming Groups

Ideas generated by the same number of people who work alone and later pool their ideas

Brainstorming and Group Work

Decades of research has consistently shown that brainstorming groups think of far fewer ideas than the same number of people who work alone and later pool their ideas

See Teamwork Exercises

Retention rates from workshop methods

    • Teaching others90%
    • Practice by doing75%
    • Discussion groups50%
    • Demonstration 20%30%
    • Audio Visual20%
    • Reading10%
    • Lecture5%

      Source: National Training Laboratories, Bethel Maine

Facilitation ice-breakers, warm-ups and team work

November 29, 2018

How-Now-Wow Matrix

This game naturally follows the creative idea generation phase and helps players select ideas to develop further. Draw a 2-by-2 matrix as above. The X-axis denotes […]
November 19, 2018

One-handed paper aeroplanes

Teamwork Break into groups of about 3 or 4 people. Everyone then raises their dominant hand, you know, the hand you use to write with. Now, […]
November 19, 2018

Problem Definition

To generate ideas about how to implement the reverse of the current state of affairs and to experience the possibility of looking at a problem as […]
December 7, 2021

Permission Structure Framework

A Permission Structure provides an emotional and psychological justification that allows someone to change deeply held beliefs and/or behaviours while importantly retaining their pride and integrity.
November 29, 2018

Double Talk

Participants at a training session are often preoccupied with other important things in their life. Here’s a simple jolt to wake them up. Goal To make […]
November 19, 2018

Matchstick discussion

This can be used to place limits on dominant or over­eager speakers. It also encourages shy speakers to contribute. Each person is given the same number […]
November 19, 2018


SCAMPER. is essentially a process for expanding and improving upon ideas by testing and questioning them from different angles. For each letter of the mnemonic, ask […]
November 19, 2018

The Magic Lamp

You and your team have just found a lamp. You rub it, and surprise! A genie appears. The genie grants you three wishes. You are allowed […]
November 29, 2018

The Journalistic Six

To generate a more inclusive set of ideas. These are the six key questions that journalism students are taught to answer somewhere in their news articles […]
December 7, 2021

IKEA Effect Framework

With a name inspired by the Swedish self-assembly furniture giant, this effect can help explain the growing popularity of ‘meal-kit’ services; the trend towards co-designing solutions […]
November 29, 2018

Walking questions

Let trainees find solutions for their problems themselves. Benefit from swarm intelligence. At the end of a training block each trainee writes one open question on […]
November 19, 2018

Too Many Cooks

Your family (group) just inherited a successful restaurant from Chef Charlie, a long lost relative. The only problem: Charlie was very disorganized. The only recipes you have found […]
November 19, 2018

Count to ten

An excellent game for focusing people and getting them to work together. It creates laughter and energy without being physical. Because it’s not a physical game […]
January 31, 2022

Virtual People Bingo

This is a great zoom or virtual icebreaker for large groups. Let the group know that you’re going to be calling out statements like “I have […]
November 29, 2018


Bang is a group game, played in a circle, where participants must react quickly or face elimination. One person stands in the middle of the circle […]
November 20, 2018

Facilitation: how to, tips and reminder

This is a useful template for opening an event or workshop. I like to start with a greeting to honour the mana whenua (people of the […]
April 11, 2022

Minto Pyramid & SCQA

The Minto Pyramid is a way to organise presentations, communication and thinking in an ‘executive friendly’ way, by starting with the answer and key idea; grouping and […]
August 28, 2023

How to complete The Lean Canvas

Businesses often fail because they haven’t identified a problem they are solving, or they’ve missed some important aspects of their business plan. The Lean Canvas is […]
November 20, 2018

Pre-mortem. Prospective hindsight.

Imagine all the reasons your project could turn into a miserable failure. Then figure out how you can prevent those problems now, while there’s still time. Visualize […]
November 19, 2018

Memory Eraser

Your memory is going to be completely erased in five minutes. You have only that time to write down everything you want or need to remember. […]
November 26, 2018

Storylining, communication, audience

Storylining Storylining is an essential part of a storytelling. It is lining of messages in logical order to make the entire story easy to grasp and understand […]
November 19, 2018

The Barter Puzzle

This activity will rely heavily on problem solving and leadership skills. Some team members might stand out and some might stand back, but it’s important to […]
November 19, 2018

Spectrum lines

20 minutes to 1 hour; 5 – 100 people These can help to explore the different views on an issue within the group. It is a […]
February 28, 2020

Speed Boat

Speedboat is a short and sweet way to identify what your employees or clients don’t like about your product/service or what’s standing in the way of […]
November 29, 2018

Love Your Neighbour?

In this fun and active group game, participants sit in a circle, with one person in the middle. The person in the middle asks different questions […]
November 29, 2018

The Anti-Problem

This game’s purpose is to help teams evaluate a problem differently and break out of existing patterns. The Anti-Problem game helps people get unstuck when they […]
November 19, 2018

Reverse role plays

A tool to allow people to understand both sides of a conflict. They can help people entrenched in one position to think more flexibly. They are […]
November 19, 2018

1-2-4-All ideation

Engage everyone simultaneously in generating questions, ideas, and suggestions Structuring Invitation Ask a question in response to the presentation of an issue, or about a problem […]
November 19, 2018


Great for demonstrating the power of self-organising teams The Facilitator introduces the icebreaker as a short workshop where we’ll quickly see how collaborative we can be […]
July 26, 2022

Dators 4 Futures Framework

This framework by James Dator, one of the fathers of futures studies, is founded on two fundamental truths about our relationship to the future. First, we […]
November 29, 2018

Ideation Steps and Principles

Ideation steps. This process is inspired by the Double Diamond design process model. Step 1. Introduce Ideation Principles: Begin with a short presentation of principles for […]
November 19, 2018

Design 6

Great fast ideation technique. Fold a piece of paper into 6 and have everyone individually come up with 6 super-quick ideas in the 6 spaces in […]
December 21, 2021


Backcasting is a planning method that starts with defining a desirable future and then works backwards to identify the steps or actions that will connect that […]
December 14, 2021


Rolestorming is a group brainstorming method. Its basic premise is that you brainstorm while playing the role of another person.
November 19, 2018

Six Thinking Hats

There’s a whole host of problem-solving exercises and tools that help participants to put themselves into the shoes of another. This particular tool was invented by […]
August 28, 2023

How to complete The Value Proposition Canvas

Your comprehensive guide on mastering the Value Proposition Canvas! Crafting a compelling value proposition is a crucial step in creating a successful product or service that […]
November 19, 2018

3 shining moments

Great exercise to facilitate good feelings and intimacy Look back over your careers and identify three events, activities, moments of courage, accomplishments, collaborations, or moments of […]
November 19, 2018

Sharing withholds

15 – 40 minutes; 5 – 30 people Withholds are thoughts that we keep to ourselves. They usually have to do with judgements about ourselves, others, […]
November 19, 2018

Inner Mentor Visualisation

You’ll need some pen and paper for right after this exercise. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Breathe deeply and focus on your […]
November 29, 2018


This is a great activity to get people up and moving around in a playful way while still learning about each other. It can be related […]
November 29, 2018

MindSpin Group Ideation

The SLAM makes this “Mind Spin” activity even more effective. Encourage participants to keep moving! This is a fast-paced LOUD activity – if they have no ideas grab […]
November 19, 2018

Worst idea

This is a technique that can help to save the day when nothing else seems to be working and can re-ignite the energy levels of groups […]
December 7, 2021

Protected: Futurism foundational questions

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
May 17, 2022

Pitch and Presentation Tips

Pitch and presentation tips to nail your talk
December 7, 2021

First Principles Framework

First Principles Thinking is a means to challenge assumptions and solve complex problems by breaking them down into their most basic elements and reassembling them from the […]
December 8, 2021

The CIPHER tool for trend identification

November 19, 2018

Wizards, pixies, giants

A very physical team version of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’! Sort the group into two teams and explain that each team has to choose one of three […]
November 19, 2018

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Posse

Like the traditional game, but losers become the cheering team for the people they lost to. By the end of the game there are two players […]
December 7, 2021

Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix organises your tasks based on whether tasks are urgent or important. The aim is to prioritise and act on value, to ensure that […]
November 19, 2018

I secretly believe

This is a great ice-breaker and warm-up for groups that don’t know each other, or for groups to learn more about each other.
November 29, 2018

Looking around

Here’s another jolt that explores one of our favorite themes: You have to unlearn something old in order to learn something new. A nice thing about […]
November 29, 2018

Soft skills Engagement Game

This is a good game to begin a workshop. It sets everyone on the mood to learn, share, and participate. Goal a) get some participants to […]
November 19, 2018

3 things in common in 3 minutes

Great ice-breaker. Ask everyone to get a partner (preferably someone they don’t know well). Each pair has three minutes to discover three things they have in […]
December 8, 2021

The Futures Triangle

The futures triangle method consists of identifying three competing factors: the past, present and future contexts. Each of these three corners of the triangle has their […]
August 28, 2023

How to complete The Personal Branding Canvas

The Personal Branding Canvas is the easy to use and practical visual framework that helps you understand why you are special and how to let others […]
November 19, 2018

Totem Truths

Great for team bonding, strengths and weaknesses In the past, a totem pole was carved for several reasons; for example, to honor a deceased elder who […]
November 4, 2021

Object Matching

Overview One person holds up an object to the camera The rest of the group is given 8 seconds to find a matching object The first […]
August 26, 2022

Radical Candor

Kim Scott’s Radical Candor Framework encourages you to ‘give a damn’ for the people around you, and constructively speak the truth, even when it pisses people […]
December 21, 2021

OKR framework

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a goal-setting methodology that helps organisations establish and execute strategy. This framework works by focusing employees and their efforts on […]
April 22, 2009

Living Consciously at work (exercise)

This sentence completion exercise is taken from “The Art of Living Consciously” by Nathaniel Branden The idea is that you sit down and write the stem, […]
November 19, 2018


This is a lovely co­operative game that always brings a group together and lights up people’s faces! Ask everyone to gather around you in a tight […]
November 19, 2018

Salt and Pepper

A fun, fast game that helps to break the ice and get energy flowing How to: You first need to think of pairs of things – […]
November 19, 2018

Scavenger Hunt

You are about to begin a scavenger hunt with several members of this training group. The object of the game is to collect all of the […]
November 29, 2018

Lotus Blossom

Generate a big number of ideas quickly. Using the first 8 ideas as a basis can help to expand these ideas further. 1. Draw a square […]
November 19, 2018

Sensory Uplift

Boosts your creativity, your productivity and your overall enjoyment for life. Close your eyes and picture a vivid scene; a waterfall in a rainforest or children […]
November 19, 2018

3 step ideation

A great technique to help focus on one area only and remove limiting ideas about the next step Fold an A0 sheet of paper into three. Discuss […]
December 9, 2021

Amazon Press Release (working backwards)

Amazon’s Working Backwards approach, also known as PR/FAQ, involves starting large initiatives by writing a press release and FAQ document to succinctly express its value from […]
November 19, 2018

Name Tag Switcheroo

This is always a fun and interesting game that can be played from the outset but be warned you should either keep this for smaller groups […]
January 26, 2020

Poetic License (NVC)

Poetic License is a fun group exercise that’s sure to incite laughter in your NVC group! (This game originated from Doug Dolstad) Instructions: In a group circle, […]
December 7, 2021

The Feynman Technique

The Feynman Technique is a learning and sense-making method that involves explaining a new concept to an imaginary child to expose gaps in your understanding and […]
December 21, 2021

Focused Conversation Method (ORID)

This is a simple facilitation framework that enables a focused conversation. It’s a way to lead people through a phased reflection on almost any kind of […]
October 12, 2022

WRAP Decision Process

November 19, 2018

Which side are you on?

Great fun energiser:  Explain that the room is now divided into two sides and draw an imaginary line for all to see. The leader will call […]
September 2, 2020

Lego challenge

A team-building activity in which groups must work together to build a structure out of lego, but each individual has a secret “assignment” which makes the […]
December 8, 2021

The Five Scenario Archetypes

Use these with internal and external factors to build scenarios that describe an organisation’s futures. Baseline WHAT IT IS: A description of how the future represents […]
November 19, 2018

Role-playing and Wishing

For this ideation technique, you start out by asking for the impossible and then brainstorm ways to make it, or at least some approximation of it, […]
August 10, 2022

Brainstorming: The 7 rules

IDEO’s 7 rules of brainstorming Defer judgement. You never know where a good idea is going to come from. The key is make everyone feel like they […]
November 4, 2021

Change 3 things

Overview Light, energising exercise that helps the group to observe the other people on the call. Instructions Everyone puts on their camera For half a minute […]
November 20, 2018

7th generation principle

The “7th generation” principle taught by Native Americans says that in every decision, be it personal, governmental or corporate, we must consider how it will affect our descendants seven […]