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Warm-up exercises

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Experimenting and test

EXERCISE 1 

Remember my name

This exercise helps to test an idea by performing a simple experiment. It contributes to gain better understanding about experiments – what is needed to conduct them and how to learn from them. It also shows that an experiment does not have to be complicated in order to be valid and that it can be performed with limited or no resources.

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Up to 1 hour

Steps to do the exercise

1.

The first step of this exercise is to ask participants to start by thinking individually for 3 minutes on the following: what can we do to memorise the names of the participants in the group? What would be useful? They write down their ideas on sticky notes.

 

2.

After that, the participants gather as a group and put their notes on a flipchart/board. Then they discuss them and collectively pick one to be turned into a hypothesis that they will test. Here is an example:

 

3.

We believe the participants will memorise each other’s names if, every time before someone speaks, they repeat the name of the person speaking before them. We will know we are wrong when at the end of the session there are fewer than 3 people who have memorised all names in the group.

 

4.

Testing the hypothesis should run quickly. One idea would be to implement the test during the course of one training session. At the end of the session participants discuss as a group the results from their experiment.

 

5.

After the test has been completed, the participants talk about their experience. Was the experiment what they expected it to be? Did they learn something? Could this experience be applied in their work?

 

How to do this exercise individually

A person could easily do this exercise alone by coming up with a way to memorize, say, the ingredients of a cooking recipe and test it. The logic behind the experiment is the same as well as the time limits applied to perform the exercise.

Handouts / props

  • Sticky notes or small pieces of paper on which participants can write down their ideas

  • Pens

  • Flipchart/board for taping the sticky notes

  • Tape in case you are not using sticky notes

EXERCISE 2

The ugly duckling prototype

This exercise helps to test your product idea by gaining feedback from customers. The exercise focuses on cheap early-stage testing of potential new products using an ugly prototype for this purpose.

Testing ideas and concepts at an early stage helps saving resources and guide development work by giving valuable information from users and customers. If developing prototypes too far, valuable information might be lost.

Testing ideas, concepts and prototype also helps understanding customer needs better and promotes interaction between the company and customers.

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10 – 15 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

1.

The first step is to divide the group in two teams: “Creators” and “Customers”. This can happen by distributing chocolates of two different kinds among participants. For example, the ones who choose vanilla flavour will be the Creators, the ones choosing hazelnut chocolate will be the Customers.

 

2.

The Creators will have to make together a cardboard playhouse, an ugly prototype. They will have 5 minutes to design and put together the playhouse. The idea is that if the prototype is too well developed, they will not get the feedback they need to refine their idea further. While the Creators are busy with the playhouse the Customers draw together on a piece of paper the playhouse they would expect to see. The two groups should not see each other.

 

3.

When the ugly prototype is ready, the Creators will present it to the Customers. The Customers then will have to share their feedback and offer suggestions for improvement. One of the Creators writes the comments on sticky notes and tapes them on a flipchart/board for everyone to see.

 

4.

After Step 3 the Creators evaluate the feedback. Did they receive any important insights?  At this stage the Customers show their drawing to the Creators. Then they compare the drawing with the ugly prototype and with the listed suggestions for improvement. 

 

How to do this exercise individually

The good part of doing this exercise individually is that the chocolate does not have to be shared. A person could easily do this exercise alone by becoming the Creator and asking someone from his or her household to be the Customer. The rules are the same, only the Creator works alone and needs to keep track of the time. Setting the timer for 5 minutes would be helpful.

Handouts/props

  • Chocolates (2 different types)

  • Cardboard (possible in different colours)

  • Scissors

  • Pencils for drawing

  • Glue

  • Sticky notes or small pieces of paper on which Creators can write down the Customers’ suggestions

  • Pens

  • Flipchart/board for taping the sticky notes/ Tape (in case you are not using sticky notes)

EXERCISE 3

Scientists and Guinea Pigs

The exercise helps to conduct an experiment wherein the audience is split to test a number of variations of an idea and determine which one performs better. In other words, you can show version A of your idea to one half of your audience, and version B to another.

Their reaction to the versions may be valuable in helping you make a decision about the version of your product/service that you will release on the market.

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20 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

1.

The first step of this exercise is to divide the group in three: Scientists, Pink Guinea Pigs and Green Guinea Pigs. An easy way to do this is to offer them coffee and tea at the beginning of the session. The ones who choose tea will be the Scientists. The ones who pick coffee with milk will be the Pink Guinea Pigs and the people who choose black coffee will be the Green Guinea Pigs.

 

2.

Once the groups have been established, the scientists will have 5-10 minutes to come up with two versions of a “product”. For example, they could draw on a piece of paper the homepage of an online bookshop. The Scientists will need to choose the colours and arrangement of the buttons.

 

3.

They will have to produce two versions of the same homepage, the second one being slightly different from the first one. They may choose to use a different colour for the “add to cart” button or decide to place this button in a different place. The idea is that they change a single element only.

 

4.

When the two versions of the product are ready, the Scientists give version A to the Pink Guinea Pigs and version B to the Green Guinea Pigs.

 

5.

The next step is to discuss first with the Pink Guinea Pigs and then with the Green Guinea Pigs their perception of the homepage the Scientists have created.

 

6.

The exercise ends with a group discussion. What did the Scientists learn? Did the experiment help them in deciding which homepage is better?  

 

How to do this exercise individually

A person could easily do this exercise alone by becoming the Scientist and asking two persons from his or her household to be the Guinea Pigs. The rules are the same.

Handouts/props

  • Tea/coffeee/milk

  • Paper

  • Pens (different colours)

EXERCISE 4

Fans and haters

The aim of this exercise is to discover a cost-effective way to test a service simply by discussion with your customers. It is based on the idea that discussion is not always about finding common ground. If you listen to people who love your service but also listen to those who hate it, that may be much better for your research than only listening to the ones giving you likes.

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20 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

1.

The first step of the exercise is to divide the group in two. This can be done by giving them pens for the exercise. The ones who take a green pen will be the Fans and the ones who pick a red pen will be the Haters. There should be one blue pen left among the red and green pens. The person who picks the blue one will be the Service Owner.

 

2.

The Service Owner is presented with a brief description of a fancy innovative service. The more unusual it is, the better. The Service Owner then has to make a post on social media announcing the launch of their new service. To this aim a flip chart may be used or a board where they will “publish” the post. The Service Owner will have to come up with a catchy twit of their new service to use as an advertising message for their clients.

 

3.

The Fans and Haters take some pieces of paper. Their task is to write comments under the post launching the service and publish them on social media. Fans will only have to write positive comments. Haters will have to write only negative ones. They will have 5 minutes for this task.

 

4.

Once they are ready with their comments, the Fans and Haters will publish them under the post of the Service Owner. To this aim, they can use pins or tape.

 

5.

When all the comments have been posted, the Service Owner has to read them out loud. How do they feel about their service now? Is there any valuable information in the comments they could use to make their service better?

 

6.

The exercise ends with a group discussion. Do participants think it would be helpful to receive honest feedback from people who do not like their service? Could this help them refine and improve their offer? Do they think it is useful to listen to disparate views and find out what is motivating them?

How to do this exercise individually

A person could easily do this exercise alone by becoming the Service Owner and asking two persons from his or her household to act as a Fan and a Hater. The rules are the same.

Handouts / props

  • Pens – green, red and and one blue

  • A description of a service

  • A flipchart/board

  • Pins or tape for sticking the post and comments

  • Pieces of paper/sticky notes for the Fans and Haters to write their comments

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Rational from irrational

EXERCISE 1

Circle out of control

This exercise helps to create statements of seemingly irrational activities and then finding a rational reasoning for them. It helps to see that sometimes seemingly irrational choices are actually very rational things to do.

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20-25 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

1.

The exercise starts with a group discussion to identify and agree on a challenge that they would like to overcome. This could be any challenge, either work related, personal or even something very simple. 

Once the challenge has been identified, the facilitator writes it down on a flipchart.

 

2.

The facilitator then draws a big circle. This is the circle of rationality. The things inside this circle are all the rational solutions one could use to overcome the challenge. The things outside of the circle are the irrational solutions to the challenge.

 

3.

The next step is for the group to consider all possible solutions to the challenge and decide where to put them – inside or outside the circle of rationality. Any ideas should be encouraged in a brainstorming session and the participants should be aware that there are no wrong answers.

 

4.

When the facilitator has written down all solutions that the group could think of, they focus on the ones that are outside of the circle. Their task then is to try to find a rational reasoning for the irrational solutions so that they could be moved inside the circle.

 

5.

The exercise wraps up with a brief discussion. Was it difficult to focus on the solutions outside the circle of rationality? Would it be useful to invest efforts in turning seemingly irrational solutions into rational ones?

 

How to do this exercise individually

A person could easily do this exercise alone by identifying their own challenge and listing the rational and irrational solutions inside and outside a circle. The rules for the exercise are the same.

Handouts / props

  • Pens

  • Flipchart/board for writing down

EXERCISE 2

The irrational prankster

The aim of this exercise is to challenge participants into taking rational thoughts, turning them into irrational ones and then finding a way to transform them back into working solutions.

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20 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

1.

The first step of the exercise is for participants to think individually for 3 minutes about the following: what would you do if … (the facilitator must come up with a simple situation depending on the group). They write down their ideas on a piece of paper. If someone comes up with more than one idea, they should write it down on a separate note.

 

2.

When participants are ready, they fold the notes and put them all in a box/hat.

The next step is to select a volunteer from the group who will play the Irrational Prankster. A second person should be selected who will play Fate. The facilitator hands over to Fate the box with the notes from the group.

 

3.

Fate now has the task to draw a note with an idea from the box and read it out loud. It is the task of the Irrational Prankster to take the idea and think the opposite of it to find solutions.

 

4.

The Irrational Prankster may turn irrational as many ideas as the time allows for. It is also possible to rotate the Irrational Prankster and Fate so that every participant can play a role during the exercise.

 

How to do this exercise individually

 

A person could easily do this exercise alone by assigning themselves as the Irrational Prankster and asking a member of their family to play Fate. The rules for the exercise are the same.

Handouts / props

  • Pieces of paper on which the group will write down their ideas

  • Pens

  • A box/hat or any other suitable container to put in the notes

  • Funny glasses/hat/magic wand or any other item that the facilitator will hand over to the Irrational Prankster and Fate to distinguish them from the rest of the group

EXERCISE 3

Irrationality sells

The aim of this exercise is to illustrate how seemingly irrational thought/ideas related to a product or service could be transformed into recognizable features of successful products/services. It should encourage participants not to discard any ideas they may have for their own sector even if they may look irrational at first. The idea is to illustrate how an irrational aspect can make a product successful and identify ways in which to apply this in their own business.

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15-20 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

The first step of the exercise is for the facilitator to select 3-5 popular products and/or services. They could use brief descriptions or photos to visualize them.

 

2.

The second step is to ask participants to list the key features of each product/service. It is good to have them listed on a flipchart/white board below the image of the respective product or service.

 

3.

The participants then will have to think about which irrational aspects have made the products/services popular or successful. Are they among the key features of the products/services? How were these seemingly irrational aspects turned into successful features?

 

4.

The final step of this exercise is to have a group discussion. How could this knowledge be applied?

 

How to do this exercise individually

 

A person could easily do this exercise alone by identifying products/services on their own. The rules for the exercise are the same.

 

Handouts / props

  • Pictures/short descriptions of 3-5 products/services

  • Pens

  • Flipchart/board

  • Pins or tape

EXERCISE 4

The worst coffee break ever

The aim of this exercise is to use brainstorming to generate irrational solutions to a problem, and then see how those could be transformed into rational solutions. This method encourages participants to explore new solutions through negative thinking. The technique helps provide new angles on solutions, from using the things you thought were not useful.

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15-20 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

1.

The first step of this exercise is to formulate the question/problem. For example, “How can we make the coffee breaks in this workshop fun for everyone?”. A good timing for conducting the exercise would be the session preceding a coffee break so that participants may feel more related to the situation about to be discussed.

 

2.

The facilitator then writes down the question on a flipchart/white board.

In the next step participants receive cards/sheets of paper and pens. They will have to write down only irrational solutions to the problem. Each idea should be written down on a different card/paper. Participants will have 5 minutes to write down their ideas.

 

3.

When the time has passed, the facilitator pins the cards on the board. The participants then vote on these ideas by drawing crosses next to the ones they like most. Each participant has up to three votes.

The facilitator picks the idea with most votes and involves the participants in a discussion on how this irrational idea could be used to solve the situation.

 

4.

The final step of the exercise is to ask the participants to reflect on the experience. Was it difficult to turn something irrational into a working solution?

 

How to do this exercise individually

 

A person could easily do this exercise alone by identifying their own question/problem and writing irrational solutions for it. They could ask one or more members of the family to vote on the ideas they like most. All other rules for the exercise are the same.

 

Handouts / props

 

  • Cards/Pieces of paper on which the group will write down their ideas

  • Pens

  • Flipchart/board

  • Pins or tape

Seeing opportunities

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EXERCISE 1

Twisting troubles round

This exercise observes opportunities in unpleasant things. It looks at the things that trouble people and turn them from obstacles to chances to learn something new.

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15-20 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

1.

Write down on paper at least three things that bother or frustrate you. These can be something usual, like:

“I always search for my keys when I have to go out”, or extraordinary, e.g.: “I have no money to start the project that I am thinking about”.

 

2.

To each problem write at least three arguments why this problem is actually a chance, an opportunity for you.

 

3.

'Think what you have to do to change the situation into your own opportunity. What can you learn from it?

 

Handouts / props

 

  • Paper and pencil

EXERCISE 2

What to do with…

This exercise observes finding new usage and other opportunities for items. Creativity is central in identifying use opportunities that are not obvious.  

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15 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

1.

Divide into groups of three or four people.

 

2.

Each team draws 3 tickets with the name of a small item on it.

 

3.

Each team must think out no less than five (the more the better) new, alternative uses for the selected items. These should not be what the item is used typically for.

 

4.

The items: office clip, clothes peg, fork, 10 cm of string, 15 ml flask, hair brush, razor, scissors, pencil, sticky notes, door key, cloth button, coin, AA (R6) battery, nail, pencil sharpener, matchbox, nail-polish bottle, small pouch. (or other that kind).

 

How to do this exercise individually

Please, choose three things from the list of items above, according to your liking. Then, throw away these, and draw three items from the remaining, now by chance. And try to think out no less than five new, alternative uses for the drawn items.

Handouts / props

 

  • Paper

  • Pencils

  • Tickets with names (or drawings) of the items.

EXERCISE 3

The dream invitation

The aim of the exercise is to reflect on the opportunities that can be drawn from the inspiration from the life and work of other people. What things can inspire people? Which aspects of life and work it is worth to pay attention on to create an opportunity?

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15 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Think about one problem that is connected to the market issues (e.g. how to solve the problem of plastic abuse or: how to convince people to handicraft rather than massive products).

 

2.

Imagine that you can invite ONE person for a private meeting (e.g. for dinner). This can be anyone in the world. Even dead people. Think about people that can help you in solving the problem that you have selected.

 

3.

Now think about questions that you would like to ask this person in order to be given as much inspiration as you can in order to be able to solve the problem.

 

4.

What kind of questions should be asked? Remember that no one likes to be bored with too many questions, so try to choose those that are the most relevant.

 

Handouts / props

 

  • Paper and pencil

EXERCISE 4

The „IF” decalogue

The purpose of this exercise is to try to find opportunities at the fingertips. Sometimes we seek for solutions of the problems we encounter, while the solution at the fingertips, all we have to do is to find opportunities that we have in our life.

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10-15 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Match up in pairs.

 

2.

Think about a problem that is bothering you, for example you are afraid that you will not be able to finish the task on time and your client will be dissatisfied.

 

3.

Share your problem with your partner.

 

4.

Each partner tries to formulate 10 questions concerning the partner’s problem, starting with: "what if", eg: What if you asked the client to postpone the deadline? It is important that there are 10 questions. If it is difficult to create a question, think more broadly, eg what if you expand your workshop?

 

5.

Consider if the answers to these questions are for an easy solution to your problem.

 

How to do this exercise individually

  • Think about a problem that is bothering you, for example you are afraid that you will not be able to finish the task on time and your client will be dissatisfied.

  • Try to formulate 10 questions starting with: "what if", eg: What if I asked the client to delay the deadline? It is important that there are 10 questions. If it is difficult to create a question, think more broadly, eg what if I expand my workshop?

  • Consider whether the answers to these questions are for an easy solution to your problem.

 

Handouts / props

  • None

EXERCISE 1

Scarecrow’s business card

This exercise develops risk and ambiguity tolerance by developing skills to deal with the fear of hard situations. 

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15 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Take the paper and split it into two parts: by drawing a line or folding the paper.

 

2.

On the left side, draw the symbol of the situation that scares you, that you are afraid of. Try to be specific and find the situation in your own life.

 

3.

On the right side of the paper write down the endings for these statements related to the pictured situation:

 

  • Because of this “thing” I lose…

  • Because of this “thing” I become…

  • This “thing” affects my…

  • Share your answers with the group. Try to think out the solutions for how to get rid of the fear.

 

Handouts / props

  • Pieces of paper (A4), pencils or markers (colorful)

EXERCISE 2

Plan B

Fear of failure makes us avoid risks. Yet risk-taking is important in developing new services, activities and products, as also in entrepreneurship. Having a Plan “B”, and alternative and different solution, can help managing risks. The aim of the exercise is to develop and practice planning the “B plans” in order to diminish the fear of the risk.

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20 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

You have to prepare a birthday cake for someone in your family. Plan the steps for this from the beginning, such as going shopping, until the end of the process.

 

2.

For each step imagine and write down one thing that might go wrong. For example, what if someone has food allergies to some of the ingredients of the cake.

 

3.

Based on these, prepare a “plan B” solution in order to avoid a disaster in theses crisis situations.

 

4.

Try to gather all the “plan B” solutions and see if they are consistent and make a plan as a whole. What should be changed in order to do so?

 

5.

Compare the plan A with the plan B. How could you navigate between plan A and plan B to have the cake done?

 

Handouts / props

  • Paper and pencils

EXERCISE 3

Risk categorizing

The aim of this exercise is to learn on how to categorize the risks according to what we are able to do  and add risk factors to the risk.

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15-20 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Choose one of the following situations and write it down:

 

  • Organizing an important and official dinner.

  • Making a photo story of children in the city.

  • Organizing an author’s evening of a famous novelist.

 

2.

Now think of everything that may go wrong with your chosen activity and list these.

 

3.

Take your list of things that may go wrong and try to categorise them into four following categories on paper or excel sheet or for example a whiteboard:

 

  • What can be avoided

  • What can be reduced

  • What can be transferred (e.g. by outsourcing)

  • What can be accepted

 

4.

Try to think what can you do to those in the categories 1-3 to move as many of them as possible to the last category. Write these solutions on sticky notes and attach on the paper so you can recognize what can be moved between categories and how.

 

Handouts / props

  • Paper and pencil

  • Sticky notes

EXERCISE 4

Between a thread and a chance

The aim of this exercise is to demonstrate that the risk may be connected with a thread that something can go wrong, but can be also a chance for success.

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30 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Divide the big group into small groups of two, three people. The number of groups should be even.

Divide the groups into two teams: angels and devils.

 

2.

A toy museum is being built in a village. It is supposed to be an attraction for both children and adults. Funding for the museum is to come from the city authorities and private donors.

 

3.

Angels: list as many opportunities as possible that arise from plans to establish a museum. Devils: try to find and list as many threats as possible.

 

4.

Next angels and devils compare their results and try to find common factors that may lead to threads as well as chances. Make tables that combine both threads and chances, each category in their own column.

 

5.

Discuss the risk as something between threat and opportunity.

 

How to do this exercise individually

When done individually, you can make both lists on the behalf of angels and devils. Have a short break to refresh your thoughts between changing the role so it will be easier for you to adapt to the new role. When you are ready with both lists, compare them and try to find common factors that may lead to threads as well as chances.

 

Handouts / props

 

  • Paper and pencils

  • Whiteboard or paper on the wall and take to attach it

  • Markers. Alternatively threads can opportunities can be written on sticky notes of different colour (each own colour)

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Silly questions

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Risk and insecurity intolerance

EXERCISE 1

The questions we have never asked

Sometimes we regard some questions as too silly to be asked. As a result, we have no basic knowledge for example, on simple subjects of everyday life or how something works. Yet, these silly sounding questions that we often are afraid of, might be the smartest ones ever as they are related to what we do not know yet. This exercise guide to asking so called silly questions.

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10-15 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Select a thing from everyday life and think what you do not know about it or you simply want to analyse further. For instance, How does the human liver work? Or how does my tax office get all my salary information although I do not send it there specifically?

 

2.

Next think about and write down 5 basic questions that could help you find answers for this if you would ask those questions from someone. Thinking how children ask questions helps in this task. For example, for the liver function:

 

  1.  What is the liver?

  2.  How does it work?

  3.  How does it know what to do?

  4.  Will it just consumer and go bad or does it renew itself?

  5.  How does it renew itself?

 

See how simple and to-the-point the questions are.

 

3.

Look at these questions and think about something of which you could have discovered much more by asking such questions earlier.

 

4.

Extra: You can still check the answers to your selected from Internet or encyclopedia!

 

How to do this exercise in a group or pairs

 

The exercise can be done in pairs too. In such case the other person asks the questions and the other one answers them. Think together what aspects you reveal this way that normally you would not think about.

 

Handouts / props

 

  • Paper, pens and pencils

EXERCISE 1

Is it a story?

Formulating questions is a very important skill. By posing questions we hope to gain knowledge, but also information about what we do not know and also about our thoughts, doubts, or even opinions. And sometimes about facts. The aim of this exercise is to develop the art of posing questions.

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15 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Think about a short story from your life. It can be about an adventure, or something interesting that has happened to you. Choose a short story.

 

2.

Choose a person or a few whom to you will tell the story.

 

3.

Tell this story using only questions. Do not use statements. Try to be as precise as it is possible.  and formulate the questions in such manner that they will leave no room for doubts or misunderstanding to your listener/s.

 

4.

Ask your listener/s to tell your story normally, by using the sentences, not questions.

 

5.

After this, discuss with the listener/s about the differences between your story and their version. Try to understand how questions can inform people.

How to do this exercise in pairs

 

The exercise can be done in pairs too. In such case the other person asks the questions and the other one answers them. Think together what aspects you reveal this way that normally you would not think about.

Handouts / props

 

  • None

EXERCISE 3

Children asking

The aim of these exercise is to find out possibilities of answering even the weirdest questions.

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2 x 10 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Divide the group into pairs.

2.

In each pair, one individual takes a role of a patient parent while another one becomes a youngster that has come back home much later that he/she was allowed to.

3.

The parent asks questions in order to interrogate what had happened and why the child came back later.

4.

The child answers these questions trying to make the story consistent and truthful.

5.

When the whole story will be revealed, let’s switch the roles.

 

How to do this exercise individually

 

This exercise is best done in pairs. When done outside a training session, you have for instance two ways to do this exercise:

 

  • You can observe how some people, most preferable children, avoid telling the whole story and think what kind of questions you would ask them to find .out what has happened.

  • You can role play the situation with a friend or a family member or a colleague.

Handouts / props

 

  • None

EXERCISE 4

Ask yourself a question

The idea of this exercise is to be ready to form questions about things that may be relevant or interesting. The aim is to learn how to seek the areas to be questioned.

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10 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

You are a journalist that has to do an interview with… yourself.

2.

Think about any service that you have used recently. It may be buying something online, hairdressing or anything. Think about things that may be improved, went not exactly as you wanted.

3.

Prepare a set of minimum 10 questions that you would like to ask yourself about your experiences from the service in order to reveal how to redesign it to meet your needs.

Handouts / props

 

  • None, just a piece of paper and a pencil

(Creativity).png

Creativity, playfulness, imagine

EXERCISE 1

Five years on - Miracle question using playful imagination

This exercise develops creativity by imagining a future using a miracle question.

Duration.png

30-40 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

This exercise can be done in pair work or individually where each person takes it in turns to ask their miracle question and share their imagined future.

 

2.

It is five years on from today and your business has been thriving. Keep your mind open and playful. Close your eyes and imagine you are working in your business and it is more creative, successful and customer-focused than you could have ever imagined!

 

3.

What’s happening? How are you delivering customer satisfaction? Feel how it feels to be this successful. What innovations have you introduced? How is the business using technology in new ways? How do customers feel about working with you and receiving your products or services?

 

4.

Dream these ideas for a few minutes in a relaxed state. Try and feel the great vibes. Then open your eyes and share what you saw with a partner.

How to do this exercise individually

If you are working alone on this, after the thinking phase jot your ideas down and let them flow, then look at  your notes to evaluate your ideas. What do you notice? Reflect on your ideas.

Handouts / props

 

  • None

EXERCISE 2

Digital adaptation

This exercise develops creativity by generating solutions how to take such business online that seems impossible to take it online.

Duration.png

40 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

In the group, decide the type of business or organisation you will focus on. Once you have a decision, discuss how elements of the business could be promoted, presented, or experienced online. Try to generate a new opportunity through this process.

 

2.

Keep your ideas flowing and open, do not evaluate or close them down too quickly.

Draw a mind map or a list, whatever suits your creative process.

 

3.

After the exercise, you can present your ideas back to the group.

 

How to do this exercise individually

 

On your own, use a piece of paper or a digital whiteboard to brainstorm your ideas and draw a mind map or a list. Evaluate your ideas individually at the end.

Handouts / props

 

  • Pens and paper or a digital whiteboard

EXERCISE 3

Sustainability – What does it mean to you?

In this exercise the work sustainability in taken and ideas of its personal meaning are brainstormed.

Duration.png

30 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

On your own, think of sustainability in its widest possible context relating to all kinds of products, services and experiences of a business.

 

2.

Consider the whole life cycle of a product or service from its conception to end.

 

3.

Write your ideas down on a piece of paper or a digital whiteboard if you are doing this exercise online.

 

4.

After you have brainstormed your ideas, reflect back on what you have learnt.

 

5.

If you are working in pairs, reflect together with a partner and share your insights.

 

How to do this exercise individually

 

If you are doing this exercise individually, follow all steps other than step 5. Reflect alone on a piece of paper.

Handouts / props

 

  • Pens and paper or a digital whiteboard

EXERCISE 4

Ten uses for recycled paper cups

In this exercise you will explore a business that recycles paper cups, this activity is about using creativity to find ways that these recycled cups can be used.

Duration.png

20 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Use your creativity and playful thinking to brainstorm some possible ideas of how a business which recycles paper cups can use this material to create a new product.

2.

List your ideas or draw a map of the products. Reflect on how you came upon the ideas.

 

3.

Share your ideas back with the group or work individually.

 

How to do this exercise individually

 

If you are working on your own, carry out the exercise individually on a piece of paper or a digital whiteboard.

Handouts / props

 

  • Pens and paper or a digital whiteboard if you want to write down your ideas

EXERCISE 1

Taking the everyday…thinking about usability, accessibility

This exercise aims to take an everyday occurrence or experience and examine it for access and usability thinking of diverse users or recipients with a view to re-designing the experience, service, or product.

Duration.png

40 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

In your group list possible everyday occurrences such as going to the supermarket, getting on the bus, or buying something online. It should be an occurrence that you almost no longer give any thought to.

 

2.

Now in your group decide what the theme is and then representing the widest base of customers with diverse needs, approach a re-design of this experience using collaboration, mapping your journey, considering accessing and exiting. How do you currently feel and how do you want to feel? Think of all the possible customers of different ages, levels of mobility and disability.

 

3.

Think about all the frustrations, pinch points, design frustrations and barriers that make this customer experience less than it could be for you.

 

4.

List your suggested improvements and re-design ideas.

 

How to do this exercise individually

 

If you are working alone on this, after the thinking phase jot your ideas down. Reflect on your ideas individually, has this given you any ideas for service re-design?

Handouts / props

 

  • Pens and paper or a digital whiteboard if you want to write down your ideas

EXERCISE 2

Usability review

This exercise develops your ability to review the usability of a business or organisation online platform/website.

Duration.png

30-40 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

In pairs or individually, find together an online platform (this could be a website, Etsy page, mobile app) used by a business or organisation in CCS. It could be something random or one that you are both interested in.

 

2.

One person then gets the role of the person going into the platform and the other person has to provide ideas on what to do.

 

3.

For example, the person providing the ideas can ask the other to do the following:

 

  • Try to access their contact details to get in touch

  • Try to order an artwork

  • Try to find out information about their background and ethos

 

4.

The other person then has to carry these things out and make notes on a piece of paper about the user experience. If there is time, roles could be swapped.

 

5.

At the end, reflect back together what was easy, what was difficult and what could be improved. Think about whether there are any lessons you have learnt to apply to your own business venture.

 

How to do this exercise individually

 

Follow the steps on an individual basis and make your notes on a piece of paper. Afterwards, reflect what was difficult or could be improved, and any lessons learnt.

Handouts / props

 

  • Pens and paper or a digital whiteboard

EXERCISE 3

Usability Niggles

This exercise develops your ability to identify any niggles a business might have and engage in problem solving, looking at the business from a user perspective.

Duration.png

30 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Think about a recent experience with a business or an organisation in the CCS, individually write down your niggles (something annoying). Think about a service you have experienced or a product you have purchased.

 

2.

Create a storyboard or a flow chart from your experience from the start until the end of the experience.

 

3.

After the exercise, reflect back how service design can overcome some of these issues. In what ways could the customer experience be enhanced if these customer experience issues were addressed?

 

4.

If you are working in a group, reflect back together.

 

How to do this exercise individually

Follow all the above steps apart from point 4. Make notes and reflect.

Handouts / props

 

  • Pens, paper and a ruler or a digital whiteboard

EXERCISE 4

Olfactory stimulation has arrived

This exercise develops the ability to understand customer perspective from the angle of the use of olfactory stimulation as an engagement technique.

Duration.png

40-45 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

A company has now developed the ability to add smells to their products and the sales environment.

1.

Get into small groups or do this on an individual basis. Firstly, carry out some research about what kind of smells are regarded as pleasant or unpleasant. Think of as many ways as possible how various businesses could use olfactory stimulation to attract customers and buyers and promote their goods and services. It might be helpful to think of a specific context for this, for example, a Viking Museum, fried chicken shops, leather worker’s studio, or a bakery. Are there any health and safety implications people need to consider?

 

2.

At a focus group, someone has mentioned that their sense of smell is poor. To encourage engagement to be more accessible, think of some ways that other senses could be involved.

 

3.

Create a mind map together as a group or have 1 person who takes down all the ideas.

 

4.

Share your work back to the group and discuss what you have learnt as a result of the exercise.

 

5.

What processes did you use to generate your ideas?

How to do this exercise individually

Instead of collecting the ideas as a group, work individually on a piece of paper or a digital whiteboard.

Handouts / props

 

  • Pens and paper or a digital whiteboard

(User orientation, usability, accessibility5).png

User orientation, usability, accessibility

Wish questions2.png

‘You wish’ questions for customers

EXERCISE 1

A Dream House

Asking people what they wish for, what they need, expect and how they experience things helps them to discover plenty of useful information to address to their needs and wishes, and address their activity. This exercise focuses on finding out different dreams and needs people have about their ideal house.

Duration.png

15-20 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Start by writing down some basic demographics about yourself: your age, gender, 5 things you like and a few things about your life situation including your family situation. First add your name, or nickname, under which you will add this short description about yourself.

 

2.

Write down what you wish your dream house would be like, for instance, where would it be, what kind of house would it be, how many rooms would it have, do you have a sauna, do you have a garden and if yes, what kind of garden, what services are nearby, and so on. Add a maximum of 10 things. Write these wishes under the short description of yourself starting each thought with “I wish…”

 

3.

Select 2 different people and ask them about their dreamhouse. You can ask your friends or relatives, or also those at the same session. These people should be demographically different from each other. Start by writing down the same basic information about them and under add their wishes. Write these in the same way that you wrote about yourself, the name on the top, then a short description of the person, and lastly wishes about the dream house.

 

4.

Finally compare thoughts on the three dream houses. What is similar and what is different? What might explain the similarities and differences between you three as persons? You can also highlight the similarities with one colour and differences with another.

Handouts / props

 

  • Paper or a notebook to write

  • Pens of different colours

EXERCISE 2

At the Theatre

This exercise looks into the kind of physical and situational needs people may have due to their size, age and condition, and offers a way to observes different types of users, and generate ideas for tailored product and services.

Duration.png

15-20 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Choose 4 characters who differ physically and by age, and give them names. These can be for instance, an elderly lady in a wheelchair, a young child, a very tall man, a pregnant woman and a person with a poor eyesight. If done in a group, chose the same number of characters as people in the group and have each of the team members select and one persona from those that you have developed together. If done alone, you can create all four characters and imagine what they would say.

 

2.

Think about different situations at the theatre and these characters’ wishes for the same situations. You can create a table where each character has their own column on the top and each 4 situation has its own row. Write for each character what they wish for that situation. For example, at the entrance the lady in the wheelchair could wish that there was a lift or a ramp. Similarly, the young child could wish at the theatre hall that tall people would not sit in the front rows and the tall man that there would be more space between chairs. The pregnant lady might just wish to get a seat near the door in case she would not feel well.

 

3.

Look at the different needs and generate 3 quick service or product solutions for them. For example, there could be extra cushions for small children to lift them higher on the chairs.

Handouts / props

 

  • Paper and pens

EXERCISE 3

Holiday memories

This exercise focuses on drawing wishes and needs from past experiences by looking back at them. The past experience in this exercise is a holiday.

Duration.png

15-20 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Think about a holiday you once experienced. You can do this alone or with someone who was there too or talk to your peers about the holiday, or in class with a peer.

 

2.

Reflect on your experiences and what you did on holiday and form questions to answer. Here are some examples of questions, but you can also have other and more detailed questions:

 

  • ‘’Were there any moments of the holiday experience that you would like to change?’’

  • ‘’What was the best part of your holiday? What was the most frustrating or worst part?’’

  • ‘’ What is one of your favourite feelings that you had and miss while visiting the location? What would you have liked to add and do more?’’

  • ‘’If you were on a holiday next time at the same place, what would you want to be different? What would you want to see?’’

3.​

Based on these experiences, think about someone you know and how you would recommend this service to this person. What might this person like there and what would they rather avoid?

Handouts / props

 

  • Paper and pen or other tools to take notes

EXERCISE 4

A wish jar

This exercise helps one to reflect on one’s own professional wishes and in this way understand oneself better.

Duration.png

10-15 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

1.

Take sticky notes and a pen and for 5 minutes write freely any wishes you have for your professional life or the sector

 

2.

Once ready, start organising the ideas into clusters that you name.

 

3.

Reflect on the clusters and wishes. Use one colour sticky notes or pens to mark those wishes you can already do something about and yet another colour sticky notes or pens to mark those wishes that can wait a big longer.

4.

In the future you can use this as your dream and wish board by adding and deleting elements.

Handouts / props

 

  • Different colour pens or markers

  • Different colour sticky notes

Visual2.png

Visual world: what is said visually, express yourself visually

EXERCISE 1

Secret mission

This exercise helps you to express verbal and written information visually and pass this information to others. It also helps you to create a big picture visually so you can look at and understand the whole picture of a situation as a big canvas and add missing elements or make changes to it when needed. And have fun at the same time!

Duration.png

15-30 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Start by reading the scenario.

 

2.

You are the leader of a team of secret agents. Your team is about to operate a super-secret mission and the operation and instructions cannot be discussed aloud as someone might be listening. Instead you need to express yourself visually to the team.

 

3.

Decide what the mission is. For instance, are you going to protect the president, transport something to safety or perhaps replace an original crown with a copy or set up an espionage system?

 

4.

Draw a sequence of steps to conduct this mission on paper, whiteboard or something else.

 

5.

Now start adding roles and tasks; who does what and when. You can use normal sticky notes for tasks and sticky notes with agent figures and names (each agent different) for agents. Add these to phases when things take place. For example, on the task to be performed by agent Zed group the agent Zed and task sticky notes together. Set timings to tasks too. 

 

6.

Add sticky notes of different colour and shapes to represent different props, such as cars, and place them on the overall map. Add any additional explanation and information needed onto the process map.

 

7.

Once complete, give it a look-over and review all. Present it to your peers. Do they understand the process? Make changes, move sticky notes as needed until you are happy with the results.

How to do this exercise individually

This exercise is only done in a group. If you do the training individually, you can do it for example with your family, friends or colleagues.

Handouts / props

 

  • A3 or bigger sheets of paper, or papers taped together /white board / or another surface onto which you can draw and attach things, such as blackboard

  • Pens and markers of different colour

  • Sticky notes

  • Pictures

  • Tape, scissors and possibly Blu-Tack

EXERCISE 2

The telephone game: drawing edition

In this version of the popular game, you will see the relationships that can form between different people’s interpretations of images and text.

Duration.png

10-20 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

In groups of 3 to 6, start with an A4 piece of paper. Each person writes a word or phrase at the top of the page and passes it to the next person. (Each person starts one page so that all have an activity at each step and are not waiting.)

 

2.

The second person draws a picture directly under the text and then folds the paper back under the text so that the text is not showing. The paper then goes to the third person.

 

3.

The third person writes a word or phrase inspired by the drawing and turs the page back so that now only the third person’s text is showing. (The drawing is folded back and hidden.)

 

4.

If there are more than 3 people in the group, the page goes to the fourth person and the process continues with only exposing the last person’s text or image until you run through all group members.

 

5.

Once each person has contributed to each page at least once, unfold the collaborative pages and look at how the ideas have been communicated back and forth between text and image.

 

How to do this exercise individually

 

This exercise is only done in a group. If you do the training individually, you can do it for example with your family, friends or colleagues.

Handouts / props

 

  • A4 paper

  • Pencils and/or pens

EXERCISE 3

A trip to the grocery store

This exercise will help you to think about the individual actions and steps involved in an everyday customer experience and how a story can be told with images. This will help you to think about what visual information can convey about physical actions, details, emotions, etc.

Duration.png

15-30 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

In pairs or individually, draw each step of your last grocery shopping trip starting from when you leave home to when you return. Draw, for example, your mode of transportation, items you look at in the store, what you put in your cart or basket, people you interact with, your checkout line and cashier experience, transportation home, and putting the groceries away. 

 

2.

The sketches can be small. You can draw on post-it notes or pieces of paper. They can be simple stick figures. If you would like, you can watch How to Draw Stickmen to begin drawing Cartoon People for inspiration

 

3.

Once you have drawn your steps, you can arrange them in order on a large piece of paper or white boards. It is okay to add drawings if you recognise that you have missed steps when you look at the story laid out.

 

4.

Think about the following: How do you feel at each step? Are there emotional high or low points in your journey?

 

5.

Arrange your drawings as if on a graph. The moments that were the most positive higher and difficulties lower.

Handouts / props

 

  • Paper or sticky notes to draw steps on

  • Pens or pencils

  • Whiteboard, blackboard, bulletin board or large paper to lay out images

EXERCISE 4

Song into emotion

Experience translating the experience of the senses of hearing and feeling/emotion into visual form. This will help you to recognise the interaction of our various senses and the relationship of music in particular to our emotions.

Duration.png

5-15 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Listen to the song.

 

2.

As you are listening, draw what you hear. Notice qualities such as tempo and rhythm.

 

3.

Identify the emotion or feeling you associate with the song and draw this emotion. What kind of shapes or edges go with this emotion?

 

4.

Choose a color that represents the feeling of the song.

  • Identify what the meaning of the song is that you can represent visually.

Handouts / props

 

  • Paper

  • crayons, pastels, colored pencils or colored markers

(Problem solving3).png

Problem solving - Cross disciplinary

EXERCISE 1

A problem map

This exercise allows for observation of different elements of a problem and solving it by mapping them. Mapping a problem is part of defining the problem and a kick-off for the problem-solving process. Creating a mind map of the problem that allows for moving, deleting and adding elements, enables one to keep the problem up-to-date and change the viewpoint if needed.

Duration.png

10-15 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Read the description of the problem: 

 

Customers are complaining that there is not enough parking outside of a venue. How can we solve this problem that is bothering our customers?

2.

Take an A3 sheet of paper or use a whiteboard and mark the problem at the centre of it. It is important to do this by hand, as making things by hand increases creativity.

 

3.

Start mind-mapping different areas and elements of the problem, what is linked to it, including people involved.

 

4.

Once you have created an overview of the problem, create a multidisciplinary dream team to solve the problem as characters. They should represent different professions and areas of activity. You can write and draw these for example on sticky notes.

 

5.

Have a look at your work and see if you are happy with it or if you want to change something.

 

6.

This exercise can also be done in small groups, if done in class (virtual or face-to-face). Teams present their results to other teams. If done alone, you can show your work to a peer and talk about it with them.

Handouts / props

 

  • Paper sheets size A3 or whiteboard

  • Pens and markers of different colour

  • Sticky notes

EXERCISE 2

Define the problem to solve it!

Sometimes the real cause of the problem is not visible. It might be complex, a combination of things or hidden behind more obvious things. This exercise focuses on broadening the view to find the possible causes for the problem which can also help identify the root cause.

Duration.png

15-20 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Select a problem situation that can be said with a short sentence. For example, food has become more expensive.

 

2.

Using a whiteboard or similar surface, or an A3 paper sheet, place the problem situation at the top centre as a heading. Alternatively, you can use the fishbone diagram handout where you add the problem situation on the head of the arrow.

 

3.

Ask “why?” and ideate possible reasons for the problem situation, for example, ‘there is less (of specific) food’. Write these as subheadings under the problem situation statement as the reasons. On the fishbone diagram, white the subheadings in grey category arrows.

 

4.

Ask why again for each of these sub-headings and write down more reasons for them. You can do this a few more times. On the fishbone diagram, write these on the lines below and above each respective category.

 

5.

You will end up having a broader picture of the causes with sub-causes. Make an assumption about the root cause based on this material. If you want, you can test this later

 

6.

If done during the learning session, this exercise can be done in pairs and the results can be presented and discussed. You can also talk with your family and friends about your findings.

Handouts / props

 

EXERCISE 3

The water pipe


In this exercise you will create and evaluate alternative solutions to find the best ones.

Duration.png

15-20 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Get into small groups 3-4 people. Each group should imagine to be at a summer cottage which is an old and charming building. All of the sudden you notice a leak in a water pipe. How could you fix it?

 

2.

Generate ideas about how to fix the leak in the water pipe. Each of the group writes these on sticky notes, whiteboard or paper. No talking is needed. Be open to any possible ideas. You can also think of what you might have at the cottage. Use 5 minutes for idea generation.

 

3.

It is time to evaluate the ideas. Put the ideas on a table, wall or a whiteboard.

 

4.

Now each group member looks at the ideas and starts evaluating them by marking and ‘X’ on each idea they like.

 

5.

Take those ideas out that do not have an ‘X’ on them.

 

6.

Do another round of marking an ‘X’ on 3 ideas they like the best.

 

7.

After the second round of evaluation, select the three ideas with most ‘X’s marked on them. If more than one idea gets the same score, take those.

 

8.

Organise these by scoring: the highest scored on the top, send at the second highest and third the lowest.

 

9.

As the highest scoring might still not be the best, discuss about the ideas by justifying them to select the final one.

 

How to do this exercise individually

 

This warm-up exercise can also be done individually. The steps are the same but the final reflection is done alone or one can ask opinions form their friends or family.

Handouts / props

 

  • Paper sheets size A3 or a whiteboard

  • Pens and markers of different colour

  • Sticky notes

EXERCISE 4

Alternative solution team

Alternative solutions to familiar solutions and multidisciplinary teams to solve those are looked for in this exercise.

Duration.png

10-20 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Find a familiar problem and a solution for it. This can be anything you find online, see on news or know in practice.

 

2.

Generate five alternative solutions to the problem and select the one to proceed with.

 

3.

Plan what kind of multidisciplinary team would be needed to reach the alternative solution, which disciplines they represent and if there any representatives of the general public.

 

4.

Make a short implementation plan to reach the selected solution determining tasks and roles for the process.

 

How to do this exercise in a group

 

Divide into small groups of 2-3- persons and go through the steps above. At the end of the exercise, the small groups present their work to others.

Handouts / props

 

  • Paper and pens

(Empathy2).png

Empathy

EXERCISE 1

Reflective dialogue

This exercise focuses on strengthening one’s ability to understand another, and deeply listen.

Duration.png

10-15 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Form pairs and start with the first person of the pair who first take the role of the teller while the second person is the listener.

 

2.

Person one: Choose a recent situation where you were treated well and uplifted in contact with somebody (i.e., customer, dealer...). Describe the situation to the other person, where and what happened.

 

3.

The other person listens and supports you reflecting upon the situation. Try to figured out what happened, what you were feeling, thinking and doing. What did the person you met do, and how do you think that person experienced the situation; what was he/she thinking and feeling; what was his/her intention? Summarise and make a conclusion about how the situation was for you.

 

4.

Switch roles and do the same with the second person telling about a situation while the first person listens.

 

5.

Summarise together findings from the exercise: How was it to tell and to listen? What else did you find?

 

How to do this exercise individually

 

If done individually you write down, instead of telling, the description of a recent situation and your reflections about what happened, how you were feeling and thinking, and what you image the other person(s) was thinking and feeling in the situation. To end you summarise your findings: How was it to describe the situation – hard, easy? Was there something that surprised you? Any new thoughts?

Handouts / props

 

  • Paper and pen to make notes

EXERCISE 2

Roleplay Unusual customer request

This exercise aims to build empathy and understanding for custumors and situations. It is based on the Freshdesk’s exercise.

Duration.png

10-15 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Find a partner.

2.

One of you thinks of or comes up with an unusual customer request, and tells about this to the partner.

 

3.

The other person then tries to justify the request.

 

4.

Together you build a scenario where the request makes sense. You can also (together) try to find a solution for the request.

 

5.

Switch roles – if there´s time.

 

How to do this exercise individually

 

Instead of telling about an unusual request you write down and reflect by yourself about the situation. How could the request make sense? What could be a good solution for the request?

Handouts / props

 

  • None

EXERCISE 3

Self-compassion

The aim of the exercise is to strenghten understanding and compassion for oneself. It is performed individually.

Duration.png

5-10 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Think about something you are struggling with, and how it makes you feel.

 

2.

Then think about a friend (or maybe a child) who would struggle with the same thing.

 

3.

Think about how you would respond to your friend.

Handouts / props

 

  • Papers and pens

EXERCISE 4

Sharing experiences

The exercise focuses on strengthening one’s compassion and understanding for oneself and others by sharing experiences with each other.

Duration.png

10-15 minutes

Steps to do the exercise

 

1.

Think about a good and bad experience you recently had, for example with a customer.

 

2.

Walk around silently together with the other participants in the room; meanwhile the facilitator can play some music. When the music stops, or the facilitator says “stop”, you stop and make a pair with the person next to you.

 

3.

Briefly share your experiences with each other, taking turns.  One is telling, the other listens, and then the other way around.

 

4.

When the music starts again, or the facilitator so says, move on, silently walking and mixing again. Stop when the music stops, and share your experience with another participant, and so on...

 

How to do this exercise individually

 

This exercise is only done in a group. If you do the training individually, you can do it for example with your family, friends or colleagues.

Handouts / props

 

  • None

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