Collective imagination: some starter activities for your team

Esther has kindly provided two activities that can be used within a team setting.

These activities are a follow up to her blog introducing collective imagination to a business audience.

In her blog she outlines what collective imagination is and how it can help businesses start to think about what an alternative future would look like, other than the one which will occur if on autopilot.

The activities below provide teams with some starter activities to get teams engaging with collective imagination practices.

Activity 1: Boundary pushing brainstorming

Get a team into the right headspace for generating new ideas towards a collective work challenge or the team's collective future.

Step 1: Everyone has five minutes to write down as many ideas as possible

  • You’ll notice that by minute three, people will be slowing down and getting stuck. This is where that imaginative process begins. By pushing the team to keep thinking of new approaches, they start to open up the possibilities beyond their initial constraints

Step 2: Once all the ideas down, ask team members to pick ideas that (1) makes the most sense (2) pushes the boundaries the furthest

Step 3: Discuss as a group the links and paradoxes between each set of ideas. What would it take to make some of the boundary pushing ideas a reality? How could aspects of the boundary pushing ideas be incorporated into the ‘makes the most sense’ option? 

Extension exercise: use the outcomes of Activity 1 as inputs for both the Futures Wheel exercise and for the exercises in the Danish Design Centre’s Future Toolkit

Activity 2: Impossible Objects

This is a useful activity for getting your team to consider the ‘impossible’. 

Step 1: Ask everyone to draw a random object on a small piece of paper (e.g. a cup, an apple, a cat etc.)

Step 2: Put the team into small groups of 2-3 people

Step 3: Each small group should find a way to combine their three objects into one ‘Impossible Object’. It is very normal for the teams to say the task is impossible, but encourage everyone to give it a try

Step 4: Once the groups have drawn their ‘impossible object’, ask them to think about what is a context, environment or future in which their object would be useful?

Who would it be useful for? What kind of situation would their object be used in? What would have to change from the present day in order for this impossible object to be accepted?

Step 5: Get the team to write a mini press release from the future where this ‘impossible object’ has been of such use that it made front page news. 

For more information on how to more widely embed collective imagination thinking into your business, please read Esther’s blog here.

Or if you would like to to run a collective imagination process within your business you can reach out to Esther on X

Image by Reilly Dow — Watchet Imagines Lab hosted by Moral Imaginations and Onion Collective 2021

More Articles

Let’s Talk

If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, get in touch and we’ll help shape the right solution.

Get The Spark in your mailbox

An actionable toolkit for busy change makers to help you avoid pitfalls in sustainability transition. 5-10 minutes read. Delivered monthly.

See our previous newsletters