Whether in an ideation session or a strategy workshop – card sets are essential for many facilitators. They quickly provide an overview of a topic, bring people together, ensure the right focus and can turn the discussion into a desired outcome. In this way they often contribute to a good result.
But what makes working with card sets in a workshop so special?
What we love about card sets is that they are so incredibly diverse. So we use them to evoke certain thoughts and emotions, to gather new ideas, to work out concepts in detail or to make decisions. There is a suitable set for every purpose.
If we want to get teams to take unconventional paths to develop ideas, we use our Scrabble scenario, for example. This allows us to create mini future scenarios quickly and easily.
The principle is simple: Combine one card of each of the three symbol decks into a row. This creates a future scenario with tasks such as „In a future where there is no money as currency, design a service related to social security.
If the goal is to solve technical problems, we use TRIZ cards. There, around 40 different technical concepts are presented with which problems can be solved. They also help the participants to come up with ideas that they normally do not automatically think of. Or we use Moonshot cards to push the development of extraordinary, visionary concepts.
Participants also often find it difficult to spontaneously develop the many characteristics and attributes for personas that fit their interview partners or target groups. Therefore we have developed a Persona Puzzle which helps to quickly create a first version of a Persona.
It is also recommended to browse the net, because there are many freely available files for download. In addition, we swear to develop specific sets for the purposes of our customers ourselves. The motto here is: little effort, big effect. For example, there is already a great added value in supplementing an existing set of cards with brainstorming questions with some of our own, topic-specific questions.
Communication and Interconnection
Above all, however, as an interactive tool, card sets ensure communication between the participants and connect people in this way. And this is what is important in a successful workshop: Without a link between the participants, it is difficult to work together effectively and the results will suffer. Therefore the cards are welcome as assisting
VISUAL AND TOUCHABLE
Cards are tangible and visual. They make content easy to understand and are effective in teams. There are no long texts, several people can grasp content at the same time and get into conversation about it. By splitting the content into many individual pieces of information, the facilitator can control the interaction with the content very well by deciding which group gets which cards when and how the participants should interact with the cards.
But even if you can’t do much wrong, card sets should be used carefully. We also have already had one or two flops from which we have learned. For this reason, you should consider the following points if you want to use card sets in workshops.
First of all, the facilitator should think about how to use the cards. There are three important aspects:
- What is the purpose of the cards?
When planning the workshop, the facilitator should be aware of what he or she expects from the cards. This could be, for example, inspiration, structure or the discussion of trends or other content.
- What is the application context?
For the interaction with cards in a workshop, it should be clearly defined in which context the cards should be used. It is the facilitators task to clarify if there is a specific question that needs to be answered. In our experience, this point is particularly important for the participants and causes confusion and mental barriers in case of ambiguity.
- What is the expected result of the work?
Participants and facilitator should be clear about what exactly is to be worked out with the cards. There should be specific instructions on what is expected of the session. Participants and facilitator should be aware of the purpose of the cards. There should be specific instructions on what is expected of the session. This could be, for example, to develop concrete ideas and write them down on Post-Its.
In addition to these aspects, which must be carefully planned in advance, there are a few more helpful tips and tricks:
Determine a Card Master: It is often a good idea for a selected group member to hold the deck of cards in his hand and read the top card out loud for the others. This way the group has a common focus and working past each other in parallel is avoided.
Make sure there are enough cards: In our experience, there should always be plenty of cards and choices. This allows the participants to choose the speed they switch to the next card within the given time frame. There is nothing worse than frustration arising because the group can’t do anything with the top card and the creativity level drops.
Remain visual and simple: When we develop our own card sets, we carefully choose how much information is conveyed by the card. We minimize complexity, ensure that the content is easy to understand and choose a suitable visualization that further supports the group’s understanding.
Try and test: Of course, it can always happen that the participants don’t understand anything when you hold the stack of cards in your hand. Then it’s time to spontaneously act and not to keep holding it up. It can also be helpful to ask the participants specifically for feedback on the cards after a workshop. This way you can create your own sets of cards or just optimize the use of the cards.