Workshop Exercises: Ideate

Crazy Eights

Sketch eight distinct ideas in eight minutes

Illustration of Crazy Eights
Run a Crazy Eights play

Alternative plays: Round Robin

Follow-up plays: Design Charrette, Storyboarding

Timing: Execution

Run time
30-45 minutes

Group size

Why: Overcome creative blocks by facilitating quick-fire ideation

When: Useful to stimulate creativity and prevent overthinking at the beginning of a brainstorming session

This workshop exercise is part of the Workshop Patterns printed card deck.

A collection of workshop exercises that will help you ditch dull meetings and facilitate with confidence. It will help you master the design process and have more productive time with your team. The card deck will be ready for purchase in the end of 2023 and is now undergoing rigorous testing.

Reserve your deck!

Instructions for running this play

  1. Ask each participant to fold a piece of paper into eight sections
  2. Frame the problem. Make sure all participants understand the problem you are trying to solve. Consider framing it with a How Might We question.
  3. Give participants a Timebox of eight minutes to individually sketch one idea in each of the eight rectangles, trying to fill all sections in the allotted time. Set a timer.
    1. The idea can be written or drawn
    2. Encourage participants to move to the next idea as each minute passes
    3. The short time and high pace will feel uncomfortable. That’s the point.
  4. When the timer goes off, everyone stops sketching.
  5. Ask participants to Playback their ideas.
  6. Consider doing the exercise again, letting the participants steal each other’s ideas.

Tips to perfect this play

Master and adapt the play to fit your context and needs.

Tip: No pretty pictures

If participants find the exercise intimidating, reassure everyone that these are rough sketches that do not need to be perfect or beautiful. The goal is to communicate the idea.

Tip: Do a sketch tutorial

Consider holding a quick "how to sketch" tutorial session before embarking on the exercise.

Tip: Great ideas is not the goal

The purpose is to quiet the inner critic and give our creative impulses space to flourish. Weird, impossible, and impractical ideas often pave the way to truly inspired ones.

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