Workshop Exercises: Understand


Understand and align a group by relating and sharing their motivations

Illustration of WiiFM
Run a WiiFM play

Also called: What's In It For Me?

Alternative plays: Personal Histories

Follow-up plays: Hopes and Fears

Timing: Planning

Prep time
5 minutes

Run time
30 minutes

Group size

Why: Understand what each person hopes to gain and foster empathy among team members

When: When a new team is formed or embark on a new initiative

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. Introduce the exercise. Let participants know they will be reflecting on and sharing their personal motivations and expectations for their role, training, or project at hand.
  2. Brainstorm individually. Instruct participants to conduct a 5 minute Silent Storming exercise to reflect on what they hope to gain from what they are about to embark on. This could be a learning opportunity, career growth, personal satisfaction, or any other kind of personal benefit. They should then write down these expectations and motivations on sticky notes, one per note.
  3. Share and discuss. Ask each participant to present their notes to the group. This should be a safe space for everyone to openly share their motivations and expectations.
  4. Group similar ieas (optional). **Once everyone has shared, group similar notes together. This can help identify common motivations or expectations among the group.
  5. Discuss and align. Now that everyone’s motivations and expectations are visible, facilitate a discussion about them. 
    1. Are there any surprises?
    2. Any common themes?
    3. Does everyone feel their expectations align with the team’s or project’s goals? If not, how can the team support each other in meeting these individual expectations?
  6. Review and close. Finally, summarize the main points of the discussion, reaffirm the importance of everyone’s motivations and expectations, and remind the team to keep these in mind as they work together moving forward.

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