The method surfaces underlying tensions, fears, and concerns of participants and imaginatively engages stakeholders who may not have a voice in the room.
This method uses a counter-intuitive approach to problem solving by trying to make the problem worse both for participants and for “forgotten” or invisible stakeholders. Towards the end of a meeting or planning session, participants will first re-summarize the core issue that they are addressing. Next, they list stakeholders who might not be in the room (could be non-human stakeholders, future generations, or people who aren’t there). Then instead of a list of positive “next steps”, participants identify the solutions that would actually make the problem worse for themselves and for the identified missing stakeholders. After people are done, ideas can be summarized, grouped into categories, and discussed. As an option, the facilitator can offer a prize for the best “worst” ideas and ask participants to vote. Finally, there is another round in small groups to discuss how these bad ideas could be transformed into good solutions. This can provide data about what people fear, who they think are important “invisible” stakeholders, and, in the end, what positive solutions they envision.
flip chart and pens
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