Use physical objects as a way of structuring interactions, exercises, or even entire events.
Objects can help to provoke new connections or uncover thoughts and feelings that are hard to express or have been forgotten. Particularly relevant to help deliver patterns like Weave the Red Threads or Disrupt the Is.
First of all find some objects. Perhaps ask people to bring them in response to a particular question. Locate items in a company archive or museum, or simply search your own home.
Perhaps ask individuals to speak about particular objects. Juxtapose different objects and ask participants to compare and contrast. Objects can act in various ways, including:
- as prompts or triggers to access memories and emotions, or to discover new ideas and perspectives
- as neutral spaces between people, providing a way to depersonalise conflict, to create a container for people to share different, perhaps conflicting, experiences
- as mnemonics that provide visual and metaphorical hooks for recall which can help contextualise meeting discussions and remind people of the substance of conversations later.
Objects are a good way to changing the pace of a meeting - and provide a break from paper and Powerpoint. They can help to give heteregenous groups a sense of common identity
Use the same objects in different meetings to create continuity or use them as artefacts to explain a meeting to people who weren’t there.