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Assign fun roles to better handle workshop conflicts

The context

Keeping a positive and constructive mood during a co-creation workshop can be difficult, especially when the participants already know each other and carry prejudices, roles and dynamics developed in their working environment. How can we break that mechanism so that everybody feels equally motivated to collaborate?

Suggested approach

Assigning fun roles to the workshop attendees at the beginning of the co-creation session could be a nice ice-breaking exercise, as well as a good way to laugh about their personalities and rediscuss their role for the day. Fun roles can be of any kind (i.e., the visionary, the pragmatic, the provocateur, the optimistic,..) and can be assigned in a random way or intentionally given to specific personalities in the team to mitigate some aspects of their attitude.

Value added

The badges become hooks to handle the conversation: for example when a participant is becoming a blocking element in the brainstorming the moderator can intervene by calling out his quality (i.e. "you are supposed to be optimistic today"). The badges also encourage participants who struggle raising their voice in front of their colleagues to become more vocal, based on a specific role they need to play for the day.

Thinking ahead

The input for the exercise can vary according to the context. Sometimes the roles are based on experience principles or behavioural drivers of a specific organization, becoming a way to bring those abstract values to life throughout a workshop session.

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