Published on April 3, 2019 by

Themes: , ,


To see things with ‘new eyes’, gathering different perspectives to tease out alternative ways of getting things done


Provocations are ideas or wild scenarios that are offbeat, which may serve as catalysts or ‘stepping stones' to help you make an intuitive leap to a good idea


One Hour


Paper, pencil, post-it notes


In Small Groups


Verbally express an extreme or outrageous scenario that would necessitate completely redefining how you approach an issue. Then, select the ‘simple rule’ that seems to be central to the way people currently think about the issue. Eliminate or drastically modify these elements in a scenario that describes a new situation and makes it seem real. Be imaginative; for example you could pass a new law to make the current simple rule illegal, discover some environmental hazard that forces facilities to close, create a crisis of any sort, magically make something appear and ask how you would redesign the process if it were true. Ask: How would we redesign the process if that were the case? State what you want the thinking to focus on in the new scenario. Identify elements of the system that are central to the issue: stakeholders, IT equipment or users. Write a scenario and include a statement of focus.

DOs and DON’Ts

  • DO have fun with this activity; it is meant to be playful and tongue-in-cheek
  • DO prepare provocations in advance
  • DO perform provocations spontaneously
  • DO be prepared for initial incredulity when using provocations



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