Make focused decisions to design the package for an idea, which communicates information about its important features. 

👥 6 to 30 participants | ⏰ more than 1 hour


Teams create a physical “box” that sells an idea, whether it is a tangible product or not. The box serves as a focusing device that wraps up intangible information into a physical object, prompting decisions along the way. Through this, your team must decide on important features and other aspects of your vision that are difficult to articulate. 

When presenting or “selling” the boxes to each other, a number of things come to life, including the translation of features into benefits. This exercise can facilitate any vision-oriented discussion. The resulting boxes may live on after the session is over as a friendly reminder of the big picture. 


Paper and markers work, but don’t hesitate to use craft supplies like blank white cardboard boxes from a mailing store, markers, craft paper, stickers, tape and scissors. 

Sample boxes may provide inspiration. Cereal boxes with their free prize offers, bold imagery and nutritional information are good. Plain “store-label” boxes, gift boxes and toy boxes give a range of voices. Teams that are heavily entrenched in business-as-usual may benefit most from this. 

Before creating a box, the team should reflect on what could be on it. Consider laying out building blocks, such as possible names of the idea, customers, or buyers, and possible features and functions. 

This may be familiar ground, or it may be new. The key is to give teams just enough information to feel comfortable starting. 

Give the teams a set amount of time, 30 minutes or more, to create the box for their idea. Ask them to imagine coming across the box on a retail shelf, shrink-wrapped and ready for sale. In designing the box, teams may ask: What’s it called? Who’s it for? What’s its tagline or slogan? What are its most compelling features? Benefits? What imagery would make it stand out to you? There is no wrong way to make the box. 

Teams may self-organize naturally; most participants will want to create their own box. 

Finally, each team or individual has the chance to “sell” their boxes. Consider using a timer for these presentations, and offering a prize to the most convincing team. 

Look for breakthroughs as teams sell the boxes. When selling, people naturally translate features into benefits. The phrases “so that” or “because” bridge otherwise mechanical features into benefits. 

The exercise can be open-ended or the teams can converge on a shared box. For the latter, note the differences and similarities in how each team interpreted their box. Build on the common ground in the similarities, and isolate differences for discussion. Consider running a second round, incorporating the agreements into one box.