Communicate ideas and core concepts using images in a poster format to summarize a challenge or larger topic for further discussion.
👥 10 – 100 person | ⏰ 20 minutes
If a picture is worth a thousand words, what would 50 pictures be worth? What if 50 people could present their most passionate ideas to each other—without any long-winded explanation?
This exercise accelerates the presentation process by breaking it down into a simplified format. It forces everyone to think about the best way to compile and communicate their ideas.
The goal is to create a set of compelling images that summarize a challenge or topic for further discussion. Creating this set might be an “opening act” that sets the stage for choosing an idea to pursue, or it might be a way to index ideas for a large topic.
- Everyone will need ample supplies for creating their poster. Flip charts and markers are sufficient, but consider bringing other school supplies, such as stickers, magazines for cutting up, and physical objects.
- Start by framing the challenge. In any given large group, you could say: “There are more good ideas in everyone’s heads than there is time to understand and address them. By creating posters that explain the ideas, we’ll have a better idea of what’s out there and what we might work on.”
- The participants’ task is to create a poster that explains their topic. There are two constraints:
- It must be self-explanatory. Could someone understand it without having you explain it?
- It must be visual. Words are good, but text alone will not be enough to get people’s attention or help them understand. Participants may be helped by thinking about three kinds of explanation:
Before and After: Describe “why” someone should care in terms of the today and tomorrow of the idea.
System: Describe the “what” of an idea in terms of its parts and their relationships.
Process: Describe the “how” of an idea in terms of a sequence of events.
- Give participants 20 minutes to create their posters. When they have finished, post them on the wall to create a “gallery.” Ask the group to circulate and walk the gallery. Some posters will attract and capture more attention than others. From here, it may be worthwhile to have participants dot vote (see Dot Voting) to decide what ideas to pursue further.
Optional: The posters may be created in small groups. In this case, it’s important for the group to decide ahead of time what their topic will be and to give more time to come to a consensus on what they will draw and how they will draw it. A small group of experts may create posters to explain their different points of view at the start of a meeting, and to make their models of the world, their vocabulary, and their interests clear and explicit.