Using Everyday or Special Objects to Facilitate More Creative and Innovative Workshops

Create your own innovative workshop activities with everyday objects.

Facilitators of unique workshops or programs understand how difficult it can be to think of and run new engaging and enlightening activities for participants! While there are many known examples out there, how do you go about creating your own unique activities to amplify your program? In this article, we’ll cover how you can use everyday (and special) objects to design and facilitate more creative and innovative program activities. This is a resource article from our online workshop titled Create and Prototype your Own Unique Activities to Faciliate: Apply design thinking to develop more innovation workshops, meetings, or programs.

Step One: Objects that Spark Ideas

The first step in this process is to think of objects that are special to you or everyday items that can be used to spark activity ideas. Better yet, look around the room or your home or office to see if any stand out to you. It can be mementos, items from a collection, a hobby or fascination of yours, or simply an object that reminds you of an experience or thing you like. Then, focus in on this object and try to determine what about it most fascinates you. Are there any metaphors or comparisons you can draw to your program/workshop?

Step Two: Turning Objects to Activities

Once you’ve chosen an object, now it’s your turn to get creative and find ways to turn these objects into an activity to help others. Here are a few examples from our own training programs we’ve used:

  • Using a piece of cardboard to brainstorm and draw out a mobile application
  • Using a coin to reflect on the past and future; or asking participants to make their own coin detailing an important part of their past and their goals for the future
  • Using coffee beans as an example of each action needed to reach your goal. This demonstrates how tiny steps connect to a larger purpose.

Remember, this is simply a way to brainstorm and get participants in an active, engaged, and participatory role. You can use these activities as a way to introduce your workshop, reflect on what you accomplished together, zero in on what each participant wants to work on, generate ideas, or even simply to bond as a group.

Step Three: Testing Your Activity Out

We recommend testing your activity out before implementing it in a workshop. Ask a colleague or even a family member their thoughts as you explain the activity. Collaborate together, and you may even discover a better way of using the object or implementing the activity in question. This in turn will help you create even better activities to use in your innovation workshops or programs in the future.

In this post, we covered a few steps to help you transform everyday or “special” objects into actionable, engaging learning experiences for participants of an innovation program or workshop. Find more helpful innovation and design thinking training resources on our blog, or contact us to find out how we can help you facilitate a better training program today.

About The Author

Darin

Darin Eich is the author of Innovation Step-by-Step: How to Create & Develop Ideas for your Challenge and Root Down & Branch Out: Best Practices for Leadership Development Programs and has a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. Darin was also the president and co-founder of BrainReactions, InnovationTraining.org, and other startups. Darin gives speeches and can be hired to help your institution facilitate, create, and develop innovation programs, courses, retreats, and even conduct assessment or coach staff on developing leadership programs. Visit Innovation Training to see for yourself or email darin@programinnovation.com.