Methods > Ideate > System Thinking / Visual Collaboration Workshop

System Thinking / Visual Collaboration Workshop

Submit an example


  • Get a group of diverse perspectives on the same page and move forward quicker


  • Empathy for diverse perspectives
  • A model for problem solving high-level challenges
  • A synthesized path for moving forward on a challenge (when applied to a real-world problem)


2 - 3 hours


1 facilitator


Tip: it will help to reach out to an expert for guidance on these methods.


Design materials (e.g, large paper, Sharpies, note cards, post its) A private, brightly-lit room with ample workspace in a neutral location

Detailed steps

Define the issue you want the team to align on. What is the question people are disagreeing on the solution for?

Invite the team and set expectations (e.g, “We are going to spend half a day on getting everyone on the same page”). Aim for 3-8 participants in order to generate diverse thinking.

Plan with timing in mind. Prep time is roughly 3 hours for a 1 hour session. Prep time includes becoming familiar with the method, and making modifications in the script in order to tailor to the communication style of the participants. The session is typically 60-90 minutes. Watching this video about toast prior to the workshop is a good idea.

A session should consist of:

  1. Setting expectations
  2. Introducing the problem/solution/issue you want alignment on
  3. Asking people to draw out how they would solve it
  4. Sharing the solutions and reflecting with the team
  5. Talk about what works/doesn’t work and identifying aspects that differ and align across the solutions
  6. Based on the solutions shared in the group, have the group (individually) draw a new ‘how to’ solutions/process on post its. Their illustrations should build on what they loved, learned and saw in the sharing process.
  7. Use a final review to build larger map connecting the best of all the ideas to develop group consensus.

Allow roughly 1 hour for synthesis time, including time for light documentation. Take away key learnings and insights gathered. Document the final solution from the group that now contains everyone’s individual input.