Using metaphors (words or images) as a way of aiding the process can prove quite fruitful for generating ideas and adding a bit of colour to proceedings. The outputs from your session could even feature the metaphors or themes woven into a narrative story-telling approach, which can really help to immerse participants in an unfamiliar world.
Some popular metaphor or theme categories include:
- Food and drink
- Leisure time
- Popular new occupation
- New taboo
- Animal or plant
- Painting, play, etc
- Cartoon heroes
- Fairy tales
- Means of transport.
- After suggesting a particular theme, the exercise begins with a concentration exercise for the participants (two to three minutes) – a ‘brain dump’ of words/images relating to the given theme
- This is followed by an individual creativity exercise where participants use the collated outputs to come up with their own metaphors (five minutes)
- In groups of four select one to three intriguing metaphors from the suggestions made by individual participants (five to ten minutes)
- In groups of four define characteristics. This is about speed and quality – there should be no discussion at this point. Participants should be as specific as possible and use elements such as feeling, sound, smell and appearance. After five minutes of this activity participants then spend another five minutes balancing negative and positive associations. (Ten minutes total)
- The next step is translating the characteristics to the scenario. The facilitator identifies three characteristics (specific and hard to translate) – these could include, for instance, smell and colour. The group can also pick two characteristics. Then the facilitator asks the group to brainstorm on what for example the colour ‘red’ says about the social, economic, political climate in the scenario. It is essential that people start the brainstorming from the chosen word (red in this example) and not from the scenario. (ten to fifteen minutes)
- All individuals of the group are invited to select 10 characteristics that help to visualise the heart of this scenario. (5 minutes)
A 30 minute alternative is to present one generic scenario at a time in a maximum of five minutes each. Match categories of metaphor with scenario characteristics.
- Group holds short brainstorming session of answers focussing on speed and quantity. Suggestions are written on a flip chart (stop after five to seven answers – given in a maximum of five minutes).
- Repeat the steps for the other scenarios.