Inclusion Tools - 2 minute read

It’s easy to talk about inclusion. Actually achieving it is another thing. The biggest obstacle to including a diversity of voices in the innovation process is status. When people feel they don’t have status they stay quiet. It’s safer. The best way around this dilemma is to use simple tools.

Inclusion Tools:

Shuffle Cards:

State the issue at hand. Have people write their idea on a 4x6 notecard, fold the card in half and toss it into the center of the table. Shuffle the cards around. Have everyone pick up a card making sure no one has their own. Have everyone read their card out loud. 


State the issue at hand. Give everyone a minute or two to think about it silently. Then have everyone partner with one person and share their thoughts. Maybe 3 minutes total. Then have people switch partners. You can switch partners one more time. Give everyone a minute to collect their thoughts. Have people share with the larger group what they think. 

Lots of Pens

State the issue at hand. Give everyone a pen and tell the to write their ideas on the whiteboard. Make sure they do not write in rows or all in one place. People should write on different parts of the board so as not to create a hierarchy or structure of any kind. When the ideas seem done have everyone step back and read. Then have them create groups out of the ideas that seem connected. Name the themes of the groups. Discuss how these themes relate to the issue at hand.

It’s Just A Jump to the Left

State the issue at hand. Have everyone write down their thoughts on a notepad. Two minutes. Then have everyone leave their notepads on the table and move one chair to the left. Everyone reads what’s on the notepad and adds their thoughts. Then everyone moves to the left again and looks at a new notepad. Everyone reads what’s on the notepad and adds their thoughts. You can do this as many ties as you like. 

When its over have everyone return to their original notepad and read the whole thing. Everyone takes a few minutes to process and write down their new thoughts. Move into shuffle cards or 1:1:1:1.

First Nations Council

State the issue at hand. The first person to speak is either the youngest at the table or the newest member of the team. You then move along with the next youngest or next newest. The last person to speak is the oldest or longest member of the team. This makes it easier for young newbies to share their ideas.

Judah Pollack