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Gamestorming by James Macanufo, Sunni Brown, Dave Gray

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Fishbowl

OBJECT OF PLAY

Often during meetings we bring together stakeholders who aren't familiar with each other's perspectives or aren't accustomed to listening to each other without offering an immediate response. In some cases, stakeholders may even be meeting for the first time. In scenarios like these, it's not surprising that it can be difficult for people to engage in a rich and meaningful conversation. The Fishbowl game is an effective way to activate attention—to prime our natural listening and observing skills so that a more substantive conversation can take place.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS

Medium to large groups

DURATION OF PLAY

40–45 minutes

HOW TO PLAY

  1. Before the meeting, think of a topic that could be served by a group discussion and write down questions associated with it.

  2. Find a room with a good amount of open space and clear out anything other than chairs.

  3. Create a handout similar to the following:

    image with no caption
  4. Arrange the chairs in two concentric circles in the room, as shown in the following figure. The inner circle seats the players engaged in conversation; the outer circle seats the players acting as observers.

    image with no caption
  5. Introduce the game and assign "observer" or "player" status to each person. Give everyone a pen and a handout (but mention that the handout is used only in the observer role). Ask the participants ...

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