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Gamestorming by James Macanufo, Sunni Brown, Dave Gray

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The 5 Whys

OBJECT OF PLAY

Many of the games in this book are about seeing the bigger picture or relating a problem to its context. The 5 Whys game mirrors that motive to move beyond the surface of a problem and discover the root cause, because problems are tackled more sustainably when they're addressed at the source.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS

5–10

HOW TO PLAY

  1. Prior to the meeting, establish a problem your team needs to evaluate. Write the problem in an area visible to all the group members, and if you'd like, draw something that represents it.

  2. Distribute sticky notes to each player and ask them to number five of them 1 through 5.

  3. Ask the players to review the problem statement and ask themselves WHY it's a problem. Then ask them to write their first response on sticky note 1.

  4. Tell the players to ask themselves WHY the answer on sticky note 1 is true and write their next response on sticky note 2.

  5. Again, tell the players to ask themselves WHY the answer on sticky note 2 is true and write the response on sticky note 3.

  6. Repeat this process in numerical order until every numbered sticky note has a response written on it.

  7. Below the problem statement, write the word "Why?" five times in a column and draw lines to create columns for each player's set of notes. Ask the players to approach the wall and post their responses, starting with 1 at the top and ending with 5 on the bottom.

  8. Review the "Why" columns with the group and note commonalities and differences. Allow for discussion.

Rewrite the problem statement ...

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