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A creative activity to give you fresh impetus with a problem or project

If you are stuck with a problem or want to generate new ideas for a project, here’s a great activity to prompt fresh thinking. It’s also a handy way to banish writers’ block.

  • Collect a bunch of objects, randomly. They could be the ten items nearest to you now. Or whatever you are able and allowed to collect in one basket on a quick tour of your building.
  • Now pick whichever of these items most appeals to you in whatever way seems to present itself. There are no ‘right or wrong’ choices.
  • Then ask yourself this question: ‘How does this object relate to a project or problem I’m working on?’
  • And start writing your answer on a page or a screen.
  • You have 5 minutes.


Here’s what I wrote in a recent workshop, led by Trevor Day for the AMED Writers Group. Trevor provided a selection of objects for us on a table.

“I’ve picked a magnifying glass, which resonates immediately with me in two ways.

One is a memory of old detective stories. Wasn’t Sherlock Holmes always looking at clues through such a glass?

The second is the focus that a magnifying glass produces, which connects with my approach to change – A Solutions Focus.

So the challenge is getting my live in-the-room training programmes repurposed and replenished for an online audience, and of course finding that audience.

Finding them with a magnifying glass? Well, not literally. But could make a good start by taking a closer look at who’s already connected online and by investigating what’s hot in the world of online learning.”

This turned out to be a helpful prompt, leading me to some useful actions. Let me know how this activity works for you or the people you’re working with.


For more information about improvisation and creativity, read our improvisation themed blog posts.

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