This exercise helps workshop participants share ideas about an issue. It invites input from 100% of participants and flattens power dynamics around who shares ideas in the group. The activity is also useful in supporting introverted thinkers (think first, then talk) to have more space to share their thoughts around extroverted thinkers (talk while formulating the thought). Thus, Flash Cards is a great antidote to discussing ideas in plenary, where the process favours the most powerful and extroverted participants’ styles.
How it works:
Ask or assign participants to sit in table groups of 4-6. Provide each group with markers and a stack of 10 cm x 15 cm flash cards.
Step 1: Ask participants to write one item per flash card—an idea, a piece of expertise they want to share, a question—regarding the topic at hand. If they have several items to share, they can use multiple cards. It’s important to have only one item per card to facilitate sharing later in the exercise. Give the group 7-10 minutes for this step.
Step 2: Ask table group members to take turns reading their cards out loud.
Step 3: Invite the table groups to sort the cards to cluster similar ideas and make note of differences.
Step 4: Ask the table groups to share with the full group 3-4 ideas that came out of their discussions. They could share the topics for which many people expressed similar ideas. They could share the topics on which they spent the most time in conversation. They could share the differences in their thinking that were highlighted by the exercise. You can ask participants to capture their 3-4 ideas on cards. You can also sort different topics by using particular colours for particular themes (e.g., education = green cards, health = pink cards).