Potatoes The Exhibition

by • 2 Jan, 2018 • Case studies, WorkshopsComments (0)9380

From the archives: a warming up game for 2018

Best wishes for the new year to all my readers! Last year, I received a lot of enthusiastic responses to the free Cards Against Creativity game I shared with you. So, I’ll start 2018 with another free game from the archives, and a much simpler one to play. It’s a warming up game and takes about 60-90 minutes to play.

Potatoes* – The Exhibition

A game of collective storytelling to discover the diversity of stories, ideas, and perspectives in any organisation. Play it with your colleagues as a warming up exercise for the new year or at the start of a new project to get the creative juices flowing.

You need:

Sufficient paper, pens, 6-40 colleagues, empty space (e.g., the floor or a huge whiteboard).

You also need a topic (in the example: potatoes, but (*) it can be anything).

How to play?

  • Collectively, decide on the topic. It should be a topic everyone has an opinion or ideas about. For instance, potatoes.
  • Ask everyone individually to write down on a sheet of paper one or a few things they know about the topic. This can be a story, a fact, an opinion, a surprising insight. One idea per sheet of paper. (5 minutes)
  • Collectively, place together ideas that are related and label these groups of ideas. For instance, “historical facts,” “personal anecdotes,” “applications.” This is called affinity mapping.
  • Divide all participants into groups. Each group selects one group of ideas (a topic), ideally something they care or know something about.
  • Each group will briefly interview the other groups with the question, “what would you like to know about this topic?” (5 minutes)
  • Each group designs a story about their topic, bringing in their ideas and opinions while trying to answer some of the questions in the room. (10 minutes)
  • Each group tells their story (in 2 minutes) to the other participants.
  • Individually, as a wrap-up, each participant writes down responses to two prompts: 1) Something I did not know before, and 2) Something I’d like to learn more about. Collect these answers, for instance on a flip chart, and reflect on them. What are surprising new insights? To what extent does the collective know more than the individual? How can this experience be turned into better stories for your organisation?


This game was developed in a series of steps in workshops I facilitated in 2017 and before. The potatoes example comes from a storytelling workshop in Poland, but I’ve played this with many other topics as well. The underlying idea, of course, is to show that storytelling is a collective process. Additionally, the game invites participants to use the knowledge and experience they may have from other contexts (e.g. hobbies, previous jobs) in new ways. In my experience, our similarity bias makes us miss out on a lot of ideas and perspectives that exists in any group.

More news about games

  • Cards for Culture, our tool for playful strategy development, supports creative processes such as the above, and can be used for strategic storytelling.
  • The Consumer Journey Boardgame has sold out! I know consumer/customer/user journeys are becoming more popular in museums, and this game was a great way to get introduced to their thinking, so if you still want to play it, let me know and we’ll arrange a workshop or more! (Here’s a post with the lessons I learned from its development for cultural organisations.)
  • One of my goals for 2018 is to develop a creativity game for toddlers that also works as a professional development tool. It will likely be called “We were pirates”, and if you’re interested in the development or owning one of the first copies, email me!

Have a great year, see you soon!

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