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Creative tools > Role-play

When to use it | How to use it | Example | How it works | See also


When to use it

Use it as a break from normal ideation sessions, to stimulate different thinking.

Use it when people are happy to try 'something different'.

Use it when you have a bunch of extraverts (it is seldom effective with introverts).

You can also use it when exploring how to implement ideas, to play out how people may respond to the idea.



  X        Long



      X    Psychological



        X  Group


How to use it

Choose a role

Pick a person. It can be anybody you like, including people from history, people from fiction, people you admire or even cartoon characters.

If you pick a person who is related to the problem you have, it will help create 'expert' ideas.

If you pick a completely different person, it will help you find radically different ideas.

Get into character

Close your eyes and think about the character. See them acting in the way they normally act. Float around them, watching them and absorbing their essential actions.

Then slide into them. Feel their body around you. Hear their thoughts. Think their thoughts. Feel what they are feeling. Be the person. And open your eyes.

Play the role

Now act like the person would act in the situation. Walk around like they do. Let them walk around the problem. Use their gestures. Say what they would say about it. Have them offer ideas.

You can also have everyone in different roles. Have discussions between characters about the problem. What would each do? Have a in-role brainstorm. Have fun. It's allowed.


I am looking for ideas around selling furniture. I take on the persona of Snoopy. I look at the sofa from the floor and take interesting-angle photos. I lie on the back. I watch Charlie Brown sitting on it. I suggest flying a kite and put one up a kite-eating tree (gets into local newspapers). I talk aboub taking it ice-skating and show people at the rink. Where else can I take it?

How it works

By getting out of your own character, you are also mentally getting out of your own way of thinking. By getting into another person (in the way that an actor does), you take on that person's characteristics and find it easier to think like them. Moving the way they move helps the association also. Getting into another character also legitimises thinking differently, helping you to feel ok about 'acting strangely'.

See also

Forced association


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