5 Creative Steps to Apply Role Storming to Problem Solving

Role Storming a Brainstorming Technique for the Creative Mind

Learning Resources from School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.
Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning

What is Role Storming?

Role Storming is a brainstorming technique to encourage group members to take on other people’s identities while brainstorming. This reduces the inhibitions that many people feel when sharing their ideas with a group, and it helps people come up with ideas that they may not have otherwise considered because they’re considering them from someone else’s perspective.

It’s a useful technique for #CorporateDramaRolePlay because it helps develop problem solving skills within individuals and teams by bringing the power of performing arts to the art of problem solving 

How to Apply Role Storming to Problem Solving

Begin by presenting the problem to be solved to the group. It doesn’t need to be a problem directly related to their work. In fact, it’s probably even more beneficial to have a generic problem because this demonstrates the transferability of problem solving skills, which can be taken back to the workplace and applied to specific problems.

 5 Creative Steps to Apply Role Storming to Problem Solving 

Step 1. Brainstorm obvious ideas by conducting a regular brainstorming session with your group. Not only will this generate some good initial ideas, it will also highlight more obvious ideas. This leaves the group free to expand their thinking and push boundaries in later steps.

Step 2. Identify Roles: Ask each group member to think of someone they know – alive or dead, who they admire and respect for their problem-solving skills. Ideally, they should know enough about them to take on their identity for a short time. The person they choose can be anyone, so long as it’s a person not in the current group.

While the group members don’t need to name the person whose identity they’re taking on, It’s best for it not to be someone the rest of the group knows and who they would recognise.

Step 3. Get Into Character: For each role, allow group members a few minutes to get into character. ‘Hot Seat’ (put them on the spot with quick-fired questions) using these questions to help with this:
• How does this person see the world?
• What is this person’s personality or attitude likely to be?
• How would this person solve problems?

Make an effort to support each member to get into the persona of the character: the more deeply
they understand this person’s feelings, worldview, and motivations, the better they can use this
perspective to generate good ideas.

Step 4. Brainstorm in Character: Present the same problem to the group and ask them to brainstorm in their chosen character.

Step 5. Repeat the exercise with as many different identities as you need so that you can generate enough good ideas.

School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning?

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning (and your team’s)

Tuckman’s stages of group development model: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning  

Rick Griggs- Rolestorming originator describes his world-famous creativity tool.

I republished this story with a focus on self-directed learning: 5 Creative Steps to Apply Role-Storming to Problem Solving for Self-Directed Learning

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in developing and fine-tuning your creative prowess as a problem solver and self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

How To Be Creative in Your Thinking

How To Successfully Invent and Reinvent Yourself

How To Let Curiosity Be Your Driving Force

You can view the complete collection of books here: The School of WorkLife Book Series.

Carmel O' Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies. which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club.

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of WorkLife Book Club, Your WorkLife Your Way and The School of WorkLife book series. Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning. Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of www.schoolofworklife.com My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.