Role Storming a Brainstorming Technique for the Creative Mind
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.
The short video below demonstrates role-storming as a group exercise.
This story was originally published on 05/12/14. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you
… The Continuing Story …
The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.
In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.
Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.
I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.
My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning.
School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.
The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.
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
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.
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. 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.