Using the Cartoon Story Board Technique in Retrospectives

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Cartoon Story Board

Cartoon Story Board (also called Comic Story Board) is one of my favourite creativity techniques and it can be used to good effect in retrospectives. I have used it in the “setting the stage” phase of retrospectives to help a team to frame the key question to be tackled during the retrospective, and for helping to generate ideas when deciding what to do differently in the future.

It is useful in the following contexts:

Teams in conflict, retrospectives, futurespectives, problem reframing during the “problem definition” phase of Buffalo style Creative Problem Solving (CPS).

The procedure that I use is:

  1. The facilitator draws the grid and lays out the paper on a table at which the participants are sitting.
  2. The participants draw a representation of the current situation in the first cell.
  3. The participants draw a representation of an ideal state in the last cell.
  4. The participants imagine that they are looking back from a future time represented by cell 6 and draw a representation of the first step that was taken to make things better in cell 2.
  5. The participants draw a representation of how it was just before they reached the cell 6 time in cell 5.
  6. The participants fill in cells 3 and 4.

From here it is usually a short step to problem/question reframing (ask the participants “what is the key problem that we have identified here?”). Alternatively or in addition, the technique can be followed by braining storming, clustering and dot voting to generate ideas for action.

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