5 - 15 minutes, <5 minutes
Purpose/Objectives - Quick Description
Using the most basic elements of the alphabet and a volunteer, quickly establish a different and fun paradigm for examining problems
- Ask for 3 volunteers
- Once they are at the front of the room, ask which of them is better with words, more verbose, more talkative, etc.
- Whichever person is selected, make the other person a timer and notify the other person that they will have to go second
- Then give very specific instructions:
- Say 50 words that DO NOT contain the letter A in 30 seconds or less
- Give them a few moments to ponder…
- Then say “Go”
- Most likely they will not be able to do it and it will be fun to watch them try
- Ask the 3rd silent volunteer to try. Keep the timer the same. “Go”
- Call for a 4th This time add more restrictions a, b, c, j, k, m or p
- If they can’t, call for any volunteers who think that they can do it
- Allow them to try. If they can’t, simply offer to whisper one sentence into the timers ear and explain the solution: simply count to 50 because no numbers spelled out have an A all the way past to one thousand!
- Debrief with the group
- Why is this message important to the content we are addressing today?
- How can we look at the work/the data/the options and realize that we don’t have to explore every option (word in the English language) to come up with a solution…
- How do calling for volunteers and pressure from an audience inform the way work is done? What if we had approached this in small teams instead?
- Offer a bet/give $20 to the volunteers on stage who can get it quickly
- Before the event begins, get people to list 4 countries that don’t contain the letter A to warm the audience up in this frame of thinking
- Reference that there is an entire novel without the letter E in it: Gadsby a 1939 by Ernest Vincent Wright
- Don’t whisper to the timer, but tell them earlier without the audience noticing so they can look like the superstar!
People Science Data Capture:
Not recommended. Capture who has seen this exercise so that you don't use it again as it is a one time show!
15 - 25 minutes, <5 minutes, awkward, beginner, bets, big picture, brain teaser, brainstorming, coaching, facilitation tool, gamification, idea flexibility, ideation
Unknown. Multiple web and text personalities purport originality