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  • Lesson Activity

Enterprise Skills

  • Creativity & Innovation


  • Upper Primary (Year 4-6)
  • Lower Secondary (Year 7-9)
  • Senior Secondary (Year 10-12)


  • 30-45 minutes


  • Projector
  • Post-It notes + pens


This activity helps students to generate a large number of ideas so that they can see multiple problems that exist in the world for their age group, school, community, or country. Students should do this activity in groups.

1. The Rules of Play

Establish three rules of play for students during this activity. These mindsets will help to create a productive and creative ideation session:

  1. Go big. Generate as many ideas as you possibly can. Don’t worry too much about the quality of the ideas.
  2. Go wild. Crazy ideas are fine, very small scale or very large scale ideas are just fine as well.
  3. Go together. Build on the thinking of others. When a team member says something, even if it sounds wild, don’t shoot it down. Build upon it instead. You can say, ‘Yes, and that makes me think of…’

2. Ideation Practice

Give students the opportunity to practice ideation before you give project-related prompts. Use the rules of play and one of the following practice prompts, and give students 2 minutes to generate as many ideas as they can. For this practice, students can list their ideas on paper. You can add a competitive element – whichever group has the most ideas at the end of the timer will win.

Practice Prompts:
– Create the biggest list of problems that a dog experiences in a day.
– How many different uses can you come up with for a brick? (random household items work for this as well).

3. Ideation of Problems

Students will now ideate problems. Remind students of the rules of play. Set up how this ideation session will work: Each person needs a small stack of post-it notes in their hand. Each idea for a problem should go on one post-it note. Everyone stands up around the table. When you place a post-it note down, call out what’s on it. This will help other people with their thinking. Don’t place post-it notes over each other; your team should be able to see them all.

Provide general prompts for students first. You might provide something like: What problems exist for people your age? What problems exist for people in your community? Give students a specific time limit to do their ideation – three minutes works quite well.

The teacher can then provide more specific prompts, related to certain issues, still with short timers for ideation. Examples include: What problems related to technology do young people experience? What problems related to the environment matter right now? What problems occur when people don’t act with respect or concern for others?

4. Sift and Sort

Encourage students to look at the post-it notes on their tables and remove double-ups or problems they don’t like. They should arrange all post-it notes so they are face up and readable.

5. Choose Your Problem

After ideating problems, students should be encouraged to pick one from their table that they are interested in solving. Students could also visit other tables to get further ideas. Teachers can provide criteria to help guide students’ decisions on choosing a problem. Teams could then be formed around the problems students have chosen.


What prompts would you give your students, to help them ideate problems?

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