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Build a greater understanding of your problem and the people it impacts.

Hopes and fears


An exercise that quickly surfaces a group’s hopes and fears for the future


To establish a baseline understanding of a group’s expectations and concerns about a project and to give each person an opportunity to voice their perspective

Time required

30–60 mins

How to do it

  1. Ahead of the session, establish what you want to elicit hopes and fears about. For example, you could ask participants to focus on the whole project or that day’s workshop.
  2. At the beginning of the session, create two columns labeled “Hopes” and “Fears” on a white board or large sticky pad. (In a remote setting, you can do this online using collaboration software such as Mural or Google Docs)
  3. Ask participants to take 1-2 mins to write down their hopes on sticky notes (one hope per sticky note).
  4. Invite participants to come up one at a time and add their “hopes” sticky notes to the board and say more about what they wrote. Have participants group their sticky notes as they add them to the board to illustrate emerging themes.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with fears.

This format can be adapted to include other categories. For example, asking participants to write down skills and experiences can help contextualize each person’s place in the group.


Considerations for use in government

No PRA implications. No information is collected from members of the public.


18F Methods

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