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CREATIVE QUESTION CANVAS

What is it?

The purpose of this worksheet is to consolidate and focus your work on systems mapping, feedback loops, leverage points, and fractals into one place. It is a point of convergence and clarification in messy systems work.

When is it used?

This worksheet is meant to be used as the observation, action research, and the systems stages of a process are nearing completion. It can help to crystallize and focus these efforts into more specific potential areas of intervention, and it includes the logic about why these choices are being made. It’s a very helpful technique to capture the key elements at this point of convergence, and to kick start your ideation process.

How to use it: 

  1. Using your systems maps and feedback loops as inputs, people can work individually or in small groups to zoom in on promising places to intervene in the system. Find a specific element or interaction on a systems map that has potential, and then build this canvas around that.

  2. Consider the right scale for your work, and play with the idea of fractals. Fractals are repeating patterns, so whether you are working at a smaller or larger scale to determine where you want to focus, the fractal should contain the key systems elements and feedback loop that you are interested in working with. 

  3. Fill in the various elements of the canvas, staying true to the source materials that you are taking inspiration from but also interpreting, refining, detailing, and clarifying as you go.

  4. It’s helpful if each individual builds their own canvas so that you get some proliferation of possibilities. From here, you can then share them back with one another to help surface different points of view on where the best potential for intervention lies. 

  5. Have an end point in mind in terms of how many creative questions you’d like to move forward into ideation, based on the capacity, time, group size, and other possibilities and constraints. You may need to add a prioritization technique into your process to help with choice making.

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