Why do we exist

Achieve a shared understanding of the organizational purpose
Contributed by

Shabnoor Shah

Mary Provinciatto

Edited by
Published July 25, 2023

What Is Why do we exist?

Imagine you had to explain your organization to someone from another planet. How would you do it? This exercise is designed to encourage participants to think beyond the ordinary and inspire creativity within your team.

During this extraterrestrial communication challenge, participants will:

  • Reflect individually on the question: "How would you communicate with someone from another planet to tell them about your organization?"
  • Engage in collaborative discussions to align their individual thoughts and create a unified story that effectively represents the organization.

The ultimate goal is to encourage reflection, inspire innovative thinking, and promote a deeper understanding of the organization's purpose, values, potential and challenges. This practice is the perfect catalyst for initiating productive discussions about your organization.

Why Do Why do we exist?

This practice serves as a powerful tool for leaders, influencers, and decision-makers within your organization. By encouraging participants to think beyond traditional communication, we aim to promote a deeper understanding of the following:

  • The purpose of your organization
  • Your organizational values
  • Who your customers are
  • The potential of your organization
  • The challenges your organization faces

It's an ideal way to kickstart workshops, as it sets the stage for meaningful discussions about your organization's current state and future direction.

How to do Why do we exist?

For creating the story, participants can use various visual aids, such as pictures, drawings, cards (we recommend Dixit cards for this practice), or any tools that simplify the message and make it visually engaging.

Step 1: The Question

  1. On a flip chart or slide, display the question: "How would you communicate with someone from another planet to tell them about your organization?"

Step 2: Individual Reflection (3 mins)

  1. Ask each participant to take at least 3 minutes to individually reflect on the question and capture their thoughts on separate sticky notes.

Step 3: Creative Teamwork (10-15 mins)

  1. Depending on the group size, divide participants into sub-groups or pairs.
  2. Instruct them to create a story or message using virtual props like pictures, drawings, mime, sounds, emojis, icons, gifs, and their imagination to answer the question.
  3. Encourage participants to use this time to discuss the individual thoughts they captured earlier. This discussion will help them align their ideas and collaboratively create a cohesive story that represents the organization.
  4. During this task, ensure that participants consider the topics mentioned earlier, such as the purpose of the organization, values, customers, potential, and challenges.

Step 4: Presentation (10-15 mins)

  1. All sub-groups or pairs present their creations to the whole group.

This exercise not only sparks creativity but also fosters shared understanding within the organization. It's a fantastic way to explore different perspectives on the organization's present and future.

Look at Why do we exist

Links we love

Check out these great links which can help you dive a little deeper into running the Why do we exist practice with your team, customers or stakeholders.

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