15% solutions

Duration: 30 min - 1 hour
Difficulty Level: Easy
Group Size: < 50
Level of interaction: High
Multilanguage fit: No
Preparation Time: Short
Purpose: Knowledge Construction
Type of Online Events: Webinar, Workshop

Discover what each person has freedom and resources to do now

15 % solutions is a method that empowers participants individually or at group level to think, reflect and act based on the possibilities and capabilities they possess at hand in a given situation.

Use this method to:

  • Progress at times of impasse, negativism, and sense of powerlessness.
  • Discover people’s individual power and collective power.
  • Reveal bottom-up solutions.
  • Remember unused capacity and resources.
  • Close the gap between knowing and doing.
  • Plan tasks in which individuals are expected to take initiative.

Steps to apply this method:


  1. Define the purpose of the learning activity and plan the session understanding whether you will facilitate this method for individual or group needs.
  2. Prepare and set up the context. For instance, you can tell a story about a small change made by an individual that sparked a big result. Do you recall Rosa Parks not giving up her seat on the bus for a white passenger in Alabama?.
  3. Prepare a set of breakout rooms so that participants can work in small groups, and at a later stage bigger groups.


  1. Brief the participants about the purpose and the procedure of the learning activity.
    • Set up the context and explain that people typically complain about the things that they cannot control, and that the learning activity supports to figure out where people have the freedom to act today, what can be done without anyone else’s permission. Consider adding the following comments:
    • Reinventing the wheel is OK.
    • Each 15% Solution will add to your understanding of what is possible.
  2. Facilitator asks two questions and participants reflect  individually for a couple of minutes: “Where is your 15%?” and “Where do you have discretion and freedom to act?”.
  3. Participants are distributed in breakout rooms in small groups of 2 or 3 persons where they work for a maximum of 10 minutes.
    • Participants present their reflections and listen to others. 
    • Active listening is required. Questions for clarifications are welcome.
  4. When time is over, shuffle groups and move participants intoother rooms for a second or third round.
  5. Conclude the activity in plenary by summarizing the main actions the group can leverage on.

The focus is placed on the contribution that individuals can make with the freedom and the resources that they have available, and encourage to shift their mindset from powerlessness to enablement.

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