Drawing Together

Duration: 30 min - hour
Difficulty Level: Hard
Group Size: < 20
Level of interaction: High
Multilanguage fit: Yes
Preparation Time: Medium
Purpose: Knowledge Construction
Type of Online Events: Hackatown, Webinar, Workshop

Reveal insights and paths forward through non-verbal expression

The Drawing Together method is based on storytelling through the use of five easy-to-draw symbols with a universal meaning. It taps into a playful mode to broaden the range of possibilities and elicit the right answers. Drawing becomes a game with the beneficial option of side stepping the limitations imposed by logical thinking and allowing participants to find and express hidden ideas that are otherwise hard to access.

Use this method to:

  • Develop and deepen a shared understanding of a vision or complex dynamics.
  • Insert a creative burst during a long meeting.
  • Overcome literacy and language barriers.
  • Reveal obscure or hidden relationships when working on a complex project.
  • Help a vision statement come to life – particularly for visually-oriented people.

Steps to apply this method:


  1. Define the purpose of the learning activity, decide what you will expect participants to do. For example: tell a story about the journey of working on a challenge or an innovation using only five symbols and no words.
  2. Prepare the topic and symbols that participants can use for the learning activity. For example: Circle = wholeness; Rectangle = support; Triangle = goal; Spiral = change; Star person = relationship.
  3. Define the tool that you will use and familiarize yourself with its functionalities. Then, if required, prepare the online space for the learning activity. 
    • Prepare sets of breakout rooms for participants to work in small groups.
  4. Draw an example of a story that helps others make a leap of understanding from a small example of behavior change to a broad change in values or a shift in resource allocation (or both).


  1. Brief the participants about the learning activity’s purpose, topic, and requirements.
  2. Present and explain the symbols.
  3. Allocate time in your session for participants to:
    • experiment with the selected tool if they are unfamiliar with it,
    • practice drawing the symbols and internalizing their meaning,
    • If required, practice taking screenshots.
  4. Follow a similar dynamic as in the 1-2-4-All method and explain it to the participants:
    individually (5 minutes): Participants silently draft their story using the symbols. When finished, participants save their drawings in a format that others can see in the next step. Consider extending the time for participants to refine their stories.
    in pairs (15 minutes): Participants interpret their drawings (from screenshots), one at a time. Only the interpreter may talk.
    in groups of four (30 minutes): Participants interpret their drawings as in the previous step.
    as a whole group. The facilitator asks each group to share one emerging idea. For example: Together, what do the drawings reveal?

Refined drawing skills are not required for the learning activity.
Help participants accept whatever emerges in the drawings.
Drawing is powerfully therapeutic, and emotional manifestations may arise.

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