Design Thinking Toolkit, Activity 23 – Crazy 8s

It’s time to ideate, so bust out some paper, put your origami skills to use, and get your brain to run wild with Crazy 8s!

Primary Goal To ideate/create multiple ideas or solutions
When to Use As a jump start for ideation
Time Required 20-40 minutes
Number of Participants 1-10+
Who Should Participate? Any members of the team
Supplies Paper, drawing utensils

Crazy 8s is as easy and straightforward as they come. And it’s crazy fun, to boot.

This activity is best utilized when you need to get the creative vibes flowing and concoct a bevy of ideas quickly. Your team may just be at the starting line of solution ideation, in an idea-generating rut, or in need of fresh perspectives. Either way, this activity will help participants to get their thoughts on paper.

It’s important to note that wacky, wild, or seemingly impossible ideas should be encouraged. You never know when a crazy idea will help someone else think of a more practical, realistic one. Try to keep a bit of the “crazy” in Crazy 8s.

Prep the Template

There’s extremely minimal prep for this activity, so you can keep it in your back pocket and utilize it on a moment’s notice. You only need three things:

  • A piece of paper for each participant (A typical 8.5″ x 11″ will do.)
  • Drawing utensils (Sharpies are best, but pens and pencils work fine too.)
  • A problem to solve

Run the Activity!

Pass out the supplies, then have each participant fold their paper into eight sections.

State the problem you’re solving, and tell participants they’ll have eight minutes to sketch ideas — one in each rectangle. Each idea should be unique, but the ideas don’t need to be great. Keep everyone thinking in the spirit of “Yes, and!” instead of “No, but…”

Remind everyone that no one’s drawing must be beautiful. This activity is about speed and idea generation. No one is being judged for their illustration abilities. It can be helpful to show a quick example of the low level of art fidelity you’re looking for (think stick figures and simple line art).

Then set the timer for eight minutes, and begin! This should be a silent, solo activity. There will be plenty of time for collaboration later.

When the timer goes off, have each participant share their ideas. Encourage discussion, with each idea being the jumping-off point for others.

This activity was created by the Google Design Sprint Team. 

Atomic’s Design Thinking Toolkit

  • Some fab ideas that I will be encouraging groups to use, thank you!

    • Kimberly Crawford Kimberly Crawford says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Karen! Glad this has been a helpful resource for you. :)

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