created by the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council
Activities for Transforming Teams
and Igniting Change
ATTIC is a collection of tools, games, and activities to inspire innovation, teamwork and engagement in health care settings.

Random Idea

If you take random ideas that are very different from each other, the line the brain wants to draw between them is often the path you would never take, and is therefore a creative way to generate original ideas.

Download Activity Worksheet

  • 10 minutes
  • Groups of 6
    • 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper
    • Markers
  • Source: Adapted from THNK School for Creative Leadership

What to do

  1. Give all participants a marker and an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper.
  2. Ask participants to write down, in big letters, three of their favourite things. Note: these favourite things can be food, activities, countries, co-workers, or something else. For example, a piece of paper might say: dogs, cell phones and cheese. Participants are only allowed one minute.
  3. Tell participants to walk around the room with their sheet of paper held out in front of them so others can read what they have written. Allow approximately one minute for this.
  4. Tell the group to stop walking and randomly form groups of three.
  5. Have participants in each group read the paper of the person on their right and then circle one of the items on their list that they like best. The group will end up with three pieces of paper with one word circled on each piece of paper.
  6. Using the words that the participants have circled, generate a new service or idea based on those words. For example, virtual cheese treats for my dog on my cell phone!
  7. Now, as the groups are generating new ideas, they will pitch their ideas as cheesy sales people from an infomercial to each other. Note: Have participants talk in short sentences and build on each other’s ideas. Encourage them to say “great idea” or “I loooove your idea” before adding something new. Participants have three minutes for this part of the exercise.
  8. As the facilitator, walk by quiet groups and encourage them to think out loud.


This is a great method for generating ideas within groups, either within or outside of health care. Here are some questions you can use to debrief with your team:

  • What was it like to do this?
  • How did it feel when your partners encouraged you?
  • Were you more creative using this approach?
  • Was it challenging to link three random words?
  • How could you apply this activity back in your workplace?
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