Problem Solving Exercise: Word Change

Problem Solving Exercise: Word Change


This activity encourages solution generation by looking at the problem from a different prospective. By changing the way we describe a problem we can come up with ideas to fix it. This exercise works best with a group of delegates who normally work together or belong to the same organisation.


Delegates to change the words used in describing their problems to come up with solutions.

What You Need

  • Whiteboard or flipchart.


  • Write down the main problem the team or organisation is facing on the main flipchart or whiteboard. Delegates can choose what problem they like to solve.
  • Explain to delegates that they have to choose one word from the problem description and come up with a number of alternative words to replace it.
  • Ask the delegates to suggest these words and as they suggest them write them on the board.
  • After a while stop taking more suggestions and ask the delegates to vote for a set from the suggestions to formulate a new sentence for the problem.
  • Once everyone agreed, write this sentence on the board.


Explaining the Test: 5 minutes.

Activity: 5 min suggestion + 5 min discussion = 10 minutes

Group Feedback: 5 minutes.


What do you think of the formulation of the problem? Does it sound better? Does it appear to be easier to solve? Was this activity helpful in generating new solutions? Would you use this technique in the future? What was the most interesting and practical solution suggested during this exercise?





By Sam1962 @ Thursday, November 5, 2009 1:59 PM

A great idea for clarifying problems and generating solutions.


By myominnyein @ Tuesday, May 24, 2011 11:24 AM

That is good for all!

bistar adam

By bistar adam @ Tuesday, April 7, 2015 5:36 PM

Thanks...wonderful & effective.

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