The Colorful Diversity Activity

I’m eager to share a simple diversity revealing activity that can perhaps lend a hand in one of your upcoming meetings. It’s called, The Colorful Diversity Activity, and can be used as an icebreaker prior to tackling some tough issues. Or it can be helpful for a meeting where divergent points of view may get in the way of progress.

Before getting into the nuts and bolts, know that there are so many books out there that offer valuable meeting designs. My two favorites are:

  1. Change handbook (2007) by Holman, Devane, and Cady
  2. The practical decision maker (2001) by Harvey, Bearley, and Corkrum

You’ll find great methods in both resources such as Open Space Technology, Appreciative Inquiry, Priority Matrix, Visual Explorer, and on and on.

Sometimes though, if I can’t necessarily find an approach in the literature, I’ll just make something up. And The Colorful Diversity Activity is one where I did just that.

This straightforward activity helps reveal the wide range of viewpoints that may be present in a group. Here are the steps. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Give each participant four pieces of cardstock—one yellow piece with a large “A” printed on it, another green with a “B”, a blue piece with the letter “C”, and the last one orange with a “D” on it. There isn’t really any meaning to those particular colors. Just choose four different colors.
  2. Display, one at a time, multiple-choice questions (with choices from A to D) inquiring about the participants’ hobbies, ambitions, reasons for taking their career path, strengths, stances on something, favorite social network, etc. For example, if you asked about their favorite social network answers may include: A. Facebook, B. YouTube, C. Twitter, and D. LinkedIn.
  3. As soon as each question pops up, participants raise the colored card high in the air.

Time and again, with question after question, participants see the mixture of colors spread about the room. It’ll uncover the assorted standpoints in the group. We’re all so very different. Keep in mind that the most important aspect when planning this particular activity is the level and depth of each question asked. Best of luck!




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