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Improv Cards for Trainings

March 15, 2017

I gave two days “Agile Fundamentals” training for a company. There were 30 people in the training and I grouped people into 6 teams for 5 people. The participants were coming from 3 different departments and the program had 3 different team game so that they need to know each other.


Therefore we did two warm up exercise. One of them was applying improv cards play of management 3.0 to a childhood expressions exercise .

Normally for childhood expressions exercise, people are giving responses typically for the below questions:

  • Where they were born and raised (let them show it on Google Maps and e.g. build a route that shows their journey)?

  • Whether they have siblings and in what age order they are?

  • What was a unique challenge or unique impression during childhood?

  • What was their 1st job and what the worst one?

But with improv cards play, exercise is changing a little bit, and participants are starting directly to explain their childhood stories based on the cards.


Here you can find the steps for it:

  • First step: I explained first of all the aim of the game is to know each other in order to do other exercises effectively like a team for two days.

  • Second step: I spreaded the card decks and asked them to select one card while the cards are face down

  • Third step: I explained that they need to turn the cards face up and one after the other showed their cards and told a story about their childhood based on the cards.



I also explained them the other usages of improv cards in order to let them to apply the game for their official teams.


After this exercise was finished, they started to discuss the informations on the table below to get to know each other as a team. They added their previous teams, characteristical facts and skills.


As they knew each other a little bit more, I also asked them to give a team name according to two exercises.


Then each team represented how they selected team names and explain each team member unique facts. This gives also a harmony between teams. I also realized that they continued to talk about them during breaks :)

Here you can find some of the pictures while they are representing their teams.  As you can see they also use some of the improv cards to explain their team names. It is wonderful!!! I did not give them a plan to explain themselves but every team first explained the child expressions of the cards and then how they affected their visualization and then they passed their unique facts and how all of them influenced the team name selection.

So with these two exercises:

  • Imagination was triggered and this gives an encouragement for the people who usually don’t talk too much

  • Collaborative working was also started when they tried to give their team names

  • Every team member discussed their individual unique facts and their skills in a creative manner.

  • Team achieved an active listening state and started a helpful conversation.



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