Duck Workshop

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    Pamela Franco

    Good Morning:
    I good like to develop a workshop for one hour, just using the duck, the participant are construction workers. Do you have any suggestions?

    Best regards.


    Rodrigo Borgia

    Hi Pamela,

    Is there any specific learning goal for this workshop?

    If not, design for fun + communication.

    Ping me if would like to talk about.

    Have fun,


    Pamela Franco

    Thank you Rodrigo, Communications skills would be great, Do you have some ideas to share?

    Thank’s a lot


    Rodrigo Borgia


    First step: asking part of the audience to create a duck, draw it and the pass the draw to the one in the left. And the other part of the audience, to NOT create the duck, just imagine it, list the steps to create the duck and pass to the left.

    On the second step, each one builds the duck based on the instructions received.

    On last, close to 10 minutes after that, you will have tons of insights about lack of feedback to understand the model (almost no one will ask for feedback to the writer or drawer of the instructions) as well as lots of fun around why communication is not what we feel but what the other understand.

    Hope it helps!


    Hi Pamela – StrategicPlay has a whole book full of great ducking ideas. You may want to check it out:

    One that I use consistently with great success is I give a different set of instructions to each participant with the end goal of building a duck. one set is detailed step by step how to build the duck; the second set is a picture of what the final product looks like, the 3rd is as simple as: Build a duck!

    I give them 3 minutes… the ones with the detailed step by step instructions rarely get it done, the other two do. first two who do have an identical product / the duck… I use this to talk about sometimes its important that everyone builds exactly the same thing.. and so being prescriptive is a good thing but sometimes a picture is a better communication tool than step by step and confusing instructions.

    But sometimes, we just need ‘a duck’ and what it looks like really doesn’t matter its more the functionality for example that counts… To wrap it up I have them reflect about their day to day work and where does it matter to be prescriptive to ensure quality, etc… and when is it not required and potentially stifling people’s creativity… etc…

    Hope this helps.


    Are there any anchoring frameworks to the issues of TRUST with this play?

    Any ideas as to how to build in some accountability or interpersonal trust between people in play?

    If you look globally at exercises and tools, there are only a few things like trust falls and trust walks that seem to be used to demonstrate these behaviors and patterns.


    Years ago, using Tinker Toys, I would read from a list as to how an object was to be constructed, with commands such as,

    – take a round, 8-hole wheel and put a 4-inch blue stick into the center hole
    – on 4 of the holes in the rim of that wheel, put 2-inch yellow sticks.
    – on the other 4 holes in the rim of that wheel, put 1-inch green sticks
    – on the end of the 4-incl blue stick, place another round 8-hole wheel so that the blue stick goes into one of the holes on the rim.

    and so forth. Maybe 20 steps, You could also ask for a volunteer and then have them read the instructions. You can also add a time limit, no-talking rules or whatever.

    Needless to say, the results vary!

    You could certainly read to the group a set of instructions about how to assemble the duck with LEGO and you could play games with availability of different pieces across tabletops, having missing pieces you forgot to distribute, etc.

    And you could combine this with Rodrigo and Lise’s ideas.

    The KEY is to generate a debriefable outcome, one that matches your session goals.

    Pamela Franco

    Thank you, so much for your advise. In the end I made a mix of all your advise. And the workshop was great.
    I am very grateful for your help.

    :) Thank you so much, such a great community.


    Pamela –

    GREAT that things went well. And wonderful that you found a lot of information to mix and match to produce the session that you wanted.

    What the GROUP might find helpful is an overview of what you actually did in enough detail that they might be able to reproduce key outcomes. Modeling is such a useful endeavor and we would all benefit more from all this information to know more about how you sorted the ideas and framed the facilitation.

    Are you up for a little more investment of time? (Thanks in advance.)

    Pamela Franco

    Yes, I think it’s a great idea.

    1. I ask the participant to imagine a duck.
    2. Gave the partcipants the instruction step by step of how to build the duck (2 minutes).
    2. I gave them a picture of the duck, and ask them to build the same duck as the image.
    3. Just Build a duck.
    4. Build as many ducks as they can in 3 minutes.

    The insight was about how they recognized the other participants point of view, how could they related the experience with they daily jobs, and the importance of new learnings.

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