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10 Icebreaker Ideas to Kick Off for Design Thinking Workshop 

1. Two Truths and a Lie

This one’s a classic. Have each person state three things about themselves - two of which are true and one of which is a lie. (Note: They can be said in any order.) Then have the group guess which one they think is the lie.

2. Would You Rather? 

Go around the room and ask each person if they’d rather do X or Y. To keep things interesting, switch it up for every person. Here are a few ideas:

* Would you rather be without Internet for a week, or without your phone?

* Would you rather be too hot or too cold?

* Would you rather go deep sea diving or bungee jumping?

3. The Starburst Game

Have each person draw one Starburst out of a bowl. Each color should correlate with a question, which that person will then have to answer. For example:

* Red - What’s your favorite movie?

* Pink - What’s your favorite food?

* Yellow - If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

* Orange - If you could see anyone in concert (alive or dead), who would it be?

4. Stranded on a Desert Island

Go around the room and ask each person, “If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring one thing, what would you bring and why?” It’s simple, but effective!

5. Who Done It?

Have everyone in the group write down something interesting they’ve done on a notecard or piece of paper (e.g. swam with stingrays, lived in 10 states, lost all four front teeth at once, etc.). The sillier the better. Then put those pieces of paper in a hat, pass it around, and have each person draw one and read it aloud. That person then has to guess “who done it?”

6. Never Have I Ever

Ah yes, another classic. Have each person hold up 10 fingers. Then go around the room and have each person announce something that they’ve never done, beginning with the phrase “Never have I ever…” For example, someone could say “Never have I ever been to Europe.” For each statement that is said, have the other players drop a finger if they have done that thing. The last person with any fingers up wins!

7. Human Bingo

Create a bingo grid and, in each square, write a characteristic, fact, or habit that people might relate to (e.g. has a dog, wears glasses, rides the bus to work, etc.). Make enough copies for everyone in the group, then have people go around and ask each other those questions. If someone matches the description, they can sign that person’s square, but they can only sign one square per grid. The first person to get bingo wins!

8. Speed Dating

Have people chat one-on-one for two or three minutes. Then when the time is up, have them move on to someone else. The benefit here is that they get to meet several people in a short period of time. 

9. My Name Is

Have each person introduce themselves by choosing an adjective that starts with the same first letter as their name. For example, Adventurous Allen or Clever Carol. (This one’s particularly good if you have a large group and are pressed for time.)

10. The Interview

Split up into teams of two and have each person interview the other. Once the interviews are done, have each person state three interesting things they learned about their teammate.

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