Tools that experience designers can use to develop engaging experiences

We think that simply getting a group of people in a room together isn’t enough. Whether you’re convening 8th graders or educators, community organizers or city leaders, it’s critical to do things together that you can’t do apart. Consequently, we design experiences that feature engaging, enjoyable activities that make the most of face-to-face interactions.

The tools we use to design engaging experiences are called techniques: a series of methods that provoke conversation, spark creativity, and offer structured opportunities for people to share their insights and develop new ideas together.

Over the years, we’ve used dozens of techniques to support our experience design practice. Very few of these ideas are new: we’ve drawn inspiration from an eclectic array of sources, from scouts to business consultants. We’re especially inspired by human-centered design and service design, and we most frequently draw from books and websites dedicated to design thinking.

Here, you’ll find 25 of our very favorite community building techniques. We’ve highlighted how we’ve used these techniques and the protips we’ve learned about them along the way. We also include examples of when we used them, and some sample sequences for how some techniques might be used in combination with one another. For each technique, we’ve included a link to an online source that inspired our own approach.

We hope you’ll use our ideas as a starting point to consider how each of these techniques might work for you and how you can combine them to enhance each experience within your community building campaign. Then, explore the steps in detail for each technique using the linked external resources.

Techniques to Generate

Techniques to Prioritize

Techniques to Reflect