This method is an exercise to get into a complex topic. The exercise aims to visualize the complexity of a term.
- Preparation: A big sheet of paper on which is written the word "democracy" in capital letters.
- Preremark to the group: The participants are in the following asked - similar to the brainstorming - to note down keywords and terms which they connect with the term "democracy". They are not asked to note down a definition. The associating words are put to the different letters, like in the game "Scrabble". [5 minutes]
- The participants fill in alone or in groups the paper. [10 minutes if they work on their own, 15 if they work in groups]
The trainer asks the participants or groups one after another to read aloud their words. He or she notes them down on the flipchart and gives an order to the associations. He asks if the one presenting agrees to the order. The other participants are asked not to comment the associations.
Criteria to use as an order (for the trainer):
- rules / laws
- performance criterion / goals
Summary and conclusion
- "Democracy" is a subjective term, which needs in most cases an explanation
- it has different dimensions
This exercise is very good and effective to get started. It sorts out a problem and makes differences visible. For cognitive work it is particularly helpful as an introduction. The term "democracy" can be replaced by other terms that are also very reach and meaningful such as sustainability, mentoring, gender, government, ...