The Boring Box

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One tactic to instigate creativity is to shift our perspective 180 degrees. Think of what might lead to a disappointing, boring, or fruitless outcome in a learning process. The following task makes use of this kind of reframing with the goal of revealing the interesting aspects of boring issues.

Time 20 minutes/hours

Material paper and pens, ballot box

Group Size 5-25 people

Keywords ideation, disruptive thinking, creativity


Handbook #4

N. Zimmermann, E. Leondieva, M. Gawinek-Dagargulia

Fourth Handbook for Facilitators: Read more


  • Participants assess the relevance of a seminar topic for themselves
  • They come up with obstacles that prevent them from learning about it
  • They are asked to consider what positive/interesting aspects may exist within a boring topic
  • They come up with a solution to bring these interesting aspects more into the forefront


1. Acting anonymously, everyone puts one or two of the most boring topics they can conceive of in an “absolutely boring box”.

2. Facilitators open it, group cards, then present the results.

3. From the list, particpants vote for 1 to 3 of the most boring topics.

4. They are then assigned the following task: break up into in small groups (around three participants) and discuss answers to the following questions:

  • What are the most interesting aspects of this otherwise boring topic?
  • What are the most relevant aspects in terms of our learning needs?
  • What about the style of learning? What would fit best your needs?
  • What are some concrete ideas on how one – or a group – could facilitate this learning in a way that it is fascinating, rather than boring?

5. Groups present their findings in the plenum. Other groups should feel free to add interesting and important aspects to what each group presents.

Marta Anna Gawinek-Dagargulia

Marta Anna Gawinek-Dagargulia

Facilitator, coordinator of empowerment programs, author and program manager in the fields of cultural activism and civi education. Lives in Warsaw (Poland), head of SKORO association.

Teresa Grünhage

Stduedied cultural pedagogy, media and art culture and arts at Hochschule Niederrhein, University of Applied Science Düsseldorf and University of Arts Linz. Expert for non-formal cultural pedagogy and cultural manager.


During one training, participants identified a planned session about financial management and an obligatory presentation on the donors and other institutional supporters of the learning event as “boring” and then transformed them into theater play and a funny comic. The task brought up many surprising ideas.