Spark Card: The Big World of Possibilities

First, to answer the question, "What is a Spark Card?"

A Spark Card is a tool for perturbing imagination, furthering ideas,  and seeing with fresh eyes.

Gail and I began developing them for our Collaboratory at Sonoma Mountain Village that we share with the Livability Project. We have a set of 12 and have sketched out as many more. Spark Cards are part of the Collaboratory’s way of working. With this post, we'll begin publishing them in journal form. Look for a downloadable deck in the near future.

These cards can help you facilitate yourselves -- a task which is often very difficult.  Even high performance teams and groups get so focused on immediate tasks at hand that they forget to reach out, to explore an idea from different vantage points.  Think of Spark Cards as a Creative Whack Pack for collaboration. Use them to begin your meeting, or at a point where you feel stuck or stale.  They can also help you take a last look at your work. They serve as a check to what really matters about your enterprise and the immediate next steps.  

In our haste to succeed with deliverables and goals, we tend to race to the finish line.  These Spark Cards are meant to entice you to “make haste slowly". They have been proven to save time and enrich the products and services being developed.  

Happy perturbing! May you have meaningful, rich, worthy conversations!

Without further adieu, our first card...


There is often a tendency to choose from too few options.  We learn that choice is between two or three alternatives. Often these options are the same ones your competitors are selecting.   We prioritize knowing far too little about our options.  

Expand your minds. Take the next 20 minutes and name 20 possibilities for your idea, service, or product.  Work big. Get your ideas out on the walls.

Now spend another 20 minutes working the most absurd ideas into good options. Play with possibilities; combine two thoughts into one big idea.  Make the options come alive with energy and possibility.  Let yourselves be surprised.

Finally, now that you have generated great possibilities, which ones live? Which have the potential to become bolder and stronger more fit over time as you unfold them? Which options are uniquely yours to take? Place your creativity behind these and eliminate the others.  

Perhaps you have just uncovered a gold mine.