Problem Focussed Prototype Mediation

“It's not that I'm so smart; it's just that I stay with problems longer.”


                                                                                                      Albert Einstein


Companies and Organisations increasingly face problems, which are difficult or impossible to solve for various reasons. They might be incomplete, based on contradictory knowledge, involve a high number of people and opinions or carry a large economic burden.

The PMPF method is a hands-on method for creative workshops to better understand the problem. The method involves translating a problem in a collection of objects that will be used as a medium to collect insights, which in turn allow the participants to see the problem in a new light.





  • Duration
    Medium (about 30-60 minutes)
  • Complexity
  • Group size
    0 to 0 persons

This activity is not suitable online.

Description Long


The participants need cardboard figures which provide a visual idiom which they will have to use to visualise the problem. Since the participants are not able to talk or use written language, these figures need to contain objects, persons, situations and actions (arrows, exclamations, question marks etc.). When cardboard is being used, the participants should be allowed to cut and figures into a visual landscape. Alternatively, one could use existing visual elements such as Lego or Playmobile.

Provide glue and scissors


During the session, the participants will be seated opposite each other on long tables. They will play the role of interpreter and observer. The observers need something to write down their observations.



After you workshop is initiated (the problem or challenge is explained), ask all participants to visualise the problem from their own point of view, no discussion allowed.


Afterwards each participant is given 20 minutes to build their visual representation of the problem, no discussion allowed. Provide the (cardboard) figures and glue/scissors if needed.


When finished they run two observation sessions in pairs of two. In turn (2x10 minutes), the opponent is given the visual material (without any explanation) and asked to talk aloud about what he/her sees. The creator strictly observes and writes down his/her observations without talking or going in discussion.


After two session the participants are allowed to share their thoughts and sharpen their understanding of the problem or challenge. If your workshop continues in small groups afterwards, it will be beneficial to create the groups and ask them to write down a common problem statement.


Hints from experience

Make sure the figures are well prepared. When you use Lego or Playmobile don’t just drop a bag of figure. Show the seriousness of the project through a professional presentation of your material.


Tools list

  • Arts and craft material


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