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All students bring a history of good and bad experiences and some fundamental assumptions concerning what and how effectiveness is best achieved. This means that the students of the group have different attitudes towards working methods and motivation, and different ambitions and success criteria for delivery. The better options a group has of finding a common ground and getting to know each other, the better chances the group has of handling potential professional and personal conflicts during an innovative process.

In the beginning of a process/a course the group members tend to be very friendly and forthcoming. A well-functioning group is in everyone’s interest, as is finding one’s place in a group where both approval and confirmation are received from each other. It is thus vital that the group, at an early stage and continually, work on the group’s internal dynamics. Group exercises at an early stage may help to provide a common basis in which both professional and social dynamics emerge. These dynamics are verbalized and thus stay as useful group experiences.


The exercise “Check In – Check Out” is a simple exercise that needs to be repeated every day or every time the group members meet up. If the group has a facilitator it could for instance be her responsibility to begin the exercise, otherwise the group will have to select another person to ensure the exercise is carried out. This exercise is a good way of continually reassessing other group exercises carried out at earlier stages, such as the group-and-project-exercise or other exercises in cooperation.

Check in (15 min)

Check in should take place early in the day.

  • All participants of the process are sat by their work station and ask each other the following question: “What are your expectations of this day/process?” and/or “How have you been since we last met up?”
  • Afterwards each participant “checks in” by telling briefly about their expectations of the day and how they are feeling otherwise. For instance it might have been a stressful morning, someone might be going through a busy time at his or her part time job or something else might have affected one’s contribution to the group-work.

REMEMBER: It is important that the responsible person/the facilitator is aware that negative and critical statements might be made during this exercise. Avoid commenting on this too much or starting a discussion, but take note of the statements and have a short discussion of how these statements can be used constructively during the course of the day, or whether certain interventions should be made.
It is important that everyone starts the day in good spirits.


Check out (15 min)

Check out takes place late in the day.

  • All participants in the process are sat by their work station and ask each other the following question: “What will you take with you from today, what did you get out of participating, what has been especially good?”
  • Afterwards participants check out by briefly talking about what they will take with them from today’s work. It may be an idea to take 2 minutes to reflect on the day before checking out.



Bettina von Stamm, Managing innovation, design and creativity, 2008 (2nd ed.).

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