Looking for ideas on group-activities w/non-designers

I am co-chairing an annual “design forum” at my company. The audience includes designers and non-designers in product development. We’re brainstorming hour-long design-related group activities between event speakers.

Does anyone have some favorite group activities that might work in this situation? Ideas?

Here are a few I’ve had:

a. A “design scavenger hunt” where groups leave the room for an hour to roam the facilities in search of usability problems etc.

b. Pick a group member to act as a subject, describing how they do something common, and then showing how they do that activity while the group notes the differences and opportunities for design improvements.

c. Explore the “fail-fast, fail-early” phenomenon by having some groups conceptualize products in 20 minutes while others conceptualize in 2 minutes and comparing the results.

d. Explore more productive brainstorming techniques like “stimulus response” and “nominal group technique” and compare against a control group.

e. ???

I have hosted a number of ”creative workshops” and one activity that many people have liked is to create a story and then describe the problems that occur during the story and finally pick a number of the problems and solve them.

You could for instance just divide the people in smaller groups. Place a line on the wall to indicate time and then ask each group to create their individual story by placing post-its with the key events. After that just let one group describe the story for another group and than after that search for possible problems that could occur during the day.

Very basic exercise, but as it is so structured, I have the experienced that you often get most people to participate actively.

Sorry for the English.

one we’ve used:

Split into groups of two.

Have a simple line drawing for each group (we used hand tools: ie, a drawing of a hammer, a drawing of a screwdriver, ect)

Using two way radios to communicate, one person is to draw the object, the other is to describe it, BUT the catch is that the describer can only use the words YES, or NO, the person drawing must ask questions to get the information he or she needs to draw the object.

Now do the excersize again with a different object, this time the person drawing can ask any question, but the person communicating can only anwer those, not add any information.

Do the excersize a third time, but this time the pair can talk freely.

The results are usually pretty funny and it reinforces good comunication… it’s especially fun when you cut in on someone eleses freaquency and start giving bogus information.