Letters and Numbers: An interactive method to energise your ideation workshops

Are you looking for a fun, interactive method to energise your ideation workshops and engage your participants? The “Letters and Numbers” method, developed by Thiagi, is perfect for you. Designed for groups of 12 to 36 participants and lasting around an hour, this method is ideal for stimulating communication, decision-making and problem-solving in a fun and structured way. Here’s how it works…

Objective of the method

To encourage collaborative innovation

The main objective of the “Letters and Numbers” method is to generate ideas that will appeal to different stakeholders. By working in groups with different roles, participants learn to understand the objectives and challenges of each stakeholder, while seeking to find common solutions. Spoiler alert: it works like a charm!

The benefits

There are many benefits to this method, both for the facilitator and for the participants.

For the facilitator :
  • Gather potential solutions to a specific challenge.
  • Observe group dynamics and decision-making.
  • Facilitate collective, structured thinking (bye bye chaos!).
For the participant:
  • Understand the objectives and challenges of the various stakeholders.
  • Develop communication, collaboration and decision-making skills.
  • Experience different perspectives and enhance adaptability.

Principle of the method

During this activity, a theme is explored from different angles. Participants first join a team representing a specific stakeholder to explore the issue. They answer a number of questions arising from the issue, adopting the point of view of the stakeholder they represent. The participants then form committees comprising a representative of each stakeholder to answer the questions again, but this time seeking a consensus. This dual approach encourages communication, collaboration and adaptability among the participants.

How does it work?

Key stages of the activity

  • Introduction to the activity (5 min): The facilitator explains the aim of the activity and how it will be carried out. He/she presents the theme to be explored to the whole group. Is everyone on board? Let’s get started!
  • Setting up (5 min): The facilitator introduces the stakeholders, each associated with a letter. He then assigns a letter and a number to each participant.
  • Letter phase (15 min): Participants are grouped by letter. Working in teams, they answer the questions posed, adopting the point of view of the stakeholder they represent. Everyone becomes a player!
  • Numbers phase (20 min): The teams are reorganised according to the number assigned. Each committee brings together participants from different stakeholders to answer the questions and seek consensus. Mix it up and start again!
  • Feedback (10 min): Participants compare the answers from the different committees.
  • Debriefing (5 min): The moderator discusses the answers, highlighting differences of opinion and points of consensus. Then it’s time for the big reveal!
Read also: Open Collaboration method 

Glowbl, the ideal platform for this method

Glowbl is an interactive, collaborative platform that is perfectly suited to implementing the “Letters and Numbers” method. Here’s
why Glowbl is the star of the show:

  • Dynamic virtual spaces: Glowbl lets you create virtual spaces in which participants can group by letters and numbers around different tables in a fluid way. Each group has its own table to work on the questions posed.
  • Document and resource sharing: facilitators can easily make documents, whiteboards or collaborative notes available for participants to work on in real time. Goodbye paper, hello modern!
  • Simplified group management: Thanks to Glowbl, groups can be reorganised in just a few clicks. The moderator, having named some tables with letters and others with numbers, simply assigns a letter and a number to each participant. The participants can then group themselves into teams according to their letter or number, moving around independently. It’s as easy as pie!
  • Advanced communication tools: The platform offers chat, videoconferencing and screen-sharing facilities, enabling effective communication between participants, whether they are in the same group or split into different committees. No more shouting across the room!

A practical example

A practical workshop on sustainable development

Imagine a workshop aimed at developing a sustainable development strategy for a company. Here’s how the “Letters & Figures” activity could be run:

Introduction to the activity (5 min):

The facilitator explains that the aim is to propose sustainable development initiatives for the company. Participants are asked to put themselves in the shoes of different stakeholders: employees, customers, investors and partners. Are you ready to play?

Set-up (5 min):

The facilitator assigns a letter (A, B, C, D) and a number (1, 2, 3, 4) to each participant. For example, one participant could be “A1” (employee) and another “B2” (customer).

Letter phase (15 min):

Participants are grouped by letter. All the teams answer the same questions but from the point of view of the stakeholder they represent. For example, for the question “What green initiatives can be put in place within our company?”, the stakeholders could list :

  • Employees (A1, A2, A3, A4): Those that improve the working environment and productivity.
  • Customers (B1, B2, B3, B4): Those that are most important for the products/services?
  • Investors (C1, C2, C3, C4): Those that can increase the value of the company in the long term.
  • Partners (D1, D2, D3, D4): Those that can work with the company to achieve shared sustainable development objectives.
Numbers phase (20 min):

The teams are reorganised by numbers. Each group includes a representative of each stakeholder and now forms a committee (e.g. committee 1 includes A1, B1, C1, D1). The members discuss the issues, seeking to satisfy the needs and expectations of the various stakeholders.

Debriefing (10 min):

The conclusions of the various committees are compared.

  • Committee 1: “We have proposed a monthly volunteering day for employees, a recycling programme for customers, quarterly sustainability reports for investors, and a partnership with eco-responsible suppliers”.
  • Committee 2: “Our strategy includes sustainability training for employees, green products for customers, renewable energy investments for investors, and co-innovation projects with partners.”
Debriefing (5 min):

The moderator discusses the proposals, the differences of opinion, and the consensus reached, highlighting the importance of each perspective.


The “Letters and Numbers” method is a dynamic and interactive approach to stimulating collective thinking and generating innovative ideas. By encouraging communication and collaboration, it enables complex challenges to be tackled from a variety of perspectives. With Glowbl, you can easily implement this method and harness its full potential for successful workshops.

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