(this exercise was co-created as part of a collaboration day between myself and Geoff Watts)

About 5-10 mins for new teams, longer for more mature teams or creative types

Dead easy to set up, quick and very fun. Even more fun over beers. Sit team in a circle. Ask the team for a boy or girl’s name, a household object and a location. Write down somewhere visible if required.

The team must then make a story by only speaking one word at a time, and going around the circle.


  • The story must “flow”
  • Players can add the words “full stop” to indicate a new sentence
  • The story elements the team chose must be used

Learning points:

Collaboration & Emergence. Players must be able to build on the previous word successfully. Nobody knows what the story will look like at the start, and it changes based on peoples own input. Some players will throw in “bad” words which are difficult to build on. These are BLOCKS. A good collaborator can turn a BLOCK into an OFFER which allows the next players to build the story more easily and create flow.

You can read more about offers and blocks in collaboration on my blog.

3 thoughts on “One Word StorytellingOne Word StorytellingOne Word StorytellingOne Word Storytelling

  1. I have added myself in as an extra player at random points in the story circle to inject an offer or a block to change the thought process. Works well.

  2. Nice game with a lot of fun. Nevertheless I stopped the team after a while and ask them to put in BLOCKERS to make it a little more difficult for the successor. Imaging what happens, the sentence were only filled with meaningless words (e.g. than, and, no longer etc.) so that everybody simple pass the sentence to the next in the circle. We will try it next retrospective once again in a bigger round. So let’s see what happens then. I also asked the team what they think about the game and they enjoyed it.

Comments are closed.