Doodling Together

Energiser / Warm up, Fun, Icebreaker, Opening

Collaboration, Team – work

Creativity / create

Up to 15 min, Up to 30 min, Up to 60 min, 60-120 min, longer than 120 min

6-15 persons, 16 – 30 persons, More than 30 persons




A short activity to run early in a program focused on sharing fears, anxieties and uncertainties related to the program theme. The purpose is to create openness within a group. The stinky fish is a metaphor for “that thing that you carry around but don’t like to talk about; but the longer you hide it, the stinker it gets.” By putting stinky fish (fears and anxieties) on the table, participants begin to relate to each other, become more comfortable sharing, and identify a clear area for development and learning.

Necessary tools (what you need)

  • Pick an online whiteboard tool that allows you to use a large, zoomable canvas.


  1. Create a post-it note for each participant and arrange these in a circle, with space underneath for an image. Arrange people in groups of five where possible.
  2. Invite the participants to the activity: We will create something together in the next couple of minutes. I will guide you through a sequence of simple tasks. Please do as directed and – especially in the last two steps – do not do more than as directed.
  3. In the first step, have participants draw their first image and add it below their nametag in the whiteboard. For the following steps, each person will drag their image and pass it to the next person in the circle:
    • Draw a form – pass it to the left (or right – stick to one direction)
    • Make something out of the form you got from your neighbor (an object or a person, an animal) – pass on
    • Add context to the drawing you got from your neighbor – pass on
    • Add action or drama to the drawing you got. Refrain from using text, this will be another step! – pass on
    • Add text

Tips & Tricks

  • When facilitating full group discussion, we would recommend that participants use non-verbal means to indicate they would like to speak. You can use tools like Zoom’s nonverbal feedback tools, a reaction emoji, or just have people put their hands up. The facilitator can then invite that person to talk.
  • If you are not using an online whiteboard, we’d recommend using a collaboration tool such as Google Docs to place and pass your images, create a heading for each participant under which they place their image.

The exercise is successfully completed when? Conclusion?

Establish creative confidence; collaborate effortlessly; build capacity for working together as a workshop-group.