25 Apples

What is this method?

This method helps you come up with new perspectives or ideas when you  have a feeling that the creative process (of yourself or a group) is stuck or could benefit from some more creativity.

How does the process look like?

 Getting into a creative mode with the help of apples

Getting into a creative mode with the help of apples

  1. On a flipchart draw a grit of 5x5, big enough to a post-it in each box (ca. size A5)

  2. Choose a facilitator (propose yourself if you took the initiative)

  3. Have a quick conversation or decision making process so that there is enough clarity on what you want to ideate on. A “how might we xyz”-question can help.

  4. Now, if you’ve never done it before, one option is to do this exercise first with an apple before going for your actual question:

    1. The goal is to have 25 apples that all look different to each other

    2. Only drawing is allowed

    3. No discussion is allowed, and it’s one person after the other. The sequence is kept and repeated until all 25 boxes have an apple in them.

  5. Learnings: After a few normal apples people start to think “outside the box”, by e.g. drawing apple-juice or apple-cake. That’s the mindset you want to have to solve your “how might we xyz” question.

  6. Repeat now the process with your actual “how-might-we ..” question. Now it is possible to write sentences and quickly explain what the keywords mean. You may also want to have a free-flow so one person can share multiple ideas.



Needed time/ materials/ people etc.

  • Time: 20min to 45min (depends on your flow of creativity and how many times you wish to repeat the process)

  • Material: Flipchart and pens

Our Experience with this Method

On the first days of our first coworkation in August 2017 at Frohheim, Toggenburg we were still exploring the vision and purpose of collaboratio helvetica. It is one thing to define a nice statement, goal and purpose. It is a completely different thing to start exploring all the tonalities, nuances, beliefs, attitudes and ways of relating to each other that embody in the now the aspirations of the future. We started our session on the vision with some storytelling where each one of us shared an experience that is for them an expression of the vision while everyone else listened to the principles, values and other relevant information in the story. Once we had distilled and abstracted one more time what to us makes collaboratio helveticas mission come alive we stood in front of the question and now what? How does this not just stay one more nice “Vision exercise?”

Faced with this challenge I (Osi) proposed to use the 25 apples method. We split up in two groups and each group followed the instructions until they came up with 25 different apples. After that we repeated the exercise only this time with the question:

What is an action that you could undertake right now to give expression to the vision? So that the vision is not only something in the future, but that this very moment, this very co-workation is already an expression, a seed of the future we are wanting to create?

When people were done with the 25 ideas all there was left to do was to say: Ready, Set, GO!