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World View Game


Field of application

Sensitising students and academics that everybody comes into a certain context with his or her own perception of the world. A world view is a fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual, such as a student or an expert. World views are often shaped by cultural and professional mindsets, and learning experiences. The World View Game can be used in group settings with a wide range of stakeholders, e.g. academics and students who, through the exercise, get a taste of the impact of different world views.




Resume / Brief description


The World View Game has the objective to sensitise the participants about how they are shaped by their predefined but often unconscious and pre-coded mindsets. During the game the group of participants has to draw a picture together that has a dual interpretation. The joint drawing brings to the surface very different  points of departure. These different points of departure are then the centre of reflection. What does the exercise tell us about our work, our way to follow our own perspective of how things have to be realised, planned and followed up?


Target group


  1. Students and graduates that should become sensitised on the fact that our world views and mindsets are shaping our search for solutions and behaviour patterns.
  2. Members of the university or research departments or institutes with very different specialisation fields.
  3. For the facilitation of workshops and cooperation projects with outside stakeholders (e.g. businesses, support organisations)


The World View Game has the objective to sensitise the participants about their own preset world views and patterns of interpretations. Being aware about these patterns is the starting point to also realise them in the process of further information collection.


Key objectives of the World View Game are the following:


  • To open the opportunity for students and academics to reflect  on patterns of interpretations on how we perceive the world.
  • To sensitise on our own often unconscious way how we interpret certain information and how we process them.
  • To become aware that each person and expert comes with their own interpretation based on perceptions and information.
  • To open space for communication on the complexity of interpretations.
  • To emphasise that the different patterns of our interpretations have to be brought into the room instead of leaving them outside. It provides the opportunity to better and deeper understand some root causes of failed understanding and failed projects with good intentions but weak results and buy-in of the respective stakeholders.






  • A room where the participants can be separated into two groups and where, at a later stage, there are enough tables where the two separated groups can meet with two persons at one table
  • Print-outs of the pictures of the ambiguous images (Man and Mouse)
  • Pin boards where the final results of the drawing can be pinned
  • Markers in two colours according to the number of participants (one half of the group gets one colour, the other half of the group gets a different colour)
  • A 4 white paper

The 3 print-outs for the game:

image-1618242234077.png   image-1618242241484.png   image-1618242249268.png

Man                             Mouse                        Joint version



  •  45 minutes

Implementation - Overview

The activity is realised in four main phases.



Implementation - Guidelines





1.      First round of individual drawing


  • The exercise starts without an introduction to the term “world view”.
  • The large group (e.g. a class of students) gets separated into two groups, one of the left side of the room and the other on the right side of the room.
  • Every participant gets two white A 4 papers in front of them. Each of the persons on the right side gets a marker in black, each of the persons on the left side gets a marker in blue (colours can also be different, but they have to be different for each group)
  • The moderator should have printed out the mouse and the man images and attached it on the two sides of an A 4 paper.
  • The moderator then stands in front of the right side of the group and shows them the image of the man.
  • He or she introduces to the participants: “Look at this image and try to keep it in mind to be able to draw it.” (10 seconds)
  • Then the moderator turns around to the other group. While he or she turns to that group he or she also flips quickly around the A 4 page and shows the visualisation of the mouse to the other group on the left side.
  • Again, they get the instruction to look at the images and to keep in mind.
  • The moderator then hides the two images and asks the participants to draw individually the visualisation they saw on the A 4 paper in front of them with the marker they got.
  • When everbody has drawn their picture, they are asked to fold the sheet of paper and to put it into their pocket or bag.


2.      Joint round of image drawing in pairs of two


  • The moderator asks the two groups to find a partner from the other group and to sit jointly at a table. No words are allowed to be exchanged.  
  • When the pairs of two are sitting the moderator explains the next task: They jointly have to draw now the picture they saw together, each with his or her colour of marker.
  • They get 4 minutes to draw their joint picture with the rule to not talk any word.  Normally confusion emerges at the tables because the one is drawing the mouse, the other on the same A4 paper wants to add the man´s face (or vice versa).
  • When the time is over, the participants are asked to stop their joint effort.


3.      Reflections on observations and resolutions


  • The moderator asks the large group: "Now you are allowed to talk. What has happened?” Participants share their confusion.
  • “What do you think was the reason for the confusion?”, asks the moderator and the group reflects on it in the plenary. The moderator does not yet give an answer.
  • The moderator then asks the participants to present their joint drawing and then to pin it on the pin board. Normally, the group is laughing about the outcomes of the images.
  • Finally, the moderator puts the merged visualisation of the man and the mouse on the top of the pin board. “This is the picture you have drawn together. Is that right? Some participants might recognise the double interpretation, others not.
  • The moderator resolves the whole exercise and puts the mouse visualisation on the right side of the pin board and the man drawing on the left side of the pin board. What normally happens at that moment is an “Aha-effect”. All participants realise the reason for the confusion.


4.      Co-Reflection on world views and its impact


  • The moderator asks the participants: “What does this exercise tell us about our work? What can we take from that?" Comments are documented on a flipchart.
  • Then the moderator explains the term world view and the fact that we all do never start from the same point of departure. The two graphics below provide a good overview about aspects that influence our world view (see also links for further information below). How we interpret the context of our work is never the same, since it is shaped by our values, behaviour, culture, and interpretation patterns.



Source: Choice Baptist Church ( and Oregon State University ( )


  • The moderator asks again the participants: "How is our world view shaping our work? Where do you become aware of different world views? What do you have to take into consideration when being aware of different world views of the stakeholders we are working and living with?"
  • The final reflection ends with the explanation that we are all bound to our system in which we grow up and work. Being conscious about our own patterns and open to talk about the patterns of others with whom we work is an important element for successful joint development efforts and solutions.

Example of application

World View Game in a training with economic development experts from different countries to emphasise criteria for systemic search processes


Description of the context


The experts and practitioners came to the training to better understand the importance of systemic development efforts versus isolated economic activities. They are all coming from very different cultures and they are presenting different roles in their regions (like businesses, R&D, support organisations, policy). Starting a training with the World View Game opens the floor to directly sensitise on our different points of departure and the complexity of aspects to consider.


Starting point


Preparing the location and separating tables so that the participants do not realise that you show different visualisations. In the case of the event, participants were sitting at round tables and the moderator himself separated the group mentally into two.


Impressions from the process


image-1618242115951.png image-1618242123591.png

Room constellation and 1st round of individual drawing.



image-1618242092528.png image-1618242103102.png

Drawing round 2: Joint drawing




Documentation of results of joint drawing and resolution.


Final reflection


What has just happened? How does it make you feel? How does it relate to our work?


The reflection with the team after the game is the most relevant aspect of the whole approach. We provide here some answers from participants on the questions above:




What has just happened?


  • We still see what we know.
  • Different perceptions matter.
  • Compromise requires communication.
  • Being dominated by perception.
  • I am locked in my world view.
  • Perception negotiation and acceptance.

How does it make you feel?


  • I felt inferior because I could not express myself.
  • Feeling frustration.
  • Confusion because of not knowing where this leads to.
  • The feeling that I have to let go.
  • Tendency to dominate the process to “get it right”.

How does it relate to your work?


  • Not to push my experience and expectation to the front.
  • Ask the partner: "What is the picture you have in mind?"
  • Providing space for communicating perceptions and world views.
  • You have to take efforts to really see the other perspective.
  • We need to increase real communication.
  • Put yourself into the shoes of the other.


The World View Game requires no detailed moderation capabilities. The moderator needs to make sure that the process and the rules are followed. It can be facilitated by one moderator.


The three main relevant aspects for the success of the game are:


  1. Making sure that the two groups do not realise that they see two different visualisations (man and mouse) 
  2. Assuring that the persons do not talk to each other during the drawing exercise
  3. Assuring that the final reflection is realised. The game is not just an energiser but a valuable reflection exercise about the complexity of our work


Templates, Graphics for download

The visualisations the man and mouse are attached (2 Man and Mouse.jpg // 3 Man and Mouse.jpg). More templates are not necessary.



Additional format/references

The game is not based on information in the internet. It was used by Mesopartner, a knowledge firm that specialises in economic development, competitiveness and innovation. It is the first time that this World View Game is documented.