A to Z of
Creativity Techniques
SuperHeroes is really a fantasy-based version of ((RoleStorming)) is similar to other boundary-stretching techniques such as Exaggeration and Reversals and is a form of Excursions. Participants pretend to be a fictional (or real) super-hero (Superman, the Incredible Hulk, Batman, James Bond, Wonder Woman, Sherlock Holmes, Spiderman, etc.) and use their 'super' characteristics to trigger ideas.

This technique is good for creating an atmosphere of light-hearted fun in which energy is high and fantasy and metaphor are acceptable. All 'uper-heroes' have skills and capacities that are outside 'normal' behaviour, this means that
(a) people tend to think outside of the norm and
(b) having a role allows people to express more unusual ideas that they might not normally express.

Super-hero stories also have strong elements of wish-fulfilment, and can therefore help people to express wishes

It may be less suitable for very 'serious' or introverted groups, or low trust conditions, where RoleStorming would be more suitable.

  1. Prepare in advance a set of general information on each superhero. This could include name, special powers, weaknesses, pen picture, background, picture etc. You can also provide props if you have an extrovert group.
  2. Display and discuss the problem to ensure everyone understands the issue. It can be useful to use Brainstorming or BrainWriting to list the more obvious ideas.
  3. Selects a superhero for each participant (they can choose one themselves, or from your information pack). Get them to think a little about that superhero and talk to them about what life is like as a superhero in order to help them get into the role.
  4. The super hero characters are then used as the basis of an excursion, from any viewpoint (see Observer and Merged Viewpoints). More extrovert groups will get into the role (I will heat the chemicals instantly with my laser eyes whilst freezing the container with by breath…). More introvert groups will tend to be happier talking in the third person (Superman could heat the chemicals with his laser eyes…).
  5. Start by getting each super hero to voice a few ideas.
  6. Allow other super heroes to trigger off the others ideas. Perhaps if superman and wonder woman worked together they could produce an improved solution.
  7. When you have sufficient ideas, evaluate them as usual.

Watch a demonstration of this technique by UC Berkeley Students: