home / tools / CHAIN REACTION


This ACTIVITY is a planning tool. It is action-oriented, so requires ideas that the group can get involved with straight away; ideas for consideration should be identified before this ACTIVITY using TEAM THINK, CLUSTER MAPPING, GENERATOR, or a conventional Brainstorming session. This ACTIVITY can be delivered in several ways: Option 1, divide the whole group into six smaller groups with each being assigned one of the printed A3 sheets; Option 2, in small groups, but all groups given the same printed A3 sheet in sequence; or Option 3, the ACTIVITY can be broken up into six separate (short) sessions and take just one A3 sheet at a time – it all depends on how the group is performing. The questions are set out in a sequence because once you have determined “WHAT” the next link in the chain is the reactive question “WHY”, and so on.



180 minutes. (Option 2; shorter for Options 1 & 3)



A3 paper sheets pre-printed “WHAT”, “WHY”, “WHO”, “HOW”, WHERE”, “WHEN” (with the word in the middle).

A ball of string.

Selection of clothes pegs or clips, and pins.

Marker pens.



  1. The participants are divided into groups and are given the A3 sheet printed “WHAT”. (for this example, we are using Option 2, above)
  2. The Facilitator asks them to consider the agreed idea, for example, “Starting a Youth Council”, or “Developing a Service User Group”.
  3. Their task is to discuss the idea and consider “WHAT” has to be done to achieve it, recording their suggestions on the sheet; for example, “Involve some young people”. (20 minutes)
  4. The Facilitator calls ‘time’ after 20 minutes and issues the next A3 sheet “WHY”; and subsequently does the same with the four remaining sheets. (100 minutes)
  5. Each group is given a length of string and some clips; their task now is to fix the A3 sheets in line on the string in the order, from left to right, “WHAT”, “WHY”, “WHO”, “HOW”, WHERE”, “WHEN” – representing the chain reaction from one question to the next. (5 minutes)
  6. The Facilitator invites each group to fix their line between two points in the room and talk through their suggestions. (20 minutes)
  7. To close the ACTIVITY, the Facilitator reminds the group that they now have a large set of suggestions that addresses each of the key questions; these will form the basis of another ACTIVITY around ACTION PLANNING.


DISCUSSION (about 20minutes)

  1. Ask how easy it was to focus on one single question at a time.
  2. Ask if the six questions were sufficient to draw out good information.
  3. Ask how they might use (in outline only at this stage) the data they have generated.
  4. Ask if they think there is further information needed, maybe from other sources, before they could recommend moving on to ACTION PLANNING.


EVALUATION (10 minutes)

  1. Ask how the participants felt doing CHAIN REACTION? (for example, did they feel as if they were repeating themselves?)
  2. “Is CHAIN REACTION effective and relevant for the use to which it is put?”



How would the group use this ACTIVITY in the future and would they make changes? Capture, record, circulate.

Warning: Use of undefined constant page - assumed 'page' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/ebonlt/domains/ on line 74