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Hopes and Fears: Establishing Creative Unity

Published on April 6, 2021

Many people often feel excited and a bit nervous at the start of a new project. Does everyone’s work styles mesh easily together? What are the team and individual goals around this initiative? How familiar and comfortable are you and your team with each other’s communication styles or quirks?

The Hopes and Fears activity is an effective way to gauge your teams attitudes about any new collaborative project. “Hopes” reveal your teams’ expectations about what can be accomplished. “Fears” reveal their doubts about making an investment to work together. This design thinking activity is an opportunity for your team to share their hopes and fears that underlie certain behaviours, but often go unsaid. It’s a useful exercise for alleviating anxiety and rallying your team around common goals. 

In this week’s Innovation Hour, we’re challenging you to have an open discussion to capture, discuss, and track your team’s hopes and dreams and foster creative unity.

What’s Innovation Hour?

Sometimes, it can be easy to fall into a comfortable box at work – you focus on just your work and stay only inside your bubble (ex. HR, tech, research, client outreach, etc.). Obviously, focusing on your work is by no means a bad thing. But when you only think and communicate only on topics within your bubble 40 hours a week, 50 out of 52 weeks a year, it can really stifle a person’s curiosity and creativity.

So we started hosting Innovation Hour, a bi-weekly hour dedicated to our entire team exploring new topics, exercising our innovation muscles, and widening our perspectives. We’ve covered a wide scope of topics: a TED Talk on creative confidence, climate change, living wage, and more. Our Talent, Culture, and Performance Strategy was actually born during an Innovation Hour session!

As we’ve shared what Innovation Hour is with our friends and clients, we’ve been met with resounding excitement and interest. To help you host your own Innovation Hour with your teams, we’ll be sharing prompts and resources to help kick off discussions. We can’t wait to hear where your team’s creativity and passion takes you!

Download the full high-resolution pdf

Innovation Hour: Scenario

You’ve just landed your dream client project. Working small groups, use the Hopes and Fears framework to foster creative unity (outlined below).


In a small group, have each team member write 1-3 hopes and 1-3 fears (1 per sticky note) about the start of your dream project. Have one volunteer share a fear of theirs first. Next, people with similar responses will share to surface common themes. Repeat this style of sharing for each team member’s hopes.

Playback, discuss, and synthesize

Look back at your list of Hopes and Fears and start identifying any emerging themes. What stands out? What hopes or fears do you share? Is there a sensitive topic or issue that is worth bringing into the open for discussion?

Let it persist

Keep your Hopes and Fears posted where all team members can see it. Refer back to it frequently to track progress. Place stars beside hopes that are realized and remove fears as they melt away. Take time to address any fears that persist for too long.

Innovation Hour: Tools

We developed a session framework to help guide you through your own feedback practice. We made it with Jamboard, a free online collaboration tool.

New to Jamboard? Here’s a great video to quickly make you a master.

Want to share this Innovation Hour with your team? Download our free high-resolution card with all of the session info on it!

Innovation Hour: Extra reading

Enjoying this week’s topic and want to dive in deeper? Here are some other articles we found interesting and were inspired by:

Nudging Your Company Culture Toward Creativity


Samantha Lee
Client Solutions in Communications and Content

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