Workshop activity 1: Empathetic introduction


The introduction of the workshop is part of setting the right tone for this workshop It primes participants to think and act differently. ‘Solving’ real world problems requires students to be in the right mindset, and not to think that this is another ‘boring lecture’. You want to convince students that they are not in a learning setting, but they are actually asked by a real company to solve a real problem. You want to make them think that they (as a group) are hired as consultants for the day by the company. You want to achieve emotional engagement and empathy with the company’s problem, as if it was theirs. This method has become known as “Bollywood Method” (Chavan, 2002)

However, participants should not feel pressured, they should feel that this could be a fun session, not onerous but playful. A bit like a game maybe.

You need


  • Slide with title of workshop


  • All Facilitators 
  • All participants

Time: 2-5min


  1. Wait to start with the workshop once everyone has arrived. Ask students to sit in tables of 3-5 students with a balanced gender and, if possible, with a mix of study backgrounds. It Is critical that teams are not interrupted once they started working together as a team, unless the team become dysfunctional.

  2. The workshop leader introduces the background of this workshop as a unique chance to become engaged in real world problems and consult a company to help solve their problem. They introduce and thank the company representative for being with them. 

  3. They then ask participants to “IMAGINE: This company needs your help. They are stuck and cannot solve the problem without you. Today you are not at school/university, but at work ...” (Don’t be afraid to overact or be ‘over the top’. Participants should feel transported into a different setting, a fantasy world, just as if they were part of a game or a telenovela on TV.)


Video from our training session?

Potential limitations or challenges

Try to get a person with authority to open the workshop and set the scene. But they do need to ‘play along’ emphasising the real-world context of the workshop.

Although the recipe suggests waiting for everyone to arrive, sometimes this is not possible. You can deal with latecomers by sitting them at a new table when they arrive to build a new team. One facilitator needs to bring the latecomers up to speed on what has happened and what the current task is. You will need to watch the latecomers in particular during the workshop, as they will have missed out on some curtail scene setting in the beginning. 

Associated training activity

Make notes for a short introduction speech to motivate your participants. What are the things that will motivate your students? What are the unique benefits they will get from the workshop? 

Present your speech to the peer group and trainers. Compare and discuss speeches, creating a final version that blends the best ideas.

Last modified: Wednesday, 26 Feb 2020, 16:29